What the Industry Has Done

In response to the complaints of many parents about the quality of programming available to children these days, the television industry has taken a few measures to help parents control what their child watches.

First, any television that is 13" or bigger and is made after 2000 has a v-chip in it. This device allows parent to block certain programs or channels so that their children cannot access shows that they find inappropriate for younger viewers.

Secondly, a television rating system has been established. This system is similar to the ones used for films. During the first 15 seconds of a program, the rating will be displayed on the screen. Your television listings may also post the ratings. However, this rating system is not mandatory. Therefore, not all programs or channels will have this information.

Television shows that have a TVG or TVY rating will most likely be suitable for your children. A TVG rating means that the program is suited to a general audience and has little to no violence or sexual content and no strong language is used. A TVY rating indicates that the show is geared toward young viewers, aged two to six, and does not contain anything offensive or intended to scare viewers.

So, What is Okay?
Television does not have be a negative factor in your child's life. However, parents need to take an active role in their child's viewing. It is important to minimize the amount of television they view and to encourage them to pursue other indoor and outdoor activities.

You should also remember that not all television programs are harmful for children. Some have been designed to be as educational and entertaining as possible. Many shows have lots of music to encourage children to move around and dance. If you would like your children to watch some television, here are some shows that other parents have recommended.

Parent Recommended Shows
Hi-5: This program is designed for infants to early elementary-aged children. It teaches about language, problem solving skills, and spatial concepts and encourages children to use their imagination. The musical skit format it incorporates helps keep children entertained and even encourages them to get up and dance.

Rolie Polie Olie: This show looks to teach children about morals and values like sharing, respect, and telling the truth. It follows the life of a little boy and his family and friends. It has lots of colors and movement to entertain everyone from infants to pre-schoolers.

The Wiggles: This program is a big hit both in its native country of Australia and around the world. Four men, three of which are preschool teachers, created the show. They sing fun, simple songs to get children dancing while learning about things like counting. This show is aimed at toddlers.

Bear in the Big Blue House: Here's a program that is loved by both children and parents. This show is geared towards toddlers and pre-schoolers and teaches them about values like sharing and not judging others by their appearance. The Christmas special even dealt with the important issue of homelessness and the value of helping others.

Of course, there are also always the classics like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

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