4 Tips on How to Monitor What Your Kids Are Watching on TV

With Premiere Week beginning, your family might be planning a few nights of channel surfing and TV watching from the comforts of the living room couch. In addition to providing some quality family time, it also gives parents the opportunity to learn more about ways to monitor what their kids are watching on television when they aren't around. Read on for 4 tips to ensure your kids are watching age-appropriate content.


family-watching-tv; monitor-kids-tv-habits

As summer break has come to a close, parents all over the country are settling into the new school year, adjusting to new workloads, new teachers and early mornings.  While all this change can be a job itself, prepping for a new television lineup should not be as demanding.  TV Watch is reminding parents and grandparents that with the school year successfully started and the fall television lineup around the corner, now is the time to take a few minutes to brush up on content ratings and parental controls. 

“A new school year means new challenges in the classroom, updated preferences on the television and a new television lineup.  It is a reminder that our children are a year older and a good time for parents to make adjustments as well - updating the family’s television rules and exploring the appropriate tools to enforce those decisions,” said Jim Dyke, TV Watch Executive Director. 

In order to help parents effectively manage and control their family’s TV viewing, TV Watch is encouraging parents to learn what new shows will air this fall, review the content ratings, utilize parental controls if needed and help spread the word to others. 


New Programming

While parents may already be familiar with what is permissible for their kids to watch, this fall includes a host of new shows. A listing of this season's new shows can be found by following this link. Take note of what your kids are asking to watch, and review the content and ratings for these shows.


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, which can be found here, apply to all programs except sports and news shows.  In numerous studies, parents have indicated they find the ratings helpful. In a recent Rasmussen Reports survey, among those with children:

  • 60 percent said the current TV rating system is an effective way to warn users
  • 67 percent said the rating has an impact making them more or less likely to watch the show.


Utilize Parental Controls

According to TV Watch research, 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.


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.


"It is a busy time of year, but these steps can be done with a few simple clicks of the remote.  Back to school should mean back to basics for parents when it comes to television and children," concluded Dyke.



Also see:

Ask the Experts: How Can I Keep my Child Physically Active During the School Year

Children and Technology: Three Ways to Ensure Your Kids are Being Safe and Responsible Online, On the Computer, and While Using Social Media