TV Watch member and parenting expert Dr. Sal Severe provides helpful pointers for parents trying to monitor their childs viewing habits. Although these tips are tailored for the summer, they can serve as guidelines the whole year through.


  • Set time limits on how much television your child can watch per day or per week, with enough flexibility to change the limits under special circumstances, like rainy days. Two hours a day is plenty.
  • Use the rating system and the parental control features that come with your TV, cable set-top box or satellite, to screen out objectionable content when you just dont have the time to watch with your children.
  • Plan ahead. Sit down with the TV guide at the beginning of the week and agree on what shows can be watched. The schedule should include some of your kids’ favorite shows as well as programs you would like them to see.
  • Schedule family viewing times. You can watch what your children choose and discuss the content with them.
  • Be consistent. Make sure that you and your partner agree on what shows your children can watch. Create a checklist and post it on the refrigerator to remind you, your children and caregivers of the rules of the household.
  • Use your VCR or DVR. If you record programs, children can play outside when its sunny and use the video when its raining or when you cant watch with them.
  • Remember to spend some time reading every day. Either have your children read silently, or for extra fun, read aloud to them.
  • DON’T’s

    • Do not let TV become the default entertainment or the babysitter. But simply telling children to play outside won’t work. Parents have to guide their children by providing ideas on how to enjoy their non-TV time.
    • Don’t assume that if a program is nonviolent or on PBS it will necessarily be consistent with your values. Try to watch at least one episode of a new program that your child wants to watch to make sure that you approve of the shows content for your child.
    • Avoid putting a TV in your childs room. However if you do, activate the parental controls to block out content you dont want your child to see.


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