TV's Influence on Children- 4

Do you give consent by remaining silent? Many parents react with silence when a television program is misleading to our children.  Unfortunately, this gives a child the impression that what they are seeing on a TV program is accurate or correct information, when it isn't.

Think about all of the programs on television today and how the information presented in them might be confusing or downright distorted to a child.  Even many of the cartoons on television today can be misleading and inappropriate for children to watch.

By keeping silent, a parent is not able to help challenge a child's perception of what they are seeing and the silence ends up telling a child that what they are viewing is "okay".  Speaking up is important to do, in order to help a child develop a sense of what is right and wrong.

It's important for parents to become familiar with what the contents of a TV program are.  Know what your child is watching.  This way, a parent is able to choose a program that is in the child's best interests.

Watch appropriate TV shows together as a family.  This helps to reinforce to a child that the parents are also making good choices when it comes to TV viewing.  If a child see's a parent watching unhealthy TV shows, but isn't allowed to watch them, it gives a message of "do as I say, not as I do".  Be a good role model for your children to make good choices with what they are feeding their brain!

Encourage your child to voice their opinion and speak their mind with the things they see on television.  This can result in good family discussion of topics that open up family communication.  Age appropriate topics (depending on where your child or teen is at in their emotional development), such as teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol and safety precautions are good topics that can spark connecting conversations as a family and help each family member to learn more about the other.

The overall theme of this week's blog is that parents need to call the signals and guide their children when it comes to television viewing-- including how much television to watch and what is appropriate to see.  How do you help guide your children when it comes to TV?

Adapted from:  Parent Group Counseling by Frieda A. Lang

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.