Teaching TV Responsibility

Keep Up the Chatter

One of the main reasons experts are so anti-television is because they consider it a passive activity. But it doesn't have to be that way. Get into the habit of being a noisy, nosy viewer by adding your own commentary to whatever is on the screen. If you're watching a cartoon and a clam is being snarky to a sponge, pipe in and say something like, "Wow, that's so rude and obnoxious. I don't like it when people talk that way." Or ask your kid questions so his mind remains active and alert. You might inquire about how true to life something seems: "Are your teachers strict like the ones on this show? Is this program realistic?" or "Why do you think the creators of this show made all the grown-ups seem so lame?" When your child begins to initiate the conversation and ask you probing questions, you'll know you're on the right track. When he starts talking back to the screen, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

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