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TV and Your Teen (page 2)

— State: Rhode Island Department of Education
Updated on Sep 30, 2009

Watch What Your Teen or Pre-Teen Watches on TV and Other Media

  • Know what they are watching. Pay attention to what is on the screen. Also, be aware of what your teen is watching when you are not around. Many teens and pre-teens report that they watch different shows when they are away from their parents. Talk to parents of your kid's friends, too; let them know your expectations about TV.
  • Watch TV with your kid.Watch at least one episode of their favorite programs. Make sure you think it is okay. Surf the Internet together or play their video games with them, as well.
  • Turn it off if it is inappropriate or offensive.Teach your children to do the same.
  • Set a computer block on inappropriate Internet sites.Set a block on sexually explicit sites and discuss which sites are permitted for your child to use.
  • Encourage kids to watch more positive programs.It may be easier to get your teen to watch something else, rather than limit how much they watch, at first. Use videos and DVDs to record or show high-quality, educational programs for them to watch.
  • Talk with your teen or pre-teen about what's on TV. When you watch a program together, talk about what themes it shows. Make links between the show and personal experiences, books, history, or places of interest. Use the show as a launching point to talk about difficult issues like racial stereotypes, gender stereotypes, violence, sexuality, or drugs. Don't be afraid to express your opinions and values.
  • Beware of advertising.Talk about TV ads particularly with your pre-teen. Help them understand what ads are trying to sell, how they do this, and how they can be misleading. Who is behind the ads? What methods are they using to "lure" kids?

Model Good TV Behavior

  • Limit your own TV watching. Try to watch less or watch more educational programs. Shows with more violent or sexual content should be viewed when your younger children are not around. Remember, your kids watch you and will copy what you do.
  • Don't make TV seem more valuable than it is. Avoid using TV as a reward or punishment (unless it is punishment specifically for breaking a rule about TV itself.)
  • If you or your kid snacks while watching TV, try eating healthier snacks. While sitting in front to the TV, many kids and adults eat unhealthy snacks. There are also many ads that make foods loaded with fat or sugar look good. Try to resist the temptation. Eat something good for you and your family like unsalted unbuttered popcorn, vegetables, or fruit.

More Resources:

National Institute on Media and the Family

School Accountability for Learning and Teaching (SALT)
Data on the amount of time Rhode Island students spend watching TV, on the computer, and playing video games.
1) Select the school, district, or entire state; 2) select a school year; 3) select "Student Reports"; 4) scroll down near the bottom of the page and select one of the "Computer Use and TV Viewing" options.

1 National Institute on Media and the Family. 2002. "Fact sheet: Children and television."
2 American Academy of Pediatrics. 2001. " Policy statement: Children, adolescents, and television." Pediatrics 107(2): 423-426.
3 National Institute on Media and the Family. "Fact sheet: Television and obesity among children."
4 Gortmaker, S. 2003. "Television and the obesity epidemic." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion teleconference. December 11, 2003.
5 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology. 2001. "Facts for Families #54: Children and Watching TV."
6 National Institute on Media and the Family. 2002. "Fact sheet: Television's effect on reading and academic achievement."
7 National Institute on Media and the Family. 2002. "Fact sheet: Media's effect on girls: Body image and gender identity."
8 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2003. "Researchers link cigarette smoking in adolescents with excessive television viewing." Research Activities, No. 269: 12-13.

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