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The parental command, "go to your room," has taken on new meaning. It no longer signifies banishment to the social equivalent of a gulag, where a child is cut off from friends and different media options. At least 61 percent of children now have a TV in their bedrooms, reports a study conducted by Knowledge Networks/SRI, a market research firm based in Menlo Park, Calif. The survey was based on interviews with 245 8- to 17-year-olds. Of those, 17 percent have their own PC in their bedrooms.

Both TV sets and video-game systems are more likely to be found in the bedrooms of kids from less affluent families. Sixty-three percent of children living in homes with annual incomes under $50,000 have a TV in their room, compared with 57 percent of those living in homes with household incomes of $50,000 or more per year.

Forty-six percent of children with a TV in their bedroom do at least half of their TV viewing in the privacy of those rooms. And kids who are allowed to keep a TV in their bedrooms tend to have less strict parents. Only half say parental rules govern their TV use, compared with 61 percent of kids who don't have their own sets. Whether they follow those rules is another question entirely.

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