Children and TV: How to Keep the Kids Safe

Are you a parent? Do you monitor what your children watch on TV? Are you even slightly aware of the content of those programs? It can be argued that excessive television view can have many results. It has been blamed for people becoming less aware of the plight of others. Other people claim that too much television creates a sense of paranoia. People begin to fear the world around them and thinking aggressive behavior it totally acceptable. Television programming isn’t the only cause of these issues, but when it is mixed with just the right personality, current life situation, or environment (just to name a few) that is when the red flags start popping up. These are effects found in adults, just imagine how it effects children.

Not all children who watch TV will show these side effects, but there is a real risk building in society today. What can we do to stop this phenomenon?

First, do not have the TV on all the time. I will be the first to say that I keep my television on for background noise. I don’t think it is the worst thing you can do. However, if the TV is on all the time, your child will think it is okay for TV to be a constant thing.

Another idea is to pick your TV time by programming. Instead of putting aside blacks of time as TV time, only have the set on when you know you have shows to watch. This helps you set limits for your children’s viewing habits. If you know exactly what your children are watching and at what times it is on, it is less likely they will run across an unapproved show. If an approved show isn’t on, the TV isn’t on. Open blocks of TV viewing leads to channel flipping and settling on shows that you may not really want your child to watch.

They best thing to do is promote media literacy. Talk to your children about the programming they watch. Make them actively think about what they see and hear. Explain to them that Television programming is fiction. Emphasize the differences between fantasy and reality. Tell them that plots are made up, the characters are acting, the incidents are made up and even the settings are fake. It is all make believe. Television is just one big pretend game. Sometimes things may look really real, but it still is fake. Tell your children that programs are created for one reason only: to make money. Tell them how advertising works and make them aware of the different tactics they see.

Use television as a critical thinking tool. Teach your children that television is formulaic. Show them how to find and identify patterns in the programming they watch. Show them how to deconstruct shows. While television is still entertainment, do not let it become some mindless activity.

Don’t let the TV become a baby sitter. Don’t let your children have free reign of the remote at all times. Don’t let your V-Chip do all the parenting. Be active in your what your children choose to watch. Make sure you have watched it yourself. Make sure it falls with in your pre set limits. Stop being appalled at what is on TV these days, and start protecting your child from it.

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