These guidelines for parents were published by Dennis-Yarmouth (Mass.) Regional Schools and C-3 (TV), the local-access cable channel, as a community service.
1. Watch TV with your children. Ask questions about shows; initiate discussion about themes and topics.
2. Let TV expand and enlarge your world. Find related books and magazines at your public library. Keep an atlas or globe next to the TV set, and find places mentioned in the news.
3. Talk back to your television. Question what you see and hear on TV while watching with your children. Challenge or support the ideas presented.
4. Discuss how conflicts on TV are resolved. Is there unnecessary violence? Does the violence portrayed include the real-life consequences? Discuss options for solving the conflict without using violence.
5. Use TV as an opportunity to introduce your own values on topics such as drugs, alcohol, and appropriate sexual conduct.
6. Ask your children who is being stereotyped in a program. Are people made to act and talk a certain way because of their age, gender, race, religion, or cultural background? Discuss what messages are being sent by the way people look and act.
7. Relate TV to real-life situations. Discuss with your child the fact that easy solutions are not often found to complicated problems.
8. Be aware that all TV programs have an underlying economic purpose. Discuss this with your children using TV commercials and shows as a springboard.
9. Build a home video library. Make it a practice to tape your child's favorite shows for future viewing. Taping shows to watch later helps children recognize that they can choose to do other activities while their favorite shows are on.
10. Don't be afraid to take charge of your TV set. Take time each week to review TV program guides for the week ahead and decide what your family will watch. Set limits on how much TV your family watches and what they are watching.