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Is There Such a Thing as Too Many TVs in the House?

I have read through the printed e book and was wondering what you recommend. Terrible to say all of our kids have TV's in their rooms. We have thought about taking them all out and having them earn them during the week for use on the weekends. Our 12 year old is a very good student and has given us NO problems what so ever. I feel that she may think we are punishing her by taking her TV away. The other kids are the one's that are the problem. What do you think?

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The number of TVs in the house is not as important as what they are watching on their TVs. The problem with having TVs in the bedrooms is you can’t monitor what they are watching.

Love your kids equally, but parent them differently. Let your 12-year-old keep her TV. The others should “earn” TV privileges as you suggested. If you want to go the extra mile, have only one TV is a central area where you can monitor content.

Children in the United States watch an average of three to four hours of television a day. By the time of high school graduation, they will have spent more time watching television than they have in the classroom. While television can entertain, inform, and keep our children company, it may also influence them in undesirable ways.

Time spent watching television takes away from important activities such as reading, school work, playing, exercise, family interaction, and social development. Children also learn information from television that may be inappropriate or incorrect.

They often can’t tell the difference between the fantasy presented on television versus reality. They are influenced by the thousands of commercials seen each year, many of which are for alcohol, junk food, fast foods, and toys.

Children who watch a lot of television are likely to:

· Have lower grades in school
· Read fewer books
· Exercise less
· Be overweight

In any event, I would strongly suggest that you have only one TV – and have a house rule that prohibits watching programs containing violence. Hundreds of studies of the effects of TV violence on children and teenagers have found that children may:
  • become "immune" or numb to the horror of violence
  • gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems
  • imitate the violence they observe on television
  • identify with certain characters, victims and/or victimizers 

In addition, children with emotional, behavioral, learning or impulse control problems may be more easily influenced by TV violence.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

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