These days, it seems like every kid has a television in his room.
There’s no doubt that the addition of a television to a child’s bedroom allows parents a bit more freedom in terms of their own TV watching habits, but there are more than a few drawbacks to allowing kids to have their own TV. Staying strong in the face of kids’ pleas and assertions that everyone else has a television isn’t always easy, but these are some of the reasons why you’ll want to give very real thought to staying strong.
- Adhering to American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines The American Academy of Pediatrics posits that the average American child spends approximately seven hours out of each day being entertained by electronic media. They also draw a correlation between the excessive use of television, computers and video games and attention problems, academic struggles, obesity and eating disorders. The AAP recommends that parents limit the amount of screen time their kids get, and that kids “media diet” be carefully monitored. Putting a television in your child’s room allows him almost unfettered access, and can make it nearly impossible to monitor his watching habits properly.
- Helping Kids Maintain a Sleep Schedule Just as adults can become so absorbed in the plot of a television show that they stay up far later than they intended, children can too. A TV in your child’s room can very easily affect his sleeping habits, both through direct distraction from sleep and because the background noise of a television left on all night can disrupt sleep patterns. Unless the idea of an exhausted, cranky child appeals to you, you may not want to give in to begging for a personal television set.
- Providing a Distraction-Free Homework Zone For some kids, the slightest distraction can derail their efforts to complete homework assignments or study. Creating a distraction-free zone in your child’s room can keep him out of the high-traffic common areas of your home, but the television lurking in the corner can present just as much of a distraction risk. When there’s no television to resist, your child is facing one less potential distraction.
- Making Punishments Count If punishments or time-outs are part of your parenting style, you may very well find that banishment to a bedroom isn’t much of a deterrent for bad behavior when there’s a TV in the room. When your child is able to tune into whatever programming he wants, away from the need to compromise with a sibling or deal with the rest of the family, time-out or grounding to a bedroom becomes something more akin to a treat than a punishment.
- Increasing Your Ability to Filter Objectionable Content Making sure that your child isn’t exposed to explicit or violent content on television is difficult enough when the TV is in a common area. Filtering objectionable programming that he’s watching in his room is almost impossible. Even stations that normally cater to kids’ tastes and developmental levels throughout the day often switch to more mature programming for late-night audiences. A child that tunes into his favorite channel may not realize that a racy cartoon is for adults until he’s exposed to content far beyond his maturity level. When television time isn’t happening behind closed doors, you’re better able to keep an eye on the programming to which he is being exposed.
- To Monitor Television Habits It’s difficult to know just how much television your child is watching if he’s spending most of his time in his bedroom with ready access to a TV. Because it’s so important to monitor the amount of time your children spend in front of the television, you may want to consider the difficulties of doing so when he has his own TV.