How to Decide What to Allow Your Child to Watch

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Parents who don’t use the television as a free babysitter don’t want their children to watch television shows that may not be appropriate for them.

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Although as a parent you may be familiar with movie guidelines, did you know that there are guidelines for television shows too? These ratings are called the TV Parental Guidelines.

The FCC regulates most television shows specifying what can and cannot be on certain shows. These are great to use a guideline as what to allow your kids to watch.

However, don’t forget that there are news and sports shows that don’t have ratings. These shows often have material that most children shouldn’t be exposed to.

It’s also important to be aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics states that the first two years of your child’s life are especially important in the growth and development of their brain, Because of this, kids age two and younger should not watch television due.

They also report that when your kids reach the age of two they should be limited in the amount of television they are allowed to watch. They also suggest that two year olds be only allowed to watch a few educational programs and nothing else.

I would like to believe that most responsible parents watch closely what their children are watching. Here are the seven categories that the TV Parental Guidelines use to rate television shows.

TV-Y: All Children

This includes both animated and live action shows designed for children two to six. These shows are not supposed to frighten children and are clear of all other possible disturbing scenes.

TV-Y7: Directed to Older Children

This rating means the program is suitable for children aged seven and older who can tell the difference between make-believe and reality.

The program may contain mild fantasy or comedic violence that could frighten children under seven.

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TV-Y7 FV: Directed to Older Children – Fantasy Violence

This rating means the program is suitable for children aged seven and older who can tell the difference between make-believe and reality.

The program contains fantasy violence which is more intense or combative than TV-Y7. Violence is the central theme of the program, and the fighting is presented in an exciting way.

Violent acts are glorified, and violence is used as an acceptable, effective way to solve a problem. Programs can be cartoons, live-action or a combination of both.

TV-G: General Audience

Programs given this rating are usually suitable for kids of all ages. There is very little, if any ,violence, sexual conduct or strong language. Please note that it may contain some tobacco use.

TV-PG: Parental Guidance Suggested

The program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. It may have an inappropriate theme, and it may contain moderate violence, some sexual content, and strong language or suggestive dialogue between characters. This rating will typically be presented as “TV PG” with the letters V, S, L or D under the rating.

TV-14: Parents Strongly Cautioned

The program contains some material potentially unsuitable for children under 14. Again, this rating may also have the above referenced letters beneath it.

TV-MA: Mature Audience

The program may be unsuitable for children under age 17. The above referenced letters may also be seen under the rating.

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