I know that several young kids in my small neighborhood have TVs in their bedrooms. I can see the TVs on through open windows or the blue flickering of shadows jumping around their bedroom walls. As we slowly drove down our road towards our home, our son was looking in one of the windows and asked if he could have a TV in his room. I told him he could. When he was an adult!
We have a TV in our room. I watch it almost every night, as the top half of our bed lifts up mechanically and it's comfortable for my back. I don't gaze at it all night long - an hour or so in the evening. It relaxes me, and sometimes informs me. It also provides me with the Real Housewives of New York and without them, my Tuesday nights would be a lonely, barren, uninspired mess...
Most estimates of TV in kids' rooms are that at least half have one. A study done by the School of Medicine and Biomedical Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo showed that while children with less TV did not necessarily exercise more, they ate one hundred calories fewer every day that kids who watched more TV.
Another study, in 2005, published in the The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine concluded that the 70% of children in the study that had TVs in their bedrooms scored much lower on testing in languages, reading and math.
French boys in a study who had televisions in their rooms were found to have more body fat and larger waist sizes than kids without TVs in their rooms.
A study in the publication Pediatrics showed kids as young as Kindergarten suffered more sleep problems if they had televisions in their rooms, and were less emotionally engaged with their surroundings.
A Buffalo study showed that kids who had TVs in their rooms watched 9 hours more TV weekly. That's an entire work day, for most.
What if my kids argue that if we, their parents, have a TV in our room, so can they?
Ah! We also can drink a glass of wine with dinner and have an ensuite bathroom! All is not democratic in the familial household! If it were, my kids would each be paying one fifth of the mortgage, yes?!
Besides, repercussions for children versus adults watching television are very different. I was about 5 years old before I saw television. What is ok in moderation for adults is not always the same for children.
So it seems having a TV in kids' bedrooms comes up a bit of a dud - certainly in studies. Of course there are also children who do very well academically and are in great health who also have televisions in their rooms. But unfortunately, this is seen less than with the kids who socialize less, are more removed from their families, and do less well both physically and academically.
My vote? No TV in our childrens' bedrooms. They sleep better without them and need to learn to fall asleep without the stimulation of television. And heaven knows what they might accidentally see. We also want to spend evenings with them, playing, talking, and spending summer evenings outdoors. I'll stick to limited early morning TV for them while I workout and shower. Anything else is unnecessary and in fact, may be detrimental.
But not everyone may feel the same way -
How do you feel about children watching TV in their rooms? Do you allow it? Why? Why not?
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