Television is Life

Young Girl Watching TelevisionIt seems like every parent program I have ever done I have taught that it is not good to allow a television or a computer in your child’s bedroom.

 Once at a public middle school, I was making this point and a parent interrupted me and yelled out that was so unrealistic. She said,

“Parents can’t take everything away. We love our kids. We want them to have a life!”  

When I didn’t back off from my point, she walked out and left the program.

 Is television “everything,” “love,” and even “life?” Sometimes I wonder if that accurately describes our culture’s value of television and media.

 Let me add one more warning about our children’s use of media.

 A recent study looked at children’s television, video-game, and computer usage to determine if it had an impact on their sleep. The content of the media was evaluated for violence, scariness, and pacing (fast or slow plot). Among the study’s findings were the following:

  • Children with a bedroom television consumed more media and were more likely to have a sleep problem.
  • No sleep problems were observed with nonviolent daytime media use.
  • Sleep problems increased 40% with violent media content.
  • Sleep problems increased almost twice as much as violent content, 74%, with each additional hour of evening media use.

Parents, please,

  1. Remove the television from your child/teen’s bedroom.
  2. Remove the computer from your child/teen’s bedroom.
  3. Cell phones should be given to parents every night an hour before bedtime.
  4. Avoid all video game, cell phone, television, and computer usage in the hour before bedtime.
(“Media Use and Child Sleep: The Impact of Content, Timing, and Environment.” Garrison, et al. Pediatrics 2011; peds.2010-3304)