Parents are in a much more powerful position than they realize.
A new study of over 1300 3rd to 5th graders found that parental monitoring of children’s media has ripple effects that extend across several different areas of children’s lives out into the future.
For this study, my colleagues and I talked to children, their parents, their teachers, and even their school nurses, once at the beginning and once at the end of a school year. e asked parents whether they set limits on the <em>amount</em> of screen time their children were allowed to have each day, and also on the <em>content</em> of media their children were allowed access to. As one might expect, setting limits on the amount and content of children’s media is generally effective at reducing time on TV and video games and at reducing violent media exposure.
However, seven months later we got a huge surprise. Children whose parents set more limits on the amount and content of media were now getting more sleep, had gained less weight (lowering their risk of obesity), were getting better grades in school, exhibited more helpful and cooperative social behaviors in school, and were less aggressive with their peers (as seen by the classroom teachers).