It's a bit early for us yet, but eventually we'll be having a discussion about whether or not our child should have a TV in their bedroom.

Would you/have you let your children have their own TV and what were your reasons for or against? If we did decide to get one, at what age would it be appropriate?

asked 25 Feb '10, 17:16

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
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I don't think we will. We don't see a compelling reason for that, and we want to encourage them to watch less TV, not more. We do have two TVs in the house (one regular TV, and a TV tuner on the computer) so we don't expect we'd run into issues where we need more displaying different things at the same time.

But our oldest is only 9, and we don't subscribe to cable or satellite, so there's no compelling reason for us to do more right now.

Also, having the TVs in main rooms encourages interaction, and makes it much easier for us to monitor how much and what they're watching, which we also value significantly.

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answered 25 Feb '10, 18:17

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Adam Davis
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+1 I agree, we will most likely handle it similarely

(25 Feb '10, 19:26) brandstaetter

I've always said that my kids wouldn't ever have TV's in their bedrooms, or even a lot of their toys, and I don't have one in mine. Kids bedrooms are for sleeping, reading, and homework. My older boys and I have had some of our best talks in their rooms when I would go to say goodnight up until they got too old for that a few years ago. We still have our best talks late at night, though. Only now it's when they're trying to avoid going to bed. (I don't think a lot of that would have happened if I was telling them to shut off the damn television when I went to tuck them in.)

We watch TV as a family on the one set hooked up to cable in our living room. We may watch too much of it by some peoples standards, but at least we're doing it together. The Nintendo Wii and XBox are also hooked up to that TV so there is often a lot of juggling of who wants to do what when, but I don't see that as a bad thing at all.

All that being said, my 16 year old has a TV my brother gave him that isn't hooked up to cable (and you can't get any stations on) in his bedroom in our basement now. He uses it very rarely to play PS2 (but his older brother won't go down there to play with him, and it's very rare that he'll play on that system by himself), and sometimes to watch movies with his friends or girlfriend. But, he can't "watch TV" on it, and that's the loophole he jumped through to get me to let him have it in there.

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answered 25 Feb '10, 18:24

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Neen
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+1 "Kids bedrooms are for sleeping, reading, and homework."

(25 Feb '10, 19:26) brandstaetter

We won't let him watch TV until he's 2 years old.
That's what's recommended by the pediatric association in my country.

And I wouldn't let him have his own TV at least until he's a teenager.

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answered 25 Feb '10, 19:08

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JJJ
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edited 26 Feb '10, 18:08

4

Children before the age of 2 should not even watch television at all, and you want to immediately give them their own set in their bedroom? How do you plan to monitor and limit the usage?

(25 Feb '10, 19:25) brandstaetter

Is it possible that Juan is misunderstood the question and is just saying no TV at all until 2 (a good plan, IMHO) and did not mean that he would put a TV in the kid's room at age 2? Juan, can you clarify so we know if we should upvote?

(26 Feb '10, 06:15) lgritz

I assumed the answer was meant in that way, but until it is clarified I will keep the -1...

(26 Feb '10, 09:21) brandstaetter
1

Yes, I didn't mean I would place a TV in my son's bedroom, in fact, I am totally against it. I re-read the question, I thought it asked about watching TV

(26 Feb '10, 18:07) JJJ

Thanks for clarifying!

(01 Mar '10, 19:08) brandstaetter

I think i will eventually let them have TV's in the room, prob around the age of 14 but have it with parental lock and a timer so it cant be used after a certain time, I think i would not be more concerned about internet in their rooms.

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answered 26 Feb '10, 20:24

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Phil Seller
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+1 Very, very wise, I worry far more about what my older kids are doing online than I do about how much TV they watch. After they get to a certain age you realize that they're surfing from a lot more places that just at home where you can control or check what they've been doing.

(27 Feb '10, 15:47) Neen

No, we won't. At this point we limit what we watch and limit what our 2 year old watches to just dvds. I worry that tv can limit creativity and family time.

