Getting the Most Out of Your TV Timer

Hello, I have a 15 year old who has ADHD, and we have two high tech TVs. She will watch TV for hours without moving. Do you know of any parental control programs that limit time on the television?

Linda, Boston


It certainly makes sense for parents to have rules about when and how much time kids spend watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the Internet. Screen time for the average American school age child now exceeds fifty hours a week and almost everyone agrees that’s too much. Technological tools have been developed to help parents do their job. There are a number of TV timers on the market and I have found a website which reviews the pros and cons of the most popular TV timers

Parental controls and a TV timer are great tools in our parenting toolbox. That said, they shouldn't replace our supervision and involvement. Here are my suggestions for family rules that complement tech tools for parents.

  1. Keep TV and computers out of kids’ bedrooms. We know from research screen time goes up as technology enters the bedroom.
  2. Turn all the screens off during meal times. It’s one of the few times families have together in our busy culture.
  3. Set and enforce family rules regarding when, how long and what kinds of media are allowed. 
  4. Encourage your children to get active and make their own media instead of sitting in front of the screen.
Good luck!
 Dr. Dave