Most living Americans look upon television as a natural home appliance and think no more about its implications than they would electrical lamps or a washing machine. In fact, more American homes have TVs than have washing machines.
Indeed, American homes have more TV sets than people who are domiciled in each residence according to Nielson Media Research. And therein lies the problem.
Studies show that the mere presence of a television in a child’s bedroom increased average viewing time from 21 to 30 hours weekly. In 2002 the journal Pediatrics reported that preschool children with TVs in their bedrooms were more prone to be overweight and in 2007 the journal Obesity confirmed those results. Other studies show that students with bedroom TVs perform more poorly in school and read significantly less than children not “blessed” with the presence of a TV in their bedroom.
A November 2007 National Endowment for the Arts study discovered that the average young adult (17 – 24 years old) spends 2 ½ hours a day watching TV and 7 minutes a day reading.
Furthermore, the content of television grows ever more violent, coarse and vulgar. For example, the Parents Television Council has just released a study that shows that children who watched daytime shows on cable’s BET (Black Entertainment Television) and MTV (Music Television) were exposed to adult content (material of a sexual, violent, profane or obscene nature) once every 38 seconds.
Clearly, no matter how “familiar” a family’s television set—or more accurately, sets—may be, children’s access to them should be monitored closely by parents both in terms of viewing time and content. And all the research shows that in terms of television viewing, less is better.