Parents vs. TV: Who has more control over the kids?

A common theme that showed up within blogs from my blogroll and elsewhere was the subject of how the media is portraying very nasty, negative images to chilren. Parents and religious leaders have gathered concerns about how the behaviors of characters in TV shows and movies will negatively influence their own children’s thoughts and behaviors. I do agree that there’s a lot of things on TV and in movies that are totally worthless as far a quality goes (Jersey Shore, American Dad, Toddlers and Tiaras, the list goes on and on). But I think parents should start focusing more on being positive role models for their children instead of just worrying about some TV character being a negative one. I’d consider myself to be a morally straight, level-headed, realistic 21-year-old. I owe this to my parents, who led by example in teaching me and my siblings to live positively and avoid making poor or immoral choices. But they did not inhibit what my siblings or I chose to watch. Sure, they’d refer to some of our preferred TV shows as “garbage”, but wouldn’t ban us from watching them. Through my parents’ responsible and ethical actions, my siblings and I were able to determine the difference between the immoral ways some TV and movie characters acted and what appropriate behavior is for a real human being.

Now, although I see no issues with the content of TV, I do think it’s important that the amount of time spent watching TV is limited. The real problems children face are not because of what they watch, but how much they watch. Spending too much time in front of the TV can lead to lower grades in school and lack of exercise (which leads to being overweight, or obese). This problem can be fixed by simply limiting the amount of time children are allowed to watch TV. For example, you can let them pick one program a night, instead of letting them watch mindless TV for hours.  Or make them play outside for an hour, then letting them watch TV for a bit of relaxation. You can also keep the TV off during meals and study time.

I think it’s good for kids to experience some negative things through the TV, while they are still at home, where they can ask Mom and Dad questions about what’s happening. The last thing you want is a naive child, teenager, or young adult caught in an uncomfortable, immoral, or unethical situation and not having a clue as to how to handle it and in a moment of panick making a poor choice because they really had no idea what they were dealing with.


About Sarah Cordonier

I am a junior Television Journalism and International Studies Major at West Virginia University. I am currently taking Beginning Television Reporting and I plan on taking Advanced Television Reporting in the Spring, as a member of WVU News. Someday I would like to work abroad, as an overseas reporter.
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