Children and TV

This is what life looked like before TV, mobile phones, computers, tablets and the like! This is what my childhood looked like and I have very fond memories. It is probably an alien view for many young people and children these days. I wonder how many children play board games with their parents (or with each other), see their parents reading in the evenings, sit and talk, do arts and crafts.  Very few, because not only are children addicted to TV and other screen devises, so are their parents. 

"The average Australian young person spends about four hours a day in front of a screen of some sort. A typical home now has three TVs, three laptops and two videogame consoles, and a child’s bedroom resembles an electronics display room". 

How many screen devices do you have in your house?

Do your children have TVs in their bedrooms, if so, these facts below are worth reading.  

Here is some facts about TVs in children's bedrooms and it isn't good news and I doubt the data is any different for American children. (source: Active healthy kids Australia - report card, 2014):

  • About a third of Australian children aged 9-11 have a TV in their bedroom and on average these children watch three hours’ more TV each week than children who do not have a bedroom TV.
  • They also get 45 minutes less physical activity each week, one hour less sleep, and spend one hour more on the computer. 
  • They snack more in front of the TV, eat more fast food and consume more soft drinks, are 10% fatter, have larger waist girths, less self-confidence in being physically active, lower health-related quality of life, and their education scores are on average 30 points lower.

If we halve their television use, as US researcher David Epstein did by using electronic monitoring devices, children will eat 400 kJ less each day and will lose weight relative to their unrestricted peers. This may be why only 15% of thin Australian children have a TV in their bedroom, compared to 43% of obese children.

I think the advice is pretty clear, a TV in a child's bedroom is not healthy for them in any way. 

Even if the child doesn't have a TV in their bedroom, they can still watch movies and TV shows via their other devices, such as the iPad and smart phone. So, who is at fault - the parents. They bought the devises and placed them in their children's rooms, whether by their own choice or due to pester power. Parents need to take back control in their homes otherwise we will have a increasing problem of unhealthy children.

Parents need to:

  • set boundaries when it comes to screen based activities
  • offer non-screen alternatives, such as games, books, crafts and hobbies
  • model moderate screen behaviour themselves
  • encourage their children to get outdoors and be creative and adventurous.

Wouldn't it be great to see more families have "no-TV" nights where parents and children sat around and play board games, read together or perhaps go for a walk, have a picnic etc.. I am sure it would create happier, less stressed, healthier families who got along so much better. 


  1. Total agreement from me! If it was my choice, we would have none of these things, maybe just a TV to watch DVDs on movie night once a week, but with no TV reception. Hubby, however, loves his TV time and now so do the kids. Grrr! They do not have TV in their rooms (we only have one TV) and never will! My 17 year old daughter will watch DVDs in her room on her laptop as the boys are way too noisy for her to watch on the living room TV! They have no iPad, iPhone, etc. and boy, am I ever trying to keep it that way as long as possible!
    Great post!

    1. What parents do does strongly influence the children's behaviour and it can be very hard to change unless the parents change too. i also think it is important to teach children (once teenagers) to make wises selections so they can make them on their own much later. I watched some pretty horrible things which I now regret - testing the waters so to speak :(

  2. We are selective TV watchers, it is only switched on when we want to watch a programme together.

    1. We only watch a few things on TV, mostly we watch DVDs which suit us and when we want so we aren't dictated by the TV stations!!

  3. No TV here, but even screen time is very limited for the children. Sadly the adults "need" to use the computer for work and communication, research, etc, but we also spend lots of time outside, and read too - possibly more than the average. Oh, and we don't read books on screens - but real ones with paper and ink!!!! Yah!

    1. I use the computer a lot (at home and at work) as it is such a useful tool - but my decision to only read "paper" books is to have a break from the screen and I much prefer the real thing anyway. My eyes need that rest and there are still so many positives to real books :))

  4. No TV here, as you know... And even watching DVDs is very limited both for adults and children. We're very choosy about what we will watch. Sometimes the children won't watch ANYTHING for even a couple months. Sometimes us adults won't watch anything for several weeks. Watching just isn't that important for us. Sometimes we'll watch things more often. But we have so many hobbies and things we like to do -- both individually and as a family -- that we don't have time to be watching stuff every day!

    1. Lots of varied activities is the best option as you do - I am sure its far better for our brains to have lots of interests (as in the old days) rather than having so much activity that is around screen based technology and not much else.

  5. Great post, thanks so much for sharing it at Good Morning Mondays. We have no television connected here and only have a TV set for DVD's. Sometimes before our younger children go to bed they have a bit of a jamming session, which is just lovely. This doesn't go on every day or every night. Quite often at night my husband picks away at his banjo while I am blogging and sometimes we watch a movie. Our younger children have no tv's, phones or ipads and we have never let them use tv or computer based games either. Our older son has his own lap top and phone but this phone is necessary for work. Great points. Blessings

    1. Thanks Terri, I grew up in a house with no TV and whilst I didn't mind as a child, I did go over board with TV once I left home as if making up for all the years without one. I am not sure if other children do this, I don't know. We have a TV (only one) and tend to watch DVDs far more than TV - however there are few things I watch on the ABC that I really enjoy, but these days, you can watch these on iView if you don't have a TV.

  6. We are too addicted this day and age to screens, of course I am as a blogger. I've found a supportive community where I can learn and grow and have something of my own in a house of boys :) My kids would watch TV all day if I let them. But we've been setting more boundaries lately and hubby and I have been conscious to put down screens and spend time with them. He's been teaching them guitar or singing to us and boys and I will spend every night reading. It certainly helps that the pool is open as when they aren't playing soccer we're at the pool for hours. My kids all have TV's in their rooms but we don't get cable (the youngest only gets PBS) and they never watch them on school days. We have set pretty big boundaries but we've been enjoying family time together.

    Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinning to our linkup board and hope you join this week's linkup that just went live!

    1. Whilst we now have Netflix and can watch anything whenever we want - I am glad we didn't have that option when the children were smaller as I am sure they would have been even more addicted to it. I think it is all about balance and it sounds like you have it :))


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