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Be careful not to pick television shows based solely on TV ratings system. A recent study has shown inconsistency in ratings that television networks place on their shows. Some do not use additional content descriptors (D, S, L and V) in their ratings at all. What this means is that you may be watching a show rated TV-G and then you hear some foul language. If rating had indicated this with “L” description, at least you would have been prepared for it.
So what’s best way to ensure that your kids are watching shows that meet your standards? Well, parents, we are going to have to take some time and actually pay attention to what is on stations your kids are watching! Yes, that means actually sitting down and enduring an episode or two of an animated sponge or latest teeny bopper life story.
You can also talk to other friends and family about what their kids watch and why. Ask parents if they have watched shows their children watch. You will be surprised at how many parents really don’t pay that much attention to content of their children’s viewing choices. They have attitude that if it is on XYZ Children’s Network, then it must be fine. Even within children’s networks, shows are geared towards a specific audience. Do you really want your 6 year old to watch a show that is a teen version of a soap opera?
Then – don’t skip this one - talk with your kids about shows they are watching. Discuss content and if it is a show you are not going to permit them to watch, explain your reasons. You do not have to defend your choice, you are parent after all, but just let them know why it is inappropriate.
Limit amount of television your children watch each day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents limit a child's use of TV, movies, and video and computer games to no more than 1 or 2 hours per day. This will also encourage them to make different choices about their television activities. Do they really want to watch this rerun for 15th time or would they rather wait and watch something new?
Take time to teach your children how to make better choices with their electronic entertainment. It’s a skill that they will carry with them past next Saturday morning.
Lisa Workman is author of Tokens for TV: A Sensible Approach to Balancing Television, Video Game and Computer Activities. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.tvtokens.com.
Lisa Workman has provided editing and business services for over 26 years. She has experience in the fields of education, computer software training, health care, marketing, and public relations. In addition to her editing and virtual assistant services, she currently teaches computer skills at a local elementary school.