Thursday, January 13, 2005

Control your TV

The television can be a great tool for education and entertainment, but you may not want to watch everything it has to offer. in addition, all television programming is not suitable for children. But how do you know which programs to avoid? There are several sites geared toward helping you make educated decisions about television viewing:

* Control Your TV is developed by the cable industry to help you make viewing decisions for your children.

* The National Cable and Telecommunications Association has prepared a report on "the industry's efforts to offer consumers choice, control and education."

* The TV Parental Guidelines site offers information on the TV ratings and the V-chip (which electronically reads television-programming ratings and allows parents to block programs they believe are unsuitable for their children.)

Most importantly, plan what your children can watch and stick to it. As I young child, my mother and I spent Sunday afternoons reviewing the newspaper's TV guide for the week. I'd let her know what I wanted to watch, and she'd circle what I was allowed to watch (usually no more than an hour a day). Amazingly enough, this actually worked. Being a kid, it was all I knew and I didn't know any better, so if a program wasn't circled I didn't watch it. I'd find something else to do, like read, play outside or call my grandmother.

So consider using these tools to regulate your or your child's viewing. Of course the best control is the on/off button. Use it liberally, and don't let the TV control you (or your children).


Steve said...

Television can be a useful tool with kids, as long as you monitor what they are watching and talk to them about what's on. You are right about the on/off button for sure.

Karama said...

Absolutely, Steve! I don't know where I would be without Seseme Street, The Electric Company and Schoolhouse Rock. Thanks for your comment.