We’ve all heard the stories – violent crimes being carried out by young people who cite violent and bloody films and television programs as their inspiration. Before the advent of the internet it was pretty easy to limit and monitor what our children watched, but these days with online streaming, YouTube and plenty of other sites, the potential for inappropriate material to be viewed has never been so high.
We are parents have a duty to make sure that our children only watch TV programmes and films that are suitable for their age, but this is getting harder and harder to do. Here are some ideas for regulating and monitoring their viewing habits.
Set the Rules
Agree a set of rules with your children, including what constitutes ‘appropriate’ viewing, and also how long they should spend watching films and TV programmes every day. They should be encouraged to turn the TV or laptop off altogether so they don’t end up sitting in front of programmes day in, day out. If you consult your children and let them have input into the rules they are much more likely to follow them. If you just tell them what the rules are they will most likely rebel. Agree what constitutes a fair usage and which programmes are off limits and you’ll be good to go.
Check Up on Them
It would be lovely to think that once the rules were established, they’d be followed, and that would be that. But no – sadly that’s not the way children work (especially teenagers!). You need to make sure that your laptop’s parental controls are set to limit the type of programme your child can watch. Parental controls are really easy to configure – it should only take a few minutes and once they are in place it means that your children simply won’t have access to unsuitable programmes. Check internet browsing history too – it may feel a little unethical to constantly be checking up on them but you’ll feel better for knowing that you’ll be alerted should they manage to watch something they shouldn’t.
There will always be new programmes coming out that your kids want to see. So while rules are great they can’t be hard and fast because things are always changing. When your child wants to watch a new programme, then check the rating, have a look at the plot synopsis online and make sure you are happy that it is suitable for them to view. If not, you need to explain why. Children usually accept the rules as long as they understand why they are there.
Protecting and monitoring your children’s viewing habits is a tiresome but sensible thing to do. If your children see images and videos that they should not have access to, they may become plagued by nightmares and anxieties. You have their best interests at heart – so let them know this. Their innocent little minds need to be as protected as possible so make sure you do all you can to limit what they are able to watch.