TV’s in Children’s Bedrooms (2)
By: Beth McHugh 2008
I observed firsthand the problems of having TV’s in children’s bedrooms back when my daughter was in elementary school. One of the girls in her Year 4 class had one in her bedroom and she was the envy of her peers. Naturally this girl boasted about her new-found televisual independence and I’m sure there were cries of “I want one, too!” in more than our household.
When I found out this girl’s older sister in Year 8 also had her own TV, as well as her younger brother in Year 3, it became almost like a scientific experiment for me. Here we had a family with a “family room” which contained the household TV, as well as four other televisions, one in each of the children’s bedrooms and one in the parent’s. The children all had their own computers as well, but that is another story.
Back to the multi-TV environment. The inevitable occurred. My daughter came home from school to report that her friend from the House of Televisions had watched a popular family movie on the weekend, as had just about every child in the class. But the girl in question had watched it in her bedroom, as had her brother in his and her sister in hers. There was no information on the whereabouts of the parents on this particular night; they either watched the same movie on one of the other TVs, or watched something else. Either way, these parents and their offspring missed out on a valuable family bonding experience.
Having a television in your offspring’s room encourages lack of communication with your child. The earlier the television is introduced into the child’s bedroom, the greater the effect and the more potent the potential for family breakdown. Not that there is anything inherently evil about television. There isn’t. But it’s both ironic and sad that two children can be watching the same program in the same house but in separate rooms. In an age of increasing personal isolation, why set your children up at an unnecessarily early age?
Of course, when adolescence strikes, arguments over who watches what becomes rife. Naturally teens love to watch shows for teens and adults are mindlessly bored with them, unless they are particularly well produced. In these instances, second TVs are mandatory. But by putting the second TV in the parent’s bedroom or another room assigned to the parents, the teenage child is free to watch the program of their choice but in a communal atmosphere.
The latter serves two purposes. Locating the second television in a communal room allows for communal watching by all members of the household. It also allows parents to more easily monitor what their younger teens are watching. Sure they can still get away with watching DVDs that are unsuitable but it makes it less likely.
So what happened to the multi-TV family? The middle girl became the
class outcast, the boy wandered the streets of his suburb at far too
young an age and failed to achieve his potential, the older sister moved
out of town. The parents are still chasing the big buck. Of course,
the television situation did not cause this to happen, rather it is
a symptom of the lack of family interaction and the buying of “love”
with presents when the parents would have been better served to spend
time with their kids. Sadly that magical family time has passed for
this family and that particular window of opportunity has closed.