How Being a Cool Parent Could Kill Your Kids

Remember when you were a kid and your parents said “no” to everything? Like staying out later, eating junk food, or having a TV in your room?

It turns out parents were right about that last one.

A recent study has confirmed kids who have TVs in their bedroom are twice as likely to have a weight problem, and three times at risk for heart disease and diabetes, than children who don’t have TVs in their bedroom. Considering the fact 70 percent of American kids have TVs in their bedrooms, these are shocking statistics.

In the study, which can be found in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers tracked 369 children, ages 5 to 18 years who had TVs in their bedrooms. Nearly 66 percent of them watched an average of five hours of TV daily. The children all had their height, weight, and waist circumferences measured before the study.

They were all found to have 2.5 times more fat mass and larger waists than non-watching kids their age. And, the bigger the TV, the wider the waist measurement.

Amanda Staiano, a scientist with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana called the outcome of the study “troubling,” and said that it renewed the old debate about whether TVs should be banned from children’s bedrooms altogether.

Dr. Donald Shifrin, a pediatrician and former member of the AAP’s council on communications and media, sees no reason why any child should have a TV in their bedroom. “There’s not much good to be gained from having the TV in the child’s bedroom,” says Dr. Shifrin, adding parents should be aware the viewing time “is not essentially benign.”

This type of viewpoint annoys blogger Lori Garcia to no end.  She even wrote an article about it in August 2011 called My Toddle Has a TV in His Room and I’m Not Sorry.” Garcia sees TV as a harmless and welcome distraction for her toddler when used properly and in moderation. “I don’t see anything wrong with a TV in my toddler’s room so long as it’s utilized responsibly.”

Many parents, exhausted by the demands of parenthood, would be inclined to agree with her.

Here’s a scenario for you: Would you rather be woken up at 5:30AM by a bored toddler or let his parental controlled bedroom TV entertain him for a few hours?

Sound off on our Twitter or Facebook pages—bedroom TVs okay for your child, yay or nay?