What Can One Do about Television and Children

Parent activism has spurred the development of broadcasting regulations, which in turn may exert some influence on children's viewing. Direct parental involvement, however, may have the greatest potential to affect the nature of television's impact on children's development. When children are young, it is relatively simple for parents to provide guidance concerning the amount and kind of viewing children do. Such guidance can help establish viewing habits that will continue to exert an influence as children get older and exercise more independent choice. If preschoolers learn to be selective about program choices and understand that there are many ways to spend their time, they may be less apt to fall into uncritical heavy viewing later in childhood. As children get older, parents can assist them in viewing critically and can avoid creating an environment that assigns television undue importance (e.g., a television in the child's room). Together, federal regulations and parental vigilance may help television contribute positively to children's development.


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