One mother surveyed in Denver decided she needed to be more vigilant after she found her son quoting a movie on the Sci-Fi channel. You could tell it was a cheesy horror movie just from the title: "Mansquito." On the other hand, some allow their tots to join them in front of adult programming. A mother in California watches "CSI," replete with some of the most savage violence and grotesque imagery ever shown over the broadcast airwaves, with her daughter in the one-to-three age range. "I don't know how harmful it is to her. It's something gory, but it doesn't seem to bother her. She hasn't had any nightmares from it," she claimed.
We live in the age of the TV-drenched child. A third of children under six in the survey live in homes where the TV is on all (13 percent) or most (19 percent) of the time. One mother in Columbus, Ohio said their family had five TV sets, and "at least three of those are usually on." Turning on the TV is a way to say "good morning," and 30 percent of parents surveyed say they put a TV in their child's bedroom so it's the last thing to talk at their children as they go to sleep.
Many parents suggest the trend isn't so problematic if the TV program is healthy or educational. After all, "The Wiggles" is a lot more friendly to toddlers than "CSI." But at some point, parents ought to wonder if swallowing six boxes of granola in one sitting is still healthy eating.
Regardless of what self-interested TV titans tell parents, there is no V-chip or any other artificial, technological solution to keep your children's TV intake safe and reasonable.
The solution is human, not technological. It's parental engagement.
Several years ago, on one of those televised weekend chatter-talk shows, host Robert Beckel was leading a discussion on this very topic and concluded the segment by challenging his panelists to recommend their favorite programs for children. One cited a sporting venue, two others named their preferred entertainment shows. The final answer came from ever-prescient columnist Mona Charen, who delivered one of the best one-liners I've ever heard. "I'd have them read Thucydides in the original Greek." But I wonder how many children have books in their bedrooms.
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