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The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids

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The nation's top child development experts examine the effects of television on children and their groundbreaking research will startle many Television is the "elephant in the living room" of our culture. American children watch television an average of 3 hours per day, and many parents sheepishly concede that they rely on television as an electronic babysitter. But TV is n The nation's top child development experts examine the effects of television on children and their groundbreaking research will startle many Television is the "elephant in the living room" of our culture. American children watch television an average of 3 hours per day, and many parents sheepishly concede that they rely on television as an electronic babysitter. But TV is not necessarily harmful to kids. The authors present groundbreaking scientific evidence that television can be a powerful and effective tool--for entertainment, for education, and for socialization. The secret is for parents to learn how to use television as a tool, not a crutch. With a detailed explanation of the effects of television viewing on kids' emotional, mental, and physical development, plus tips to enable parents to act on this new knowledge, they'll soon be able to turn TV into a positive force in their child's life. The authors share: - which popular shows increase your child's reading ability--and which may delay speech development - which televised sports boost girls' self-image--and which ones could cause eating disorders - the best and worst programming for every age, from toddler to teen


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The nation's top child development experts examine the effects of television on children and their groundbreaking research will startle many Television is the "elephant in the living room" of our culture. American children watch television an average of 3 hours per day, and many parents sheepishly concede that they rely on television as an electronic babysitter. But TV is n The nation's top child development experts examine the effects of television on children and their groundbreaking research will startle many Television is the "elephant in the living room" of our culture. American children watch television an average of 3 hours per day, and many parents sheepishly concede that they rely on television as an electronic babysitter. But TV is not necessarily harmful to kids. The authors present groundbreaking scientific evidence that television can be a powerful and effective tool--for entertainment, for education, and for socialization. The secret is for parents to learn how to use television as a tool, not a crutch. With a detailed explanation of the effects of television viewing on kids' emotional, mental, and physical development, plus tips to enable parents to act on this new knowledge, they'll soon be able to turn TV into a positive force in their child's life. The authors share: - which popular shows increase your child's reading ability--and which may delay speech development - which televised sports boost girls' self-image--and which ones could cause eating disorders - the best and worst programming for every age, from toddler to teen

30 review for The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karen Leonard

    Really good book about how to raise kids in a world with TV.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    像是教養大震撼一書的前身,探討看電視對幼兒及青少年的影響,包括專注力、睡眠、學習、性格等,以及如何弱化其負面效果及強化正面效果,算是很不錯的書!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lacey Louwagie

    Although this book made me feel guilty for allowing my son a regular diet of TV from the age of 10-ish months on (how else am I going to get a shower!?!? PLEASE TELL ME MR. CHRISTAKIS!), it also provided a TON of good food for thought about the role that TV plays in family life, both in terms of its potential for good and its harmful effects. I appreciated the focus on actual data rather than opinions. The "screentime" landscape has changed a lot since 2005, though, and I would love an updated v Although this book made me feel guilty for allowing my son a regular diet of TV from the age of 10-ish months on (how else am I going to get a shower!?!? PLEASE TELL ME MR. CHRISTAKIS!), it also provided a TON of good food for thought about the role that TV plays in family life, both in terms of its potential for good and its harmful effects. I appreciated the focus on actual data rather than opinions. The "screentime" landscape has changed a lot since 2005, though, and I would love an updated version of the book or a companion website that could update some of its principles for a rapidly changing entertainment environment. For example, there are whole chapters devoted to the harmful effects of commercials, yet streaming allows LOTS of TV viewing without the obligatory advertisements. It also allows for far more intentional viewing, something the book advocates for a lot. So overall I think the media landscape has improved for kids, but it would still be nice to have some guidance in the new world. The appendix of educational shows for kids, for example, was probably outdated as soon as the book was published. COME ON, BUILD A WEBSITE! I guess it's off to Commonsense Media.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Lord

    Pediatrician and epidemiologist Christakis and economist and child development expert Zimmerman, both parents, codirect the University of Washington's Child Health Institute. Here, they analyze television's impact on children in areas such as attention span, educational attainment, social behavior, sleep, and body image. They encourage parents to rethink, restructure, and reduce viewing in order to lessen television's negative effects. Few shows, save those like Sesame Street, have any education Pediatrician and epidemiologist Christakis and economist and child development expert Zimmerman, both parents, codirect the University of Washington's Child Health Institute. Here, they analyze television's impact on children in areas such as attention span, educational attainment, social behavior, sleep, and body image. They encourage parents to rethink, restructure, and reduce viewing in order to lessen television's negative effects. Few shows, save those like Sesame Street, have any educational benefit; indeed, most programming is demonstrably useless or harmful, especially for children under three. However, because TV is inescapable, the authors propose "mindful viewing," wherein parents interactively watch alongside kids (the authors cogently note that how children watch is just as important as what or how much they watch). Akin to Marie Winn's The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life, this is a noble work that effectively references academic studies. Parents will find end-of-chapter wrap-ups especially useful. Recommended. Find reviews of books for men at Books for Dudes, Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal. Copyright Library Journal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janie

