Media is pervasive and prevalent in our society. Our job as parents and caregivers is to not only steer children away from topics and content that may not be age appropriate, but to also actively teach our children to be wise consumers of media. What your child can and should watch, and where they watch, depends a great deal on their age and maturity level, but there are some good guidelines you can follow at just about any age.
WHAT TO AVOID
- No media in a child’s bedroom – keep media use to open family spaces where you can be aware of and discuss what your child is doing.
- No live newscasts as these are not geared towards children and may contain graphic and disturbing imagery and words.
- Do not allow content that focuses on violence or adult themes.
- Choose TV stations that do not include advertisements to children.
- Be aware of media in public. Restaurants, doctor’s offices, etc. frequently have televisions on display. Don’t be afraid to ask for these to be turned off or for the channel to be switched to something more appropriate when your child is present.
WHAT TO CHOOSE
- Watch with your child, or be aware of the general content of what they are watching. Discuss it with them.
- Choose content that teaches values that are important to your family.
- Choose interactive content that asks the child to do something: answer a question, get up and move, etc.
- Turn it off. Limit screen time, including television/video, tablets, video games, and computers to a short time each day. Make the focus on getting out and moving instead of sitting still and absorbing.
Signing Time is media you can feel proud to offer your children. Sign language naturally captures the movement and expression so important to child development, while teaching concepts and vocabulary that support positive messages and everyday life skills.