According to recent studies, certain age groups of children can spend up to 32 hours a week in front of a television. If you're not setting rules or limits on your child's viewing habits, that's 32 hours of potentially inappropriate content your child could be exposed to. It's also time your child is spending NOT participating in other activities, such as educational games or outdoor fun. Here are some useful tips for how to effectively monitor your child's television time.
Set limits for your child. Let him know how much time he can watch TV each day, perhaps one hour. Let him know when he is young so he grows accustomed to this rule. As he grows older, he will be used to the idea and find other ways to occupy himself.
Watch television with your children. Make sure you know what kind of television shows your child is watching. You may be extremely busy with work and other obligations, but you must make some time each day to sit and watch TV with your child.
Talk to your child about TV. Ask him what his friends are watching. Explain why certain shows are not appropriate. Try to have an honest discussion.
Keep the television in the family room or living room. Do not allow your child to have a TV in his room. A TV in his room makes it more difficult to monitor usage.
Set the parental controls on your TV set. Most televisions made after 2000 have a V-chip in them to block out certain programs or channels. All programs come with a rating. Refer to your TV owner's manual for instructions on blocking particular shows.
Buy a TV timer. The child must enter a code each time he turns on the TV. This device lets the child use the TV for the amount of time you allow. This is a big help for parents who work and can't be there to monitor their children all the time.