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

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 22nd 2006 by Rodale Books (first published 2006)
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Douglas Lord
Nov 14, 2015 Douglas Lord rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Karen Leonard
Aug 02, 2012 Karen Leonard rated it really liked it
Really good book about how to raise kids in a world with TV.
Mar 23, 2009 Janie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, pnw
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
Mar 24, 2008 Jen rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Mandy rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 29, 2009 Lenita rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any parent worried about how the media influences their children
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 ...more
Jan 04, 2009 Cynthia rated it really liked it
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.
Gemma Alexander
Jun 06, 2009 Gemma Alexander rated it liked it
Shelves: raising-kids
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.
May 22, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 02, 2008 Ingrid rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 28, 2007 Dora rated it really liked it
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!
Oct 12, 2012 Amber rated it liked it
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.
Jul 29, 2009 Mahdis rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Apr 08, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
I am going to have to invest in this book, since I didn't have time to finish it before it was due back to the library. Lots of helpful advice and insights!
Oct 08, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
How to either not watch TV, or watch it wisely. We mostly choose not to.
Sep 04, 2009 Victoria rated it really liked it
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
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Oct 17, 2015
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