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answered 25 Feb '10, 19:07

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Michelle
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I watched a lot of TV as a kid, and I had a small black-and-white TV in my room starting at age 13 and really enjoyed it. It didn't hurt me, but frankly I would like my son to watch less TV than I did, and not to have a TV in his room at all. (To set a good example, my wife and I do not have a TV in our bedroom, and are happier than when we had one.)

I was a kid in the days before cable, internet, and DVD/videotape, we had a fairly limited selection of over-the-air TV stations, so it was harder to watch TV as many hours as are available now. And especially looking at "kid's TV" these days, it sure seems dumber and more commercial than I remember it. Like the shows are slapped together only as a pretext to show them as many ads for junk food and plastic toys as possible.

Despite hoping my son watches as little TV as possible, I don't want it to be so little that (a) he loses touch entirely with popular culture, or (b) misses out on some legitimately good stuff that can be found on TV (albeit the rare needle in a haystack of crap), or (c) it becomes "forbidden fruit" and the main way for him to rebel is to watch as much mindless TV as he can.

I think new technology may help: DVDs, internet video, and Tivo allow us to pick what we watch rather than settling for whatever rubbish is on, to skip commercials (or not have them at all), and to "time shift" (e.g., "TV only on weekends" or "only after homework is done" doesn't have to mean missing favorite shows, as it did when I was young).

So the bottom line is that I'm leaning toward never allowing him to have his own TV. Though once he's a teenager, if he's a responsible kid and a good student, it would probably be hypocritical for me to deny him as long as he was spending enough time being physical, reading, socializing, and attending to his academics. But I hope that in his younger years, I can limit the TV and maybe he'll never get hooked enough to even want a TV in his room.

As an aside, I feel like I have to say that the above discussion is geared toward older kids and teenagers. For young kids and toddlers, I think TV should be avoided as long as possible. Some references:

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answered 26 Feb '10, 07:03

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lgritz
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I didn't have a TV in my room until I was 16. And then, I only had a VCR - there wasn't a cable outlet in my room. The only reason my parents allowed it was because the TV was a nearly dead hand-me-down from my grandparents. When it died about a year later, I had to do without until I was in college.

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answered 25 Feb '10, 19:47

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mkcoehoorn
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edited 27 Feb '10, 15:52

1

My 16 year old will commiserate with you, "Mom why can't I have cable on the TV in my room?" "Because I said no, you know the reasons." "But I just have to run a cable across the basement..." "Because. I. Said. No." The "I think I should get a cell-phone" one was easier, I just said "I think you should get a job, then." He hasn't mentioned cells since.

(26 Feb '10, 16:54) Neen
1

I never felt deprived by not having my own TV. And by making me and my brother use the family box, my parents were able to keep an eye on what we were watching.

(26 Feb '10, 18:31) mkcoehoorn

That's why our one in the living room is the only one that is or ever shall be hooked up to cable. (We can't get the regular channels, too much interferance from the radio station 100 feet down the street.)

(26 Feb '10, 18:43) Neen
1

To balance this, until recently we had a house with an extra room downstairs for the kids play room. Still a public space in the home, but definitely devoted to the kids. We had envisioned a 2nd TV in that room after the kids got a little older, but not in bedrooms.

(27 Feb '10, 01:56) Joel Coehoorn

Trust me Joel, my reasons aren't purely ultruistic. They're about half that I've always had touble sleeping and don't want TVs in bedrooms to hopefully help my kids avoid some of the difficulties I've had in that area, and half that my kids are so widely spaced apart in ages (17, 16, 2, and 1) that I've got a terrible fear of losing touch with my older ones because I've gotten so wrapped up in taking care of the little ones. The TV in a common room has helped me avoid the scenario of them disappearing into their rooms to avoid diapers and temper tantrums. :)

(27 Feb '10, 15:40) Neen

Probably not for a long time, since we don't have a TV licence (and won't for the forseeable future). They can share the family box to watch DVDs or play games on.

There just doesn't seem a point to giving them a TV.

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answered 26 Feb '10, 09:14

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Asked: 25 Feb '10, 17:16

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Last updated: 27 Feb '10, 15:52