    I like the book's mantra: "the unexamined TV is not worth watching". Couple of notes: * emphasis on that you should watch with your child(ren) when they watch (see the study that showed children were more attentive to the show w/parent in room), so you can know what happened and talk with them about it * can't expect them to want to talk about TV if they never see you doing it with the shows you watch * cool to see Dr. Kuhl's bilingual media study mentioned in there (esp. since I'm in her Lang and I like the book's mantra: "the unexamined TV is not worth watching". Couple of notes: * emphasis on that you should watch with your child(ren) when they watch (see the study that showed children were more attentive to the show w/parent in room), so you can know what happened and talk with them about it * can't expect them to want to talk about TV if they never see you doing it with the shows you watch * cool to see Dr. Kuhl's bilingual media study mentioned in there (esp. since I'm in her Lang and the Brain course) I had hoped to see a couple of things: * more of a discussion about how adults can monitor their own viewing (I think they establish that adult attitudes matter more than parents would expect but don't develop it) * a bigger emphasis to help the reader realize that *I* (the reader) am likely to have biases and misconceptions about my own habits as another * how the computer is used as the TV However, after thinking about it * I think that how the computer is used as the TV is begging to be studied, but it probably was beyond the scope of this book--it would have complicated it beyond bearing. * perhaps the book itself isn't the place to get someone to realize they're as likely to be biased as someone else--might have made it seem too pedantic * I maintain more adult monitoring discussion might have added something valuable.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This is a very interesting guide to monitoring TV viewing for your children, from their infancy to teenage years. As a mother of a toddler, I was primarily interested in the areas that focused on the preschool years. It had a lot of useful information on what to look for in good educational TV as well as guidelines for how much is too much. The authors cite a number of interesting studies relating TV viewing to attention deficit, sleep, and weight disorders. There are also references to a number This is a very interesting guide to monitoring TV viewing for your children, from their infancy to teenage years. As a mother of a toddler, I was primarily interested in the areas that focused on the preschool years. It had a lot of useful information on what to look for in good educational TV as well as guidelines for how much is too much. The authors cite a number of interesting studies relating TV viewing to attention deficit, sleep, and weight disorders. There are also references to a number of studies regarding the positive effects of educational TV viewing for preschoolers beginning with age 2. What I found most useful about the book was its guidance in understanding what to look for in educational programing and tips for making TV a more engaging experience for children, including how to watch with your children to help them get more out of the programs.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lenita

    This book teaches about the effects of television in your home. It is super comprehensive and discusses how tv affects everything from sleep, early sex, violence, literacy development, ADD, prosocial behaviors, obesity, body image, drugs and alcohol, spending habits, and more. I agreed with almost everything and I now feel that I can more effectively bring the television into my home so that it can be used as a tool for good purposes rather than what I was afraid of it doing: bringing filth and This book teaches about the effects of television in your home. It is super comprehensive and discusses how tv affects everything from sleep, early sex, violence, literacy development, ADD, prosocial behaviors, obesity, body image, drugs and alcohol, spending habits, and more. I agreed with almost everything and I now feel that I can more effectively bring the television into my home so that it can be used as a tool for good purposes rather than what I was afraid of it doing: bringing filth and bad examples into the minds of my children.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This book is really interesting so far. I highly recommend it if you are currently a parent or are planning to become one some day. The book does not glorify or demonize TV but lays out the research being done on the affects of TV on children from age 0-18. Although I haven't finished reading it yet, it also has a chapter dedicated to a step-by-step approach to "using" TV to educate and engage your kids. This book is really interesting so far. I highly recommend it if you are currently a parent or are planning to become one some day. The book does not glorify or demonize TV but lays out the research being done on the affects of TV on children from age 0-18. Although I haven't finished reading it yet, it also has a chapter dedicated to a step-by-step approach to "using" TV to educate and engage your kids.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Why did I not have this information four years ago when I became a parent?!! If you are a parent, you want to read this book! The book is readable and quick and very informative on a topic I thought I had already given enough thought. I was wrong, and I'm glad I now have this as a reference. Highly recommended. Why did I not have this information four years ago when I became a parent?!! If you are a parent, you want to read this book! The book is readable and quick and very informative on a topic I thought I had already given enough thought. I was wrong, and I'm glad I now have this as a reference. Highly recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gemma Alexander

    I got this book as swag for participating in a study on preschoolers' TV habits. It's an interesting and mostly compelling look at the way TV affects children, based mosly on the authors' own research. It is also notable for being the first book I managed to read cover to cover since Aranya was born. I got this book as swag for participating in a study on preschoolers' TV habits. It's an interesting and mostly compelling look at the way TV affects children, based mosly on the authors' own research. It is also notable for being the first book I managed to read cover to cover since Aranya was born.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dora

    I think this is a terrific resource for new parents. For most people, living with no tv isn't realistic. I found a number of helpful coping tools in here, plus research on why setting limits and boundaries is so important! I think this is a terrific resource for new parents. For most people, living with no tv isn't realistic. I found a number of helpful coping tools in here, plus research on why setting limits and boundaries is so important!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Good suggestions especially for younger children. I was familiar with a lot of the research cited in the book about why TV is bad, but it made some good suggestions as to how to make tv work for your kids.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Had some intersting theories about how television (DVDs, movies, etc.) can be helpful or harmful to your children. Nothing groundbreaking in the book, but it gave me some great methods and criteria for choosing appropriate media for my children.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

    Great book for parents. We spend more time on dinner choices than TV choices for our children. I now understand I can choose TV that is educational for my children; and I understand the need to limit time spent with the TV on.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mahdis

    People always ask me why we don't have a television- well this is my answer. This book is very helpful and provides you well researched documentation to help with media decisions in your home. People always ask me why we don't have a television- well this is my answer. This book is very helpful and provides you well researched documentation to help with media decisions in your home.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    How to either not watch TV, or watch it wisely. We mostly choose not to.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Great advice - while it does cover the ways that television are bad for children, it also has some constructive advice on how to use television in a positive way

  18. 5 out of 5

    E.J.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jarod Pharis

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Nilsen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Launi

  23. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Xuan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

  29. 5 out of 5

    Yinzadi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Quinn

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