Watching TV From Bed: Pros & Cons?

12 comments

Kids watching TVAs I was driving to work this morning, a local top 40 radio station was conducting a poll of its listeners about whether or not it is ok to put a flat screen television in a 4 year-old’s bedroom.  Apparently, one of the employees of the radio station is considering putting a TV in his daughter’s room and so they were polling the audience.

It seemed that a majority of the listeners calling and texting into the radio station were against having a television in a young child’s room but there were some people who believe it to be totally acceptable and some who even think it’s a good idea.

I am about as loosey goosey as a mom can be when it comes to television watching.  I let my kids watch a fair amount of age-appropriate television.  If we are inside and they want to watch something, I will usually let them.  Sometimes they watch TV while they are eating.  Sometimes the TV is on but they aren’t really watching it.  I rarely limit the amount of kid shows they can watch.  I do, however, encourage my children to do other things and I keep them very active outside.  They would often rather be doing something other than laying around watching a show anyways and in that sense, they limit their own screen time.  I don’t see too much harm in letting kids watch television but I do recognize  that their minds need to be stimulated in other ways too.

I found the radio listener poll interesting because the thought has never occurred to me whether to put a television in my child’s room.  For one thing, with my oldest being only 4, my children are not even close to the age where I personally would consider it.  Secondly, although I had a television in my room as a kid (not sure what age I was but certainly older than 4) and I have a television in my room now, we would have to have TVs in each child’s room and pay for cable in each room to make things fair in our home.  With three kids, that’s a lot of money!  For me, as my own personal parenting choice,  I want to know how much time my kids are spending watching TV and exactly what they are watching so that I can intervene if I feel it is getting out of hand or borderlining unhealthy.  I imagine that this will become even more important as my kids get older.

Every parent makes their own choices but I’m curious, do you have a TV in your child’s room or have a no TV in the bedroom policy?

12 comments on “Watching TV From Bed: Pros & Cons?”

  1. My kids are now 30 and 27. I love TV, not actually watching per se, but the idea of having a source of entertainment at my disposal while I’m doing things around the house. The world has changed incredibly since the 80’s and 90’s when my kids were little. There were no computers or flat screens in those days, and TVs were pretty expensive, so while my kids had TVs in their rooms it wasn’t until they were a little older. I think that a TV with restricted channels in a child’s room can be a wonderful thing, especially if you have a child who wakes up really early. If limits are set and adhered to, it can be a great exercise in self discipline and independence. The allure is gone when something is readily available, and my kids actually watched very little TV as kids, as adults, even less, my son doesn’t even have cable. My best friend never let her children have TVs in their rooms and amazingly, ALL of our kids turned into well educated progressive thinking adults! It is so nice that we have all of these choices available to us!

  2. My husband and I are TV addicts. I admit it. We have a TV in the living room, as well as the bedroom. I’m not as much a fan of watching TV at night before bed (although my hubby prefers it), but I do like to watch it in bed in the morning on the weekends (can we say Law & Order reruns?). Granted, with a 7mo old, that rarely happens these days.

    As for our child, I’m trying to limit his TV exposure, at least in the early years. My plan is not to have a TV in his room… at least until late highschool. I want to keep TV as a family event whenever possible… or at least keep it in the common areas so I can ensure his programs are age appropriate.

    Even if he gets a tv, it’s not something I’d supply to him – he’d have to acquire it himself. As I said, my son is only 7mo. We’ll see what the next 18 years has to say about all this. 🙂

  3. My children will never have TVs in their bedrooms, I will never have one in mine either. I think we will be a 1 TV household for quite a while. As an educator I have strong reservations about children having gaming systems and TVs in their rooms. However, if this is the approach that works best for your family and no harm is being done, then by all means, go for it.

  4. Never would I let my girls have a TV in their room! Never, EVER. EVER!!!

    I don’t even have a TV in my room. I once read an article that studied various married couples and the findings revealed that the more you watch TV from your bed, the less sex you are likely to have…I’ve never had a TV in my room since!

  5. For our family, we would not allow this. I do know some moms who have TV in their child’s room for him to watch a DVD in the early morning hours while Mom gets ready for work. It works for them. We don’t even have a TV in our own room, just the living room and our basement family room, so they boys won’t for a long time either.

  6. We don’t allow toys in our boys (5 &6) bedroom and we don’t plan on allowing a tv in there anytime soon either. However I do know several families that use the tv’s sleep timer as a wind-down for their kids at bedtime (e.g. 30 minutes of tv then lights out). On the pro side I’m sure having a tv in the kids room frees up the common room tv and it does allow for bedtime wind-down if that’s your routine. The biggest con for us as a family is not being in complete control of time and content. Besides with ipads and tablets now, tvs in bedrooms are becoming more and more obsolete.

  7. I am somewhat strict about my kids’ TV watching, both in terms of content and how long they watch each day, so I feel like giving them a TV in their rooms would run anathema to the rules that I have set for the rest of the house. But putting that aside, I also think that watching TV should be more of a community experience. It’s something that two kids who rarely agree on anything can do peacefully together. I often like to go and sit with them on the couch, usually reading a book or doing something else, while they watch, but it’s still time to hang out together. I don’t want them isolating themselves in their rooms, and I see no real advantage to it at this age (5 & 8). I think that it might be different if my husband and I were big TV watchers and wanted to have it to ourselves like in the evening, but we never watch anything before the kids go to bed anyway.

  8. Judgment Free Motherhood is why I joined. I don’t recall too many Blogs that have actually practiced this. I’m trying to find my “unsubscribe button” as I write. This is not what I expected at all from this website. Live and let live. Did my 4 year old have a tv, no – does she at 11, yes? I just realized I signed up for Working Whiners.

    1. Carol, this is Michelle, founder of CTWM’s. We strive to be judgement-free in everything we do but we are all human and sometimes misspeak or don’t communicate perfectly. Patty altered her piece to get to her true question – what are the pros and cons of this topic? I don’t believe she meant to be judgemental, I know her personally and that is not her personality. I’m sorry you are upset and if you choose to not be part of our community any longer, that’s certainly your choice. Best of luck to you.

  9. NEVER would I put a television in any bedroom (let alone my kids’ bedroom) except for our guest bedroom – this is not for developmental reasons, but because I am a complete believer that the light sources from television and other screens are disruptive to sleep.

    I prohibit TV in our master bedroom and we fight about the stupid tablet computer because hubby likes to read on the tablet until all times of night. I can be in a dead sleep and the moment he turns it on, I wake up.

    I have it good with my kids’ sleep – I am a sleep freak and keep them on a very rigid schedule. I know that when they get older, sleep will become a luxury for them, and the LAST thing they need is a TV to interfere with whatever sleep they are able to get. I’m not a mom who will be so rigid about the amount of time they watch TV, but if they want to watch it, they can watch it in the common room.

  10. I never actually thought about it. We aren’t huge TV watchers so we wouldn’t put a TV in our kids room. Good point on how much it would cost to do that with multiple kids! I do think though that it’s a parents choice and they should do what they think is right for their own family.

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