TVs, Kids, and the Bedroom

A few months ago I read a post from The Better Mom in which she mentioned that her family had given up their TV about 5 years ago.

At the time I read it, I thought that’s nuts. Interesting and tempting, but nuts.

And yet, as I flip through the channels, I see what utter garbage people are watching and I think maybe it’s not so nuts.

We have three TVs in our home. One in the living room, one in the boys’ playroom, and one in our bedroom.

And since we’ve discovered that a third child will soon be arriving, we’ve been talking about TV quite a lot. See, when the baby comes, the boys are going to lose their playroom. It’s going to become their bedroom, which means the TV is coming out.

Call me crazy, but I don’t want my kids having a TV in their bedroom. I know I’m in the minority on this, most likely, but when I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to have a TV in my room because my mom always said that it would take away from family time.

I think she was right. (Yeah, Mama, I’m learning that you were right about a great many things!)

I didn’t have a TV in my room until I went away to college.

And now, I’ve got pretty strict TV rules about what we watch and how long we watch. I don’t want my kids becoming screen zombies.

My #1 rule is: if you aren’t watching the TV for a specific reason, TURN IT OFF.

I cannot stand for the TV to be on in the background when no one is watching. The constant sound makes me crazy.

Several times we’ve been offered TVs as gifts for my boys for their bedrooms. I’ve politely declined and gotten the “she’s a whack-job” look.

Am I in the minority?

Share with me: What do you think about TVs in kids’ rooms? Do your kids have them? What are your TV rules?

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15 Comments

Filed under Family

15 responses to “TVs, Kids, and the Bedroom

  1. Becky Doughty

    No TV in any rooms. Especially not the bedrooms. Not even ours. Our bedroom is our sanctuary. The TV offers too many potentially dangerous influences and it’s available 24/7. I know that sounds hardcore, but after 24+ years of fighting for a marriage, we’re not taking chances. We read together, and we sometimes watch a movie on a laptop together, but otherwise, it’s just the two of us sharing our lives with each other and only each other. Our kids have never had TVs in their rooms for the same reason – potentially dangerous influences – and it makes it so much easier to enforce that when we don’t have one in ours.

    Yeah – pretty tough policy. But it’s worked. One TV in the house and it’s in the front room where it’s public and monitored, and it’s not hooked up – for movie viewing only. We do have Netflix so we can watch pre-selected TV shows or movies, but it’s not just playing in the background. Same with the computers.

    Interesting tidbit – our daughter just got married a year ago and she and her husband have a TV in their bedroom. BUT because of our example, they agreed that they would not hook it up. It’s for watching movies only. They fall asleep together, just the two of them, and they swear by it.

    This is a tough issue, Jennifer. You’re a brave Mama for putting it out there! Good for you.

    Blessings – praying for your health during this pregnancy.
    Becky

    • You know, the TV in our bedroom almost never gets used. It’s only gotten wear lately because I’ve been so sick with the pregnancy. It’s kept me company when I’m in my “I can’t move or I will throw up everywhere state.” It’s because of that that I’ve realized just how much garbage is on TV. I definitely like the idea of the bedroom being a sanctuary, and especially for my boys. I just don’t think it’s necessary for kids to be “stimulated” by something electronic all the time. They need to be able to learn how to play, imagine, and explore on their own.

      • Becky Doughty

        Amen and amen! I recently read an article about increased depression in kids being linked to the lack of social interaction with other family members and friends – they have HUNDREDS of friends on FB and Twitter, and gaming sites, but it’s not real, and they’re becoming more and more isolated, and more and more depressed about it.

        But like everything else, moderation and balance is the key. You’re so right about that!

        And I’m serious – totally praying that you’ll get through this morning sickness SOON! Poor thing. This little guy is going to be such a blessing when he arrives!

        Hugs (but not too hard – don’t want to make you barf!)
        Becky

  2. For years we had only one TV–in the living room. Now there’s one in my office because the guys in my house have taken over the main one for gaming.

    When my boys were little, they weren’t allowed to have a TV in their rooms because I felt they didn’t need it. They would watch in the living room where I had better control over what they were viewing and for how long.

