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Should Children Have TVs in Their Bedrooms?

Should Children Have TVs in Their Bedrooms?

Should you put a TV in your child’s room? If one thing is clear from the many Circle of Moms conversations about TVs in kids’ rooms, it’s that there are many valid points of view on the issue. To help you decide which strategy will work best for your family, here are three key questions to consider.

1. Can You Still Monitor Their Screen Time?

Many Circle of Moms members say they won’t put a television in their child's bedroom because he might watch inappropriate shows or too much TV.  Becky F. reasons: “Our kids won't have a TV, video game console, or computer in their room. It becomes too hard to limit what and when they watch as they get older, I think. Of course, we could limit it a bit by not connecting the cable, but it would be hard to prevent them turning it on and watching it when they should be sleeping.” And Cat B. shares: “I still want to be able to send my kids for a time out in their rooms knowing they're actually thinking about what they did wrong, not flipping channels or popping in a movie."

But moms like Dyan B. say they can monitor how their kid uses the bedroom TV as easily as they can any TV in the house, insisting “It's all in how you handle it.”  The consensus among moms whose kids do have TVs in their rooms seems to be that it’s fine as long as there are limitations and rules. What kinds of restrictions? Some restrict cable (“Gotta love child-locked T.V.,” says Amie T.); others only allow DVDs or keep keep gaming systems hooked up exclusively to the family TV.


2. Will Your Child Watch it All The Time?

The answer to this question seems to depend on your child’s personality. Many moms decide against TV in the bedroom because they worry their child will want to watch it constantly. As Joy B. explains: “I feel like it would be starting him on a path towards inactivity. I try to limit how much TV he watches and I try to keep him outside playing as much as possible.”

But not all children have couch potato sensibilities. As Courtney R. relays: “My son got a TV in his room at 4 years old. He NEVER watches it. He would rather be outside playing with his friends or riding his bike.” Similarly, Jane M. shares: “My children (now 20 and almost 17) both had TV's in their rooms by about 5 or 6. And ya know what? TV was never that big of a thing for them because it wasn't an unattainable thing. They are huge readers, exercisers, love being outside, lots of extra curricular activities in school, etc."

3. Is TV Watching a Family or Solo Activity?

Many moms feel TV watching should be a communal, family activity. “I'd like the TV to be something that we can watch for a little while each night as a family," Krista M. explains. "Not something that has my son alone in his bedroom for hours.” And Angie B. agrees: “In our family, we don't allow it because we think it encourages children to isolate themselves more than they already do. For the most part, we watch TV as a family.”

But alone time isn’t necessarily a bad thing, say other moms. Cathy S. found her autistic son calmed down more quickly after school when she allowed him to watch TV in his room: “We previously had all the game consoles in the living room. By moving them to his room he actually spends less time on them. He winds down quicker after school too for spending a bit of time on his own. It's actually helping his autism.”

And Jodi A. claimed some much-needed alone time for herself and her husband by giving her teenage step-daughter a TV: “She used to sit up and not give hubby and I any space, so by giving her a small TV, it gave us this, LOL.”

Other moms say that watching TV in the bedroom is part of family time, specifically as part of a nighttime routine for young children. As Cassie S. explains (of her 23-month old daughter’s bedroom TV): “We use her TV once a day, just before bed…I think it works for us because there is no cable in her room and it is strictly used for a very short amount of time while I nurse her baby sister.”

Join The Conversation
Megan25934 Megan25934 4 years
I dont think they should but Im not going to bash anyone that does. Here is my reasoning why I think they shouldnt. My sisters kids both have them in their room they have since they have been old enough to walk. No cable just a game system for both games and DVD. When they know my sister and her husband are sleeping they get up and turn the TV on. The kids bed time is 9 but they put them to "bed" at 7 because they know they will just get up and turn the TV on and Play around. REALLY, dont give them a dang TV then. I know this is not the usual case but I dont want to give my son the option and doing this ya know. I do have a separate TV in the Office for him if he asks to play a game or watch a movie that we dont want to watch. That way he can relax and watch and so can we separately. Oh and one more thing, I know that if he were to watch a movie in his room he would sit or lay in his bed and I dont want him to get use to that, Beds are for sleeping not being awake watching TV, his body wont want to sleep in bed anymore. There was a comment about distracting her kid while she cleans, I found a fun easy way for this, I give my son a wet rag or make him do it and he dusts EVERYTHING, since its just water it doesnt matter what he dusts, I mean all table, the office desk, the top os the TV the front of our bedroom TV, baseboards, tope os headboards, you name it. I turn fun dancey type of music on and we have fun while I get to clean he is cleaning, I try and find something that he knows some of the words to so he can really get into it. :).
DeeAnnaAdamsGorman DeeAnnaAdamsGorman 5 years
I think having a tv in a child, pre-teen, or teenagers room is outrageous. I grew up in a house with one tv and I survived just fine. That ensured that we watched tv as a family and my parents knew exactly what we were watching. I do not like how today's society has turned tv's and gaming consoles into babysitters. I have a 2 1/2 year old and I want to spend as much time with her as possible. We go to the library, paint, sing, play piano, park, walk the dog, read, play legos. There is so much more to do then to have a child watch tv or play video games. Children and adults need to get out and about for exercise and sunshine. We'd have a lot less sickness if people spent more time outdoors.
erikaquinones erikaquinones 5 years
I have an 8y/o son and he has a tv in his room. The good thing about it is that he just uses it for game consoles only. Most of the time he is playing other things rather than using his TV. :-) I consider that as long as you keep monitoring your childs TV use, you can teach them how to be responsible when it comes to have self control in that kind of things.
CoMMember13608853423036 CoMMember13608853423036 5 years
Just know that to prevent difficulty falling asleep, one should shut off the TV, computer, cell phone etc. at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. The light on an electronic device such as a TV or computer emit a lux reading much higher than the amount needed to suppress Melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone secreted that tells our bodies to go to sleep. This is for children and adults. I am an RN working in children and adolescent psych and I teach on this frequently.
AudreyPortis AudreyPortis 5 years
No tv in the bedroom. My husband and I agree that we need to monitor what our children watch at all times. TV is a family event only used sparingly. Plus, a tv in the room distrubes sleep patterns. They will get a tv when can pay for it themselves. :-)
AlexisLyke AlexisLyke 6 years
My 8 and 5 year old both have TVs in their room. My son (who is a video game maniac) uses it constantly but is also extremely active in partaking outside activities. My daughter didn't even want the TV in her room and has left it unplugged since she got it. She'd rather be outside and when she wants to watch TV she would rather be with family while she does it.
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