A Television-Free Home: Is It for You?

(From God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child by Dr. Walt Larimore. All rights reserved)

For a variety of healthy reasons, more and more families have chosen to pull the plug on television. They may do it to promote family closeness, to better control what their children are exposed to, or to stimulate their children’s dreams and creativity. You may be amazed by the positive changes in television-free homes documented by professor Barbara Brock of Eastern Washington University.

Television-free families showed a high degree of relational health. They were more likely to participate in sit-down dinners, family activities, hobbies, games, chores, pet care, walking, music, gardening, going to movies, sleeping, sports, community service, housecleaning, outdoor activities, and writing.

Parents in television-free homes had about an hour of meaningful conversation every day with their children (compared to the national average of between five and six minutes a day).

Nearly 70 percent of parents felt their children were getting along better with no television. More than 80 percent of parents in one study believed the lack of television was responsible for improved academic work. More than half of the children in Brock’s study received mostly or all A’s in school.

Television-free children have a longer attention span. As children read more, their grades improve. Children in television-free homes were more active physically than other children their age.

One-fourth of the children studied were physically active thirteen or more hours per week, which paid off in improved physical health. Only 7 percent of television-free children were ten or more pounds overweight, and fewer than two in one hundred had an eating disorder.

It’s also interesting that the computer and Internet did not take over television’s role in most homes. Although 98 percent of television-free families own a computer, many television-free children actually report being bored with computer or video games.

Contrary to what one might think, children in television-free homes aren’t missing out on anything; in fact, as Barbara Brock observes, the vast majority of responses indicate that TV watching families are the ones missing out—missing out, in fact, on life.

You can read more about this in my book, God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child. You can order it here.

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