Not all tube-watching is a big waste of time. In fact, research suggests that certain programmes may actually have health benefits for you and your family.
Take nature shows, for instance: In one new study from the University of Rochester in New York, people who watched nature scenes felt more energetic and charitable.
Previous studies have found that just looking at still images of nature can lower blood pressure and muscle tension, two markers of unhealthy stress.
But Animal Planet and National Geographic aren’t the only beneficial channels — turns out, network teen dramas may be a free sex-ed lesson for your daughter.
Young girls who watched an episode of The OC (remember that show?!) that featured a character dealing with an unintended pregnancy said they would be more likely to practice safe sex, a study from the University of California, Santa Barbara found.
“It makes them feel more vulnerable to pregnancy, and imagining that they are friends with the characters makes them more open to the message,” says study coauthor Robin Nabi.