Watch TV Along with Your Child

Take charge of what your child watches on the television by joining her.

Childproofing

The same concerns about violence in children's TV programs also apply, of course, to many children's video games. So if you have introduced your child to the wonders of Nintendo, be sure to prescreen all games that to make sure that you approve of their action.

Limiting the amount of time your toddler (or preschooler) spends watching TV is important. But just as important, and perhaps even more important, is placing limits on what your child can watch. There's a significant difference between Sesame Street and Road Rovers, between Barney & Friends and The Flintstones, between Little Bear and the Big Bad BeetleBorgs. But your child doesn't know what's junk and what's not. You do. Yet surprisingly, nearly six out of seven parents (of children aged three to eight) do not help their children select the programs they watch on TV.

If you don't watch out for what your child watches, you leave your child prey to such shows as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Saturday morning TV programs. In addition to offering virtually no educational value, these shows average about two dozen acts of violence per hour. What's even worse, most of this violence has virtually no consequences. After all, how many times can Wile E. Coyote ("Super Genius") be blown up or crushed by an anvil and still bounce back?

But there's really no reason for you to let this happen. You can get the idea of what any series is like by watching two or three episodes. You can prescreen videos—and you can even prescreen TV shows by taping them and reviewing them before letting your child watch them. But you can't properly monitor children's TV programs unless you at least occasionally watch the same TV shows or videos that your toddler watches.

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