  3. Lauren

    We have two TV’s and that just happened this last Christmas. We have one in the living room and now a small one in our bedroom that we were given as a Christmas gift that like yours, rarely gets turned on. No TV’s in my boys’ bedrooms and there won’t be any in their bedrooms. My guys rarely watch TV. They like Ninjago which they catch on Wednesdays and other than that it is an occasional movie. My youngest would rather play and be outside and my oldest would rather be outside or read and I love it! They have friends who have video systems and TV’s in their bedrooms and they have asked me if they could and we said no and there has been no fight about it and no more questions. They each have a DS which they are only allowed to play on weekends and only for the time limit we set. We don’t want our guys to become TV or any type of electronic zombies. I would much rather see them wrestling around or dressed up as super heroes saving the world or using play doh or being outside. It’s much better on them in my opinion.

  4. Lori D

    When my husband and I moved parsonages, we uncovered that when we put our homes together when we got married, we had accummulated 4 or 5 televisions. Since Ben and I have been married, we have had one televison hooked up in the living room and that’s it. We do not have a televison in the bedroom or in the kitchen (we like to have some rooms were talking is a major focus). Since we only have the one television (goodwill was able to sell several of our televisions), I think that when kids come televisions in their rooms will not be an issue.

  5. I agree with you about TV in kids rooms, and with Becky about having one in our room. We decided a long time ago that we want only one TV in our house. If we ever had a playroom, I might consider changing that. But my husband hates that the TV is the center of the living room, and how everything is arranged to face the TV and make TV watching comfortable. It can’t be helped, if we’re going to have one, but it’s an interesting thought.

  6. No TVs in our bedrooms. It’s always been a rule. We have one TV and it is in our TV room. And we really don’t watch much stuff…just sports (my dad is an all-around sports fan, so that’s on all year) sometimes the food channel in the commercials on the sports (commercials are often worse than shows! :-P), and sometimes a few other shows. But we do have a filter, so a lot of shows are blocked anyway. We are not allowed to watch TV unless our dad wants to watch sports. We do watch movies though. Not a ton, but we do watch. But yeah. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have a TV in bedrooms, just because it’s distracting from what really matters, so when I’m a mom (as I hope I will be someday) or a wife, I won’t have TVs in any bedrooms. 🙂

  7. So much of television is a malign influence – most programming is centered on entertainment at the lowest level, with the aim of attracting advertising revenue.

    And the advertising – it’s designed to create wants that become needs, for things we don’t need, and that ultimately lead to a turning from the Divine to the worldly.

    While there is good programming (and even worthy advertising, for the support of good causes) the danger of unsupervised viewing for children is simply too great.

    The Bible say to bring up children in good ways, so that they’ll stick with them in later life. Those formative years, when parents have the control – and the responsibility – to determine what children see are so very important to them, and ultimately to all of us. And, methinks, to the Almighty.

    Colour me old-fashioned, and I’ll wear those colours with dignity.

  8. I’m a dinosaur. Yep, I’m so old I can remember when my dad told us we were getting our very first COLOR television. We had one TV for the entire family when I was growing up, and that’s what Gwynly and I have today. When our daughter was still living at home, I wanted to know what she was watching and when.

  9. I was never allowed a TV in my room when I was little either. ONCE in a while it was huge treat to have the TV wheeled into our room if I was sick. Now, as an adult, I do have a TV in my room, which is more like a little house apart from the main house. But since we lost TV reception, it’s mostly movies that I watch. Much better to control what I watch and when. I too easily zone out! 😉

  10. Marissa E.

    I’m in high school right now, and I’ve never had a TV in my room! I remember wishing I had one, but I’m glad I didn’t. In fact, many teens I know don’t have a TV in their room.

  11. Pam K.

    I think you are very wise not to have TV in your children’s bedrooms. We’ve just had one TV (in the living room, behind closed doors) and it’s been just fine. Now that my kids are older, they still don’t have TV in their rooms, though they will watch movies or TV shows on their laptops. Especially for young kids, I think it’s best to have TV time be family time (or at least know what they are watching).

  12. I agree 100%. My kids are teens now and have never had TVs in their rooms. Even though almost all their friends have TVs in their rooms, this is one thing they’ve never begged me for. We have 1 TV in the family room, and we all watch together. If someone isn’t interested in the program, they read or go on the computer (also in the family room). We bought an itty-bitty TV for our bedroom years ago when we had some satellite system that wouldn’t let you record one show while watching another. I use that one when I’m sorting laundry, and the kids occasionally use it – for example, our son watched it this week when ten of our daughter’s teenage girlfriends invaded our house. I don’t blame him.

    I had a 4th grader in my Sunday school class who was always falling asleep. Turned out he had a TV with game system in his room and routinely stayed up until 2am or later. Why give them that temptation in the first place?

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