I am continually amazed and impressed with the number of parents who are endeavoring to raise their babies without TV or limited TV. That’s a commitment, considering all the marketing done to parents of new babies regarding the latest videos and TV shows designed to make your baby brighter. I haven’t read any research supporting those claims but enlighten me if I am missing something. Even the research looking at the effects of TV on older children is not conclusive.
In the New York Times on 3/4/08, there was an interesting article on “A One-Eyed Invader in the Bedroom.” The author states that about half of American children have a TV in their bedroom and one study found that 70% of 3rd graders did. Recent studies have linked TV in a child’s bedroom to health and educational problems. The mere presence of a TV in the bedroom relates to an increase in the number of viewing hours. The article sited a study in Buffalo that looked at children ages 4 to 7, where the presence of a TV in the bedroom “increased average viewing time by nearly nine hours a week to 30 hours.” Wow. That is three quarters of a standard work week! Think what a child could be doing with that time.
The article mentions a 2002 study in the Journal of Pediatrics that “reported that preschool children with bedroom TV’s were more likely to be overweight.” Other studies found that children with bedroom TV’s spent less time reading, and scored “significantly and consistently lower on math, reading and language-arts tests.”
I know it is hard to remove a TV once it is in your child’s bedroom, but this is when parents need to be parents, and act in the best interest of their child. I took a lot of flack from my boys when their friends across the street had TV’s in their bedrooms.Somehow it was interpreted that I wasn’t as good a mom. I told my boys that it would be easy to let them have whatever they wanted—it was a lot harder to hold back for their benefit.