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TV in the Bedroom Is Not a Teen's Best Friend
Date:4/7/2008

17.2 years.

The results mirrored past studies. Almost two-thirds of this group had a TV in their bedroom. Having a personal TV doubled the risk that a teen would regularly watch more than five hours of TV daily, compared to teens without a television in the bedroom.

Teenage girls who had a bedroom TV watched an average of 20.7 hours each week, about 5 hours more than female teens without a bedroom TV (15.2 hours). For boys with TVs, 22.2 hours were spent in front of the tube, compared to 18.2 hours for boys without personal TVs.

Both girls and boys with bedroom TVs attended fewer family dinners -- about one less per week -- than kids without their own sets. Girls with TVs ate slightly fewer vegetables each day, while boys with TVs consumed less fruit.

Girls with TVs in their bedrooms participated in less physical activity, and boys with bedroom TVs had lower grade point averages.

"For most kids, a TV in the bedroom is not a healthy thing," said Anita Gurian, clinical assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the New York University Child Study Center in New York City. "It's not bad for all kids; there are those who use it constructively, and there is a lot of good stuff on TV, but it definitely has its downside," she said.

"Parents should know that research has shown TV's deleterious effects on grades, eating habits, in attraction to violence, and most importantly, in social relationships," added Gurian. "If teens are in their bedrooms, watching TV for three hours a day, they don't have time to develop relationships or to do homework," she said.

Barr-Anderson said she suspects it's not always an intentional plan to give the child a TV. Instead, it's usually because the family has upgraded to a larger TV, and now has a spare set. She recommended that parents resist the pressure they'll likely feel to put the extra TV in their teen's bedroom. "You may experience a backlash
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