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The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 22, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 22, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Reading The Elephant in the Living Roomis like having two smart, sensitive, reasonable experts in your living room as you think about the role of TV in your kids’ lives. This is the only book you’ll need to help you parent through the ever-growing maze of television options.” -- Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls



“This book is an excellent guide for parents who want to understand the effects of TV and DVD viewing on their children. I highly recommend it.” - Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Judge Baker Children’s Center, Boston MA“In an ever expanding television universe we think we understand what television is, but do we know what is does? Drs Christakis and Zimmerman illuminate the contentious issue of how television’s messages can be a potentially positive or significantly negative influence in your child’s life. How television makes that happen and what parents can do are cleared described. This is a must read for any parent, grandparent or other caregiver raising a media-exposed and often exploited child.” -- Donald Shifrin, MD, FAAP, Chairman of Committee on Communications, American Academy of Pediatrics



“This is the book about television that thoughtful parents have been waiting for. Instead of arguing with your friends and neighbors about how much children should or should not watch television---everyone one has an opinion on that subject!---read this book. It is all in here. When you have finished The Elephant in the Living Roomyou will make wiser decisions for your child. You will know what you need to know about the impact of television on violent behavior, sexual behavior, the spending habits of children, and obesity. Drs. Christakis and Zimmerman have done a superb job of synthesizing and explaining what scientists know about the impact of television on children in this fascinating, readable book.”
- Michael Thompson, PhD, co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys



“Television has a huge impact on every child and family in this country. This should be required reading for every parent and teacher who’s concerned about the topic.” - James P. Steyer, founder and CEO, Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org)







“Christakis and Zimmerman have an important message for all parents. They have produced a book that balances science and good sense and spiced it with humor and wisdom. Today’s concerned parents want to tame the elephant in the living room. The authors deliver sound advice born from years of scientific research and from their own experience as parents. This is a book that will make a difference to parents, policymakers, and child educators. Finally, a book that can help today’s overwhelmed parents cut through the hype. It is the best book about television and children on the market.” - Andrew N. Meltzoff, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, and co-author, The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us about the Mind



“This is an important book which will help parents understand and redefine the role of television in their children’s lives. Christakis and Zimmerman have done a masterful job of making their research accessible to those who want the best for their children.” - Michael Rich, MD, MPH, Director, Center on Media and Child Health, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School



“This wonderful, highly readable book translates the very latest scientific research on a wide array of important issues into easily understandable terms. It clearly explains the effects of TV on kids, and provides well-designed techniques for parents to promote their children’s healthy psychological development. Anyone who cares about kids should read The Elephant in the Living Room.” - Joanne Cantor, Professor Emerita, Director, Center for Communication Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Mommy, I’m Scared and Teddy’s TV Troubles.



“This is a skillful summary of current research on the effects of television on children and adolescents. It should be a must-read for all parents, whether expecting or in the middle of coping with the electronic world in which their children are living. Rather than simply bashing television for all the harm it can do, the book rightly assumes that the more important question now is how to make television work for us rather than against us? Blending anecdote with scientific studies in a highly readable way, the authors make a compelling case that parents can help their children be more “mindful viewers” so the good effects will outweigh the bad. We’ve needed a book like this. I look forward to recommending it to the many parents I talk with who are concerned about the increasingly powerful role of television and other media in their children’s lives.” - Jane D. Brown, Ph.D., James L. Knight Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill



“A must for every parent’s library. In an easy, conversational manner, packed with solid information and good advice, Christakis and Zimmerman help us understand the urgent need to take control of TV’s impact on our children and ourselves--and they provide us with the tools to do it.” -Susan Linn, Ed.D., Associate Director of the Media Center of Judge Baker Children’s Center and Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School



“Drs. Christakis and Zimmerman’s The Elephant in the Living Roomis easy to read and contains information that every parent and grandparent must have, but doesn’t. As parents, we cannot make intelligent decisions about our children’s physical and mental wellbeing unless we have the facts -- and finally, here they are! I have been waiting for this book for a long time.” - Robert Kesten, Executive Director, TV-Turnoff Network



“Television has a huge impact on every child and family in this country. This should be required reading for every parent and teacher who’s concerned about the topic.” -- James P. Steyer, founder and CEO, Common Sense Media

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

DIMITRI A. CHRISTAKIS, MD, MPH, is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The author of more than 80 research publications and one pediatric textbook, he teaches pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Seattle.

