It’s the beginning of summer and your kids will be playing outside, going to summer camp, swimming, and now that they have a break from schoolwork, watching TV. There will certainly be times when you are not around to monitor the content on the screen. TV Watch, a national group promoting parental controls, helps you take control of what your family watches. There are a variety of tools to help parents manage what their children see on TV, including the TV rating system, on-air advisories and warnings, the v-chip in your television and parental controls on cable and satellite. Here are some tips for parents on monitoring what your kids watch.
Here are some good ideas to help you monitor your kids. Set time limits on how much TV your kids are watching; two hours a day is a good amount. Be familiar with the ratings systems and parental controls that come with your TV, cable set, or satellite. Schedule family viewing times so that you can watch with your children and discuss the content with them, if necessary. Be consistent with your partner about what programs are appropriate for your kids. Use your DVR to record child-friendly content.
Don’t let your TV become the default entertainment or worse, the go-to babysitter. Make sure to persuade your kids with alternatives to watching TV, like reading or physical activity. Don’t assume that new programs on a normally kid-friendly channel will be appropriate for your kids. Try to watch one episode of a new show to make sure it is consistent with your values. Try to avoid putting a TV in your child’s room, but if you do, activate the parental controls to block out inappropriate content.
Understanding TV Ratings
TV-Y: This program is designated for children of all ages. TV-Y7: Directed children 7 years old and above. This program may contain themes and elements that include mild fantasy violence or comedic violence, or may frighten children under the age of 7. TV-G: Most parents would find this program suitable for kids of all ages. It contains little or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or situations. TV-PG: This program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. Many choose to watch it with their younger children. The program contains one or more of the following: moderate violence (V), some sexual situations (S), infrequent coarse language (L) or some suggestive dialogue (D). TV-PG 13 or TV 14: Parents are strongly cautioned against letting children under 13 or 14 to watch this program as it contains one or more of the following: intense violence, intense sexual situations, strong coarse language, or intensely suggestive dialogue. TV-MA: This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17. This program contains one or more of the following: graphic violence, explicit sexual activity, or crude indecent language.
About TV Watch
TV Watch is dedicated to using all communications available to educate parents about the existing tools to manage their children’s television consumption; and to give voice to the majority of Americans who believe responsibility – not more regulation – is the solution. Visit their website for more info: www.tvwatch.org (see link below).