A new school year is just around the corner and parents are loading up on pens, notebooks and binders. While kids are getting their textbooks for a new school year, now is the time parents can be doing a little research as well.

According to the TV Parental Guideline Ratings System more than one-third of parents use either a V-Chip or cable/satellite-provided parental controls and TV Watch studies indicate 83 percent of parents are satisfied with the effectiveness of the V-Chip and other blocking tools. TV Watch has created an easy guide to help parents understand the basic tools and information, and takes parents through the simple process of activating parental controls.  “Television Tools for Parents 101″ can be viewed online or downloaded and printed to keep handy next to the TV.

With another TV season around the corner, and children a year older – some of whom have learned to use the remote – now might be the time for parents to examine their rules based on a child’s age and the family’s tastes and values.  It is a perfect time to learn more about new programming, set new rules and review the tools available to enforce those rules

Here are some other helpful tips to review as the new school year starts:

  • Review the Ratings: The TV Parental Guideline Ratings System was modeled after movie ratings to give parents easy-to-follow warnings regarding the content and age-appropriateness of TV programs. The ratings can be found here.  Last summer, seven broadcast networks announced their commitment to making content ratings for their shows available on websites they control.  According to the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, 68 percent of parents say they use the TV ratings system and 88 percent of parents are aware that the TV ratings system provides guidance based on the age of the child.  Ninety-five percent of parents who use the ratings most often find them helpful.
  • Spread the Word: TV Watch makes it easier than ever to spread the word to other parents about how they, too, can utilize these tools to take control in their own homes.  While 73 percent of parents monitor what their children watch on TV, many might have concerns when it comes time for an afternoon or overnight visit at a friend’s house. Consider using this Parent-To-Parent Information card to easily inform other parents about your own tastes and values.  Recommend “Television Tools for Parents 101” to other parents so they understand the ratings and, if they choose, how to set their parental controls, or print this Remote PATROL poster to distribute at church or school group gatherings.  TV Watch also offers Spanish-language resources, which can be found here.
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What’s Your Threshold?

by TV Watch on May 20, 2014

Columnist and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, Frances Perkins, brings to parents attention the following:

“The bottom line is that every family will have different thresholds for ratings and what’s considered appropriate… it’s about guiding their viewing just as we guide our kids in other aspects of life. The ratings give us information to aid in that guidance, regardless of which rating is right for your home.”

It is important to not only know the ratings but also what each rating means. Our tutorial here is a quick and easy way to review the content ratings. Each television program is also given a letter to designate whether or not this program is suitable for those of young ages. Below is a key to the letters used by the television industry in the TV Ratings System:

  • D for suggestive dialogue
  • L for coarse or crude language
  • S for sexual situations
  • V for violence

In addition, whenever dropping your children off for a play date at a friend’s home, are you relaying to the other parent what TV content is appropriate for your child based on our own tastes, values and the children’s age.

Television Watch encourages parents to use the Parent-To-Parent Information card that allows for them to easily share this information with the supervising parents. This information card is extremely helpful in situations where parents are unable to speak directly, as parents can send their children to their play dates with it. Here is the link so that you can print out your own information card.

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Spring into Action!

April 15, 2014

Spring is in full bloom! Now is the time of year to clear away the winter clutter and do the spring-cleaning—and we don’t simply mean your basic housekeeping. TV Watch wants to encourage parents to spring into action by taking control of children’s TV viewing. Here are a few tips to help parents spring clean […]

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Snowing? Doesn’t Mean the TV Should Take Over

March 3, 2014

Parenting columnist John Rosemond pointed out over the weekend, “Parents can use television as a tool in teaching children about various aspects of life. The key is that they exercise control of what is watched and how much time their children spend in front of the TV.”  Rosemond lays out a few tips that could […]

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