Stop Fighting TV and Use it With Kid-Friendly Programming on Satellite TV
The three-way relationship between parents, their children, and television has, for the past few decades, been fraught with strife. The critical view is that this powerful device distracts our children from family and homework, desensitizes them to violence and bad behavior, and discourages them from developing a more active, diverse, and fruitful young lifestyle. Each of these critiques has some basis in reality, but whether we like it or not, television is and will continue to be a part of our, and our children’s, lives. The trick, then, is to take advantage of the good that television has to offer, while continuing to monitor consumption and filter out the bad. In satellite television parents should see a friend and a shepherd, a teacher that has the ability to engage children in a positive rather than negative manner. The amount of programming available today is great and diverse, and offers plenty of opportunities for constructive use of a technology that is here to stay.
As a first step, use your television’s parental filter to restrict programming to channels you can count on.
Filtering technology has been around for years, but, given how simple it is to work with, is still underused. With the depth and breadth of satellite television, it should not be difficult to find programming that your kids will love and that you can appreciate.
Here are some ideas for the latest and greatest in kid-friendly programming:
Noggin is an amazing development in programming for youngsters that all parents should feel good about. Not only is its content dedicated to the 2- to 5-year old set, presenting educationally themed topics in a fun and accessible format, but it’s commercial-free! During evening hours (after 6pm) Noggin offers more teen-friendly programming.
The Learning Channel also offers commercial-free programming six hours a week so you can let you kids learn and enjoy, comforted by the knowledge that they will not be subjected to the undue influence of advertisers. TLC’s HD Theater network gives kids a look at animals and cultures from around the world in stunning high-definition video.
For a change from stories and movies, give your children something real to think about. The Travel Channel can open your kids’ eyes to the world around them while providing educational entertainment. Look for destination-specific programs that supplement school geography work or deal with a location you have visited.
Discovery has been a trusted name in educational programming for more than a decade and offers youngster-specific content through the Discovery Kids channel. Discovery Kids also has a website where children can play educational games and learn more about topics from shows. A convenient warning page alerts parents when they are passing from the “kid-safe” to the “commercial” section of the website.
PBS Kids Sprout is a wonderful and reliable source for safe, educational shows, presented in 15-minute blocks to match kids’ attention spans, such as “Bob the Builder,” “Barney and Friends,” and “Jim Hensons Pajanimals.” High definition shows such as “Dive Olly Dive” will leave kids saying “wow!” Sprout also has an interactive website to provide extended learning opportunities and educational diversions.
TV should always remain a supplement to, and not the central focus of, a child’s activities. Amidst play time, learning time, and sports time, television can be used as “down time” that doesn’t waste time. Thankfully, the existence of both advanced filtering technology and educational, age-appropriate programming means that parents can integrate television into their children’s lives with clarity of conscience and peace of mind.