According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), kids in the United States watch about 4 hours of TV a day. That’s a lot of opportunity to see sex and violence. Parents have the right and the responsibility to control their children’s TV viewing. The best way to do it is to teach children how to be responsible viewers.
Set a good example. Don’t be a couch potato. Chances are your kids will be too. If all you do is swig beer on the couch the whole day, get a job, you lousy bum! You’re setting a bad example for the future.
Keep TV out of your children’s bedroom. Avoid watching TV during meals and while the kids are doing their homework. Treat TV viewing as a privilege that kids need to earn by completing a chore or getting their school assignments done on time. It also helps to have a schedule – less TV time during schooldays and more on weekends.
Check the listings ahead of time and preview the programs before you let your kids watch them. Memorize the parental guidelines if you must.
Make time and watch TV with your kids. Encourage them to ask questions about what they are watching, and answer as completely and honestly as you can if they do. Point out the values and lessons that the program fosters.
Ask around. Other parents or even your kids’ teachers may have some shows to recommend. They may also have a few viewing tips of their own.
Encourage them to take up sports or dance lessons. Encourage them to read.
Engage in other fun activities other than TV viewing. Go out on healthy outdoor trips as a family. It can be as simple as having a picnic in the park or a swim in the community pool. The more fun time you spend with your kids, the less time they feel the need to escape in the world of television.