THE BLOG

How to Make TV Time Safe For Your Kids

11/30/2013 12:11 EST | Updated 01/30/2014 05:59 EST

While this isn't the first generation to grow up watching videos or television, it is the a relatively new phenomenon that children have been able to get access to endless programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on a number of different screens. Remember having to wait each week for that one special half hour program that was your favourite? Gilligan's Island, Get Smart, The Brady Bunch, or maybe The Addams Family.

Today, these shows can still be found, as well as an unprecedented number of new children's programming across many TV channels. The shows are as varied as the audiences they try to reach, but how can you make sure your kids are watching appropriate shows, and even learning something from them?

According to the latest Rogers Innovation Report, parents are ok with allowing their children (under 18) to use portable devices to view programs, movies and events, with almost half of them allowing their children to use a laptop computer to do so. With this type of portability, parents today have to be more involved with their children's television choices simply because there are more choices to be made. Many of us have already experienced the horror of "Guess what video I just saw online!" from our young kids. To avoid that in the future, you can take the following steps:

1) Be proactive and get to know kids' TV programming. In addition to fun, entertainment-focused programming, there's also a lot of great educational and development-focused programming available. Get to know what shows are available by proactively engaging with the shows your kids like to watch and making recommendations on other shows you think they might be interested in. There is a lot of quality programming out there, many of these shows can help children with reading, expanding their vocabulary, and school readiness. Check out the recently launched Rogers Kids Zone a one-stop destination that only houses kid-friendly entertainment.

2) Watch with your kids when you can. Make TV time a family activity by watching with your kids when you can. This allows you to learn about the shows your kids like and lets you talk as a family about them. The report shows that in fact, the majority of Canadians with children (79 per cent) say that they watch programs, movies of events with their children either very frequently or somewhat frequently.

3) Manage their viewing schedule. Every family is different, but as a general rule try to not schedule TV viewing at mealtimes, in bed or during homework. To avoid objections make sure you suggest alternative activities for your kids when TV time is over. Manage the time spent watching TV by setting up playlists of your kids' favourite shows within Rogers Kids Zone.

The majority of Canadian families prefer to spend at least 24 hours watching programs, movies and events per week. That's a lot of television time to manage. Make sure you're involved to make every hour count.

Kathy Buckworth is the host of Toronto Speaks: Parenting on Rogers Television, airing Monday nights at 9pm on Rogers Toronto.

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