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Don't be Afraid to "Crash" Your Teen's Room

Home makeovers, also popularly coined "crashing," are all the rage these days. Now there's a simple, absolutely FREE way parents can crash a teen's bedroom and get a healthier teen in the process. This quick and easy makeover method can lead your teen to: 

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Be more physically active 
  • Eat meals with the family more often 
  • Earn a higher GPA

Along with producing a healthier child, crashing your teen's room could create some needed space in a usually cluttered bedroom and help reduce your electric bill. 

What is this fantastic research-based, doctor-approved "teen bedroom crasher" tip? Remove the TV from your teen's bedroom!

According to research published in the April 2008 issue of Pediatrics magazine, teen girls with a TV in their bedroom not only watch more TV than their peers who don't have bedroom TVs - five hours more per week - but also spend less time being physically active, eat fewer vegetables, drink more sweetened beverages and eat fewer meals with their families.

The study found that teen boys with bedroom TVs fared no better. 

Compared to their "TV-deprived" peers, boys with bedroom TVs watch four more hours of TV per week, eat less fruit, eat fewer meals with their families and have lower GPAs.

Convinced to pull the plug yet? 

The study also found that 16% of teens with bedroom TVs watch more than five hours a day. Teenagers who watch this much TV might be "heavy" viewers in more ways than one, because other studies have shown a link between teens having bedroom TVs and being overweight. 

All of this research is backed up by the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics to not put TVs in children's bedrooms. 

For the parents of the 68% of 8- to 18-year-olds who already have a TV in their bedroom, here are some parenting tips to help you and your teen unplug:

Talk with your teen, not at him or her. Calmly explain why it would be good idea to remove the TV. Discuss the research mentioned earlier and explain that you want to take positive steps to help your child be healthy.

Help your teen find healthy entertainment alternatives. Be on the lookout for good media that can provide opportunities for you and your teen to laugh, cry, think, question, learn and appreciate. Enjoy them together as a family whenever possible. Encourage and model participation in various activities - outdoor recreation, music lessons, sports, reading, volunteering, drawing, painting and gardening. 

Be a good role model. Do you have a TV in your bedroom? Consider "crashing" your own room, as well. Bedroom TVs can have a negative impact on adults, too. Parents are certainly entitled to privileges their children might not have. But this may be one you want to rethink. Whether you remove your TV or limit your bedroom viewing, you could benefit from improved sleep, improved health and a better relationship with your child.

Kudos to you parents who've refused to put a TV in your child's room. Hold your ground. You now have several more good reasons to keep that TV out. And your child will be happier and healthier without it. 


D.J. Barr-Anderson, P. van den Berg, D. Neumark-Sztainer, & M. Story (2008). Characteristics associated with older adolescents who have a television in their bedrooms. Pediatrics , 121(4), 718-724.

A.M. Adachi-Meja, M.R. Longacre, J.J. Gibson, M.L. Beach, L.T. Titus-Ernstoff, & M.A. Dalton (2007). Children with a TV in their bedroom at higher risk for being overweight. International Journal of Obesity (Lond). , 31(4), 644-651.