In the last few weeks we’ve had a lot of dialogue in this blog about the media teenagers are regularly digesting, anything from mainstream racy music videos to top songs with questionable content. It’s been interesting to see some of the comments in these discussions. Some are of the opinion that parents should simply let kids do what they want.
Last month if you popped on Yahoo’s front page, you might have seen an article titled, “My Toddler has a TV in his Room and I’m Not Sorry.” In this dogmatic article, the author asserts her reasoning from the getgo:
I make no apology for the fact that my toddler has a TV in his room for one very simple reason:
Kids love TV and parents love that kids love TV.
I mean, I know I do.
Well… there you have it. Case closed. I mean, after all, kids love TV and so do we.
I can’t wait until her toddler grows into a teenager. Teenagers love sex, and so do we. So they should have it in their room, right? (believe me, some believe that they should) And some teenagers love inhalants. So we should probably let them sniff these wonderfully addictive drugs, right?
Okay, maybe I’m pushing the envelope. But can I just please ask for a little more reasoning than “They like it!”
What do the experts say?
Interestingly enough, most the experts do chime in on the subject of media in bedrooms. For example: last year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a study titled, “Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media.” This report recommended that parents “keep their children’s bedroom free of TVs and internet connections.”
The Kaiser Foundation did some sobering research on the subject as well in their M2 report last year. Here’s just a snippet of our article summarizing the findings from that report:
Part of the reason kids are watching more television these days is also due to the fact that 71% of them have a TV in their bedroom (and 49% of them have cable or satellite access there, too). KFF’s study clearly showed that kids who have TVs in their bedrooms watched an hour more of programming each day than kids who did not have a TV in their rooms.
But, according to KFF’s report, less than half of kids’ parents (46%) have rules about what sort of television content they can watch. And a mere 28% of kids’ parents have rules about how much time can be spent watching TV.
It’s pretty clear– parents who actually create media guidelines for their kids are in the minority. Sadly… many parents would rather not know what their kids are watching. Out of sight, out of mind.
So who do you believe? Mrs. I Love TV… or a large group of respected pediatricians that are concerned with the choices young people are making today?
The AAP report mentioned above has some positive news for parents who choose to listen:
- Teenagers whose parents control their TV-viewing habits are less sexually experienced
- Adolescents whose parents limit their TV-viewing are less likely to engage in early sex.
(I go into greater detail in my blog about that report.)
So what about you? What media guidelines do you think should be put into place in homes today?