When you consider Saturday morning cartoons, computer games, advertising, and movies, it can be worrisome to think about the media’s impact on children.
How can you set family standards for violence and other questionable content?
A resource called “Parenting in a TV Age,” published by the Center for Media and Values, answered some of these questions.
First, parents should take charge of children’s TV watching or computer-game use by setting limits on how much they will be allowed to watch or play. Typical limits include two hours a day, or 10 hours on a weekend.
Parents should also encourage daily alternatives, such as sports, games, hobbies, reading, chores, and playing with friends.
It’s also a good idea to get a locking device on your TV to bar access to certain cable channels and to consider similar filters for online sites.
Parents should decide ahead of time what “strings” to attach to viewing a popular show that may contain troublesome content. For example, children might be allowed to watch a certain program only if they agree to spend 15 minutes afterward discussing it with you.
Perhaps most important of all, parents sometimes forget their critical role as a model for their children. Be willing to set limits on your own viewing.
Model the media behavior you would like your children to follow.