Most moms pretty much agree that too much television isn’t good for kids. That’s a given. And moms across the Circle of Moms network frequently discuss how to limit their children’s TV consumption. But now, with a recent study by the University of Michigan finding that up to two-thirds of children age eight and older have televisions in their bedrooms,* the question of whether to put a TV in your child’s room feels even more loaded.
Personally, I don’t want to and didn’t allow my kids to have a TV in their rooms when they were in grade school and high school. (Unfortunately, with my daughter now off to college, I can’t control the movie-screen-sized plasma that takes up more room than their lofted single beds in her dorm room.)
But I did what I did for as long as I could — striving to protect my kids from becoming sloths planted in front of a TV. I felt strongly about that, especially when I walked through the family room with a load of laundry and wondered how the days of Sesame Street and Big Bird had jettisoned so quickly to Snooki and the Jersey Shore.
I don't forbid my three kids from watching TV, I just try to limit the scope and content of it as much as I can by not making it so readily available. Nor do I forbid them Snooki and the antics of reality TV. Instead, I remind them that “it can't be fun to watch teens having sex in front of mom." You wouldn't believe how fast the remote can flick channels when the mom sensor goes off.
Yes, I do realize that when I’m not home or omnipresent tube-side, there is nothing to prevent my kids from channel surfing and tuning in to “16 and Pregnant,” "Beach Heat: Miami," "The Real World" and "The Hills." (What exactly is so appealing about listening to teens scream and swear at each other, anyway?) Of course not. I just know that the centralized family room location – and the discomfiting thought that mom could appear from around the corner at any moment, makes viewing junky shows a little less tempting.
While the content of TV leaves much to be desired in my opinion, I’m also a firm believer that there are a lot of fun and interesting things to do in life other than lay in bed with the TV.
I agree strongly with Circle of Moms member Joy B., who says that if you put a TV in your kid’s room all the time, it could start him "on a path towards inactivity." Joy tried to limit how much TV her son watches by "keeping him outside playing as much as possible.”
It’s not that television just isn’t good for kids; it's that the act of lying on a couch soaking up nothing keeps kids from doing a lot of other things – like living a life for one, not to mention homework, getting outside to play with friends, spending time with family, or reading a good book.
My worst nightmare is imagining my kids' bright minds atrophying as they lie on their beds, glued to the tube, losing sleep and their brain cells. I feel I am the role model for my children’s television habits and so I barely watch TV myself. I’ve never had a TV in my bedroom.
My kids haven’t exactly embraced my stance on this. But I stand firm. If being forced to watch reality TV in the livingroom turns out to propel them into therapy to vent their rage at me, well so be it. I’ll take that risk — just so long as they don't one day appear ON any of these shows.
Do you let your child have a TV in his room?
*Researchers at the University of Michigan found that 71% of 8- to 18-year-olds have a TV in their bedroom.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.