Parents finally have a study they can reference when telling their children why having a TV or video games in their rooms is bad for them. A new study conducted at the Iowa State University reveals the consequences of allowing children to have a TV or play video games in their bedrooms.
It's a lot easier for parents to never allow a TV in the bedroom than it is to take it out
Douglas Gentile, the lead author and professor of psychology at the university, says the study found that the location of the TV and video game system mattered.
“When most children turn on the TV alone in their bedroom, they’re probably not watching educational shows or playing educational games,” Gentile says.
He says putting a TV in the bedroom gives children 24-hour access and privatises their viewing in a sense, so as a parent you monitor less and control their use of it less.
His recommendation? Just don’t put a TV in the room no matter how difficult it is to say no.
"It's a lot easier for parents to never allow a TV in the bedroom than it is to take it out," he said. "It's a question every parent must face, but there is a simple two-letter answer. That two-letter answer is tough, but it is worth it," Gentile said.
Not only is children’s school work likely to suffer but their health is another worry.
University College London (UCL) conducted a study on more than 12 000 children from when they were 7 until they turned 11. The study found that girls who had a TV in their bedrooms at age seven had a 30% higher risk of being overweight at age 11, compared to girls who did not have a TV in their bedrooms. The boys were found to have a 20% higher risk of becoming overweight.
“Our study shows that there is a clear link between having a TV in the bedroom as a young child and being overweight a few years later,” said lead author Dr Anja Heilmann from the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care.