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Around Our Town...Health

You Want a TV In Your Bedroom For Christmas?

12/01/2005 - My daughter has pleaded with me for years for a TV in her bedroom, hoping that I would wither under her relentless attack as to the benefits of this proposal. I have tried to avoid contributing anything to the development of anti-social behavior. Now as you know this is the season of giving, and the stores are caught up in marketing the latest video games, DVDs and, of course, television sets that we should purchase for our family. I would like to share some interesting information

I read in an article from Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, July 2005; abbreviated title "The Remote, the Mouse, and the No.2 Pencil". The objective of this research was to examine relationships among a child's household media environment, media use and academic achievements. For this survey they used information gathered from third graders although this could be applied to other grade levels.

Conclusions of their findings were as follows: .

1) The household media environment is significantly associated with the student's performance on

the standardized tests.

2) It was found that having a bedroom television set (71 % of the children in the survey had a TV

in their bedroom - Yikes!) was significantly and negatively associated with students test scores

while home computer access and use were positively associated with scores.

3) Absence of a bedroom television combined with access to a home computer was consistently

associated with the highest standardized test scores.

These conclusions could be considered expected, but what interested me were some of the comments the authors made:

"Children were watching an average of 6 hr/day of screen based electronic media".

"Children with bedroom television sets have more trouble falling asleep and have decreased sleep duration. Such sleep disturbances, rather than viewing hours, might be impacting academic performances" .

Studies indicate that children with poorer grades are more likely to watch violent content television. The authors recommend that parents not allow television in the children's bedroom or remove them if they are already present (Yes!).

I found this article especially appealing when discussing this issue with children (such as my daughter) and parents who believe there is no harm in allowing a TV in a child's bedroom. This article still doesn't touch on the facts that the brain develops more slowly in a child when they watch TV or video games and don't read. So now that my daughter has given up on that idea (In God she trusts, Dad better bring Data), she will work on a new proposal. Merry Christmas!

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