FREDERICK J. ZIMMERMAN, PhD, is an economist, child development expert, and assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health. He has authored more than 30 articles on issues relating to the well-being of children. Together, Dr. Christakis and Dr. Zimmerman codirect UW's Child Health Institute.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594862761
  • ASIN: B0015DCQTO
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,187,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Broestler on January 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up already convinced that t.v. is basically the worst thing that ever happened to society, so I was skeptical to say the least. However, as the authors state, their intent is to admit that t.v. is here to stay, and for the overwhelming majority, getting totally rid of it would not be an option, and offer guidance in how to make watching it as beneficial as possible.

What this amounts to, it seems, is telling readers that your children under 7 are basically confined to 'Sesame Street', 'Mister Rodger's Neighborhood', 'Blues Clues', and nature shows on Discovery channel. I found their assessment of Sesame Street a little over the top in their praise of its supposed benefits, though later on in the book they admit that merchandising has begun to compromise the integrity of the show and its imitators. The fact is, there are a number of major studies that have directly challenged the ability of shows like Sesame Street to produce real-life results in reading and mathematics, and much of the research the authors cite as supportive of the show was done or funded by the creators of the show themselves, a definite conflict of interest when funding is on the line.

The research on content in terms of sexuality, violence, and materialism that is dealt with is pretty accurate. My biggest disappointment was that the authors failed to spend any real time dealing with the long term effects of visual media on learning ability at the neurological level, a subject that in and of itself makes one quite wary of significant exposure to television. There was maybe a paragraph or two, but that's all.

Overall, the impression I got was that the authors have an underlying uneasiness with the whole idea of t.v.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a "must-read" for every parent. As the parent of a toddler, I was wondering when I could introduce my child to "Sesame Street" and whether there is truly any value in such programs. This book answered those questions and so many more. In a clear, highly entertaining, and non-judgmental way, the authors skillfully weave together research findings about the effect of television on children (birth through adolescence) into a highly readable book. Various putative effects of television are discussed: obesity, lowered attention span, propensity toward drinking, smoking, and violent behavior. Instead of lecturing parents about what they must do, the book serves as a guide, informing parents of what the research tells us (much of it surprising) and encouraging them to weigh the information and decide what is best for their own children. I particularly appreciated the sensitivity toward gender issues and the information about how television might affect girls differently than boys. Normally I read at least two books about a subject I want to learn about. This is book is so good, I feel like I've gotten all the information I need.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to offer great practical advice for parents around letting your kids watch TV. It was especially enlightening to read about how TV can impact sleep patterns. I also loved the tips at the end of each chapter. I would recommend this book to any parent with young kids.
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Format: Hardcover
As a pediatrician, I have waited a long time for a resource like The Elephant in the Living Room. It is clearly written, full of balanced and wise advice and invaluable to professionals who care for children and parents, alike. I appreciate the fresh approach to this important topic without preaching or overwhelming the reader with judgment.
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By NSW on September 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
At last, a book that helps involved parents make informed and thoughtful decisions about the ubiquitous TV. It's hard to believe that it's taken so long for this type of book to be written, but what a reflief that it finally has. As the father of a lively 6 year old boy, I've yet to come across a book related to parenting that is so readable while being interesting, relevant to day-to-day life, and genuinely useful. It's changed the way I think about TV, and I suspect it will actually improve that life of our family over the long haul (no small claim).
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Format: Hardcover
TV has been around for over 50 years and has become for most, an unquestioned or unexamined part of life. It just IS. Is what? Good for you? Bad for you? How do we know? We should be critically examining many facets of our culture. But how? Pediatrician and scientist Christakis and Zimmerman give us ways to decide by presenting reasoned opinion backed up by studies in a very accessible way. The concepts are mostly intuitive but not easy for many of us to act upon to benefit our children. Much of what kids watch on TV isn't good for them, nor for society. They give good guidelines for how to use the beast. Ignore this book at your grandchildren's peril.
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