So you feel bad because your toddler had nightmares after watching that 9 p.m. episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where Squidward’s heart was cut open and blood came squirting out?
Agreed, not a good parenting move. If the lesson hasn’t been learned the hard way, perhaps this story about a new study in Pediatricswill serve as a good reminder.
The study of more than 600 kids ages 3 to 5 found that while watching TV in general during the day doesn’t contribute to sleep problems, viewing violent content does. For that matter, any TV viewing after 7 p.m. was linked with increased sleep problems, regardless of whether the shows were violent or not. (And, yes, animated shows like SpongeBob can be violent in the minds of little ones.)
Another interesting finding in the study: Kids with TVs in their bedrooms averaged an additional 15 minutes of evening use each night and 12 more minutes of violent content viewed during the day.
In addition to having more screen time and more disruptive sleep, kids with TVs in their rooms were also more tired during the day.
Research from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that one-third of kids ages 0 to 6 have a TV in their bedroom and that number skyrockets to more than 70 percent for 8 to 18 year olds.
We parents have our reasons for doing so. Maybe it's to keep the video games (and all the accompanying paraphernalia) out of the family room/common space. (Guilty!) Maybe it's so that kids can watch "their" shows while us parents watch "ours." (Read: Can't. Take. The. Wiggles. Any. More.)
What do you think? Do you let your kids have TVs in their bedroom, and if so, what age do you think it's appropriate?