Beginning as far back as March 2001, the Church has advised members not to locate their computers in a bedroom. William C. Porter, in the “I Have a Question” section of the Ensign and then again in April Conference suggested that “parents need to make online use a family, not a private, activity. Put the computer in a room that the whole family uses, not in a child’s bedroom.” Right now our computers are located (1) in the kitchen alcove, and (2) in the parents’ bedroom (which is actually more of a public area than our living room!) We have found it interesting to make computer use a family activity. One evening we were all lying on the couch when my third daughter was IM’ing a friend. This Aaronic priesthood holder was making some suggestive comments to the laughter of our entire family. Little did he know that DD’s parents and sisters were reading every word he wrote. I have allowed my children to participate in myspace and facebook, as long as they add me to their site. I’ve never censored them, but they know that I can read the things that they and their friends say to each other.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents remove television sets from their children’s bedrooms. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found that
“…older adolescents who have a bedroom television are less likely to engage in healthy activities such as exercising, eating fruits or vegetables, and enjoying family meals. They also consumed larger quantities of sweetened beverages and fast food, were categorized as heavy TV watchers, and read or studied less than teens without TVs in their bedrooms.”
I am very opposed to TV in bedrooms, but then again, I am also opposed to food in bedrooms! Back when I turned 16, my parents allowed me to put a stereo in my bedroom. With the addition of this form of media, I spent much more time indoors, alone in my room listening to music, and less time exercising, studying, or socializing.
Do any of the bedrooms in your home contain computers, TVs, DVD players, or other forms of media players? Have you noticed any positive or negative effects from this situation? How do you make computer and TV viewing family activities?