| Building Healthy TV

Television and tablets play a major role in most modern households, and can be a wonderful source of education and entertainment for you and your child. If you worry about "how much is too much?", here are some tips to help you harness the power of the screen:

  • Be a role model -- use media the way you want your child to use it.
  • Treat television and tablets like any other planned family activity. Create a schedule that your whole family agrees on.
  • Establish family guidelines for selecting programs and preview programs before your child views them.
  • Treat screen time as a special privilege your child must earn. Make sure that all homework and chores have been finished before they sit down to watch and/or play.
  • Encourage your child to watch a variety of programs: sports, nature and science shows, the arts, music, etc.
  • Talk to your child about what they are watching. Ask them why they enjoy a specific program and which characters are their favorites.
  • Discuss the difference between fantasy and reality. Ask your child whether the activities and characters they are watching could happen in real life.
  • Use their screen time as a tool to spark your child's imagination and as a springboard for new learning experiences.
  • Help your child connect what they view on television and/or on their tablets to events and activities in their own life.
  • Discuss commercials with your child. Talk about their perceptions of the products being sold and who it is that's selling them.
  • Avoid programs that frighten your child.
  • Avoid programs that show characters resolving conflicts with violence.
  • Avoid having the television on and the tablet at the table during meal times.
  • Do not put a TV in your child's bedroom.
  • Consider using parental controls, and pay careful attention to a show's age- and content-based rating.
  • Consider using the DVR to record shows that may be inappropriate for your child so you can watch them at a later time.