Parents: Want a simple way to keep your kids healthy? Then it’s time to ban the bedroom TV! At last count, more then HALF the kids in North America have a television set in their bedroom. However, there's new, scary research we found in the New York Times about kids and TV.
- Let’s start with your kid’s sleep habits. Dr. Leonard Epstein is a professor of pediatrics at State University of New York at Buffalo. In a study of kids between the ages of 4 and 7, he found that having a bedroom TV increased their viewing time by about nine hours per week! Now that’s nine hours that they’re not asleep, or doing homework. Dr. Epstein says even if parents set a curfew for TV time, it doesn’t always work. Why? Because parents who allow their kids to have a TV in the bedroom are more likely to have a TV in their OWN bedroom. So they can’t always hear if their kids have gone to sleep or not.
- What about your child’s study habits? For that, we turn to research from the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. They found that 70% of children who have a TV in their bedroom scored lower grades in math, reading and language tests. In fact, their grades were lower than kids who were allowed to have video games or a computer in their room! Researchers believe it’s because the TV is a distraction during homework.
- Your kid’s eating habits. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children with bedroom TVs are more likely to become overweight. When bedroom TV viewing time is cut – even slightly – kids lose weight! That’s because when they aren’t glued to the “tubby tube,” they snack less in bed – lowering their food consumption by more than 100 calories per day!
Another study linked bedroom TV viewing to kids becoming less “emotionally reactive” – because of a lack of interaction with their parents. One more study found that adolescent kids with bedroom TVs are TWICE as likely to start smoking.