Commercials on television are much different than they were even ten years ago. Advertisers are more bold. Taboo subjects back then, seem to be acceptable today. What was once information shared only after children went to bed is now information shared at any time of the day or night on television. Hours of prime time seem to have less meaning, since many children do not necessarily observe bedtime curfew, as children did in years past.
Children and Personal Television Sets
It’s not unheard of to see children with personal television sets in their bedrooms, browsing through the channels late into the night. The kind of programming available for a child to observe in the wee morning hours would shock a knowing parent. Unfortunately, many parents are in bed sleeping and have no idea what is being viewed in their own homes.
Late Night Television Availability
Parents who must be up for work early in the morning are not monitoring what children are watching late into the night, and that goes beyond what’s seen on commercials. Not all programming is age appropriate. One should wonder why movies at a theater are rated, yet any child with a remote, can find movies on television that allows him or her to view programming without rating controls.
Number of Television Sets in Homes
Sure, parents can place controls on their television sets, if parents have the technical ability and aren’t interested in watching that sort of programming themselves. But in many households in America, it’s not uncommon to find 2, 3, or more television sets in a home, with each child having one of his or her own in a separate bedroom.
Children and Adult Behaviors
Is it any wonder why our children are acting out adult behaviors? In the best of homes, where parents model good behavior and set wonderful examples for their children, a child can slip though the hole in the fence and make choices late at night that undermine all a parent tries to accomplish with safeguards and limits the rest of the time.
Late at night, a child with a personal television set can view all sorts of potentially damaging visual entertainment from his or her own bedroom privacy, while parents sleep down the hall, totally unaware that it is happening.
Parents Can Control Viewing Options
A parent can’t be everywhere at every moment. But parents can make some parenting choices that can better the odds of protecting the minds of young children and youth in the home. The first step is to control television viewing options by either blocking undesirable programming or by keeping children from being able to make personal viewing choices when parents are not able to monitor.
Removing a Child’s Personal Television Set
Parents can remove a personal television set from a child’s bedroom, making it necessary for a child to make viewing choices on a set where parents can monitor program selection and viewing activity. This would make it less likely for a child to be able to just grab the remote from beside the bed and flip through channels on low volume with the door closed late at night, when the rest of the household is sleeping.
Parents don’t have to let television commercials and programming decide the values for their children. It’s time for parents to take a proactive stand and get control of television viewing habits in the home. It may not be popular, but if done, it will have ramifications on child behavior far into the future.