Television, Media Usage and Internet Safety

As children grow and develop, they can easily be influenced by what they see and hear. While television programs and internet sites can be educational, many children are exposed to content that is inappropriate.

Parents can help decrease the harmful effects of media usage by closely watching what their child is viewing on television and the internet.

  • Choose programs for your child to watch. Always plan what your child will see on TV. Do not turn on the TV randomly. You may give choices between two programs you think are right for your child.
  • Turn to educational shows from the local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), or from programming such as the Discovery or History channels.
  • Watch TV with your child. Talk about what happened on the show. Talk about what was good or what was bad about the program and the difference between reality and make-believe.
  • Turn the TV off if the program is something you believe your child should not see.
  • Do not assume all cartoons are acceptable and appropriate, as many cartoons contain violence.
  • Many daytime programs (such as soap operas and talk shows) are not appropriate for children.
  • Be a good example to your child by not watching too much television yourself. Be involved in other activities, especially reading. Read to your child.
  • Avoid using the TV as the child's “babysitter.”
  • Encourage play and exercise for your child. Plan other fun activities for your child, so he or she has choices other than TV.
  • Limit using TV as a reward for good behavior. Instead, offer a trip to the park, a festival, playground or a visit to a relative or friend's house.
  • Do not watch TV during meal times.
  • Keep the computer in a common area of the house. This helps to make watching easier.
  • Use parental control and filtering settings on the computer.
  • Bookmark the sites your children go to often to make access easier.
  • Watch your credit card and phone bills for unusual charges.
  • Share an email account with your child so you can monitor it.
  • Older kids may be very computer savvy but they still need to be watched for safe behaviors.
  • Be aware of internet safety practices at school and at the home of your child’s friends.
  • Discuss internet safety with your child as soon as he or she starts using the computer.
  • Stay away from chat rooms.
  • Never give out ANY personal information including what city you live in, your age, your real name or what school you go to.
  • NEVER agree to meet someone you met online in person.
  • NEVER share photographs of yourself with someone you don’t know.
  • If you receive an email that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened, tell your parents right away and do not respond.
  • Remember that people may not be who they say they are.

Last Updated 09/2012