Know what your child is watching on TV. You should know about the shows she sees, but also about the news programs and commercials she watches, too. Make sure TV shows are right for your child’s age. Encourage your child to watch shows made for children, including shows on public television stations.
Often, in crisis situations, the TV news will show disturbing or violent images again and again. Keep your child from watching these images over and over.
Teach your child that she shouldn’t turn on the TV unless you say it’s OK. Watch TV with her to help her learn about what she sees. Explain things in words your child knows. Talk back to the TV and to the people shown on TV shows. For instance, if someone on a TV show does something you think is wrong, say so. Let your child hear you talk to the TV, and encourage her to do the same.
Children need guidance from you about what they see on TV.These activities will help your child to:
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity*, in 1999, 13 percent of children aged 6 to 11 years and 14 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years in the United States were overweight. One of the major causes of obesity, the Report explains, is lack of physical activity. The Report says that television and computer and video games only add to children’s inactive lifestyles. To help increase physical activity, the Report recommends that you reduce the amount of time you and your family spend doing things like watching TV or playing video games. It also suggests limiting TV time to less than two hours a day.
*The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General; Rockville, MD: 2001.
This activity will help your child feel important and valuable, no matter what other people say to her or about her. Children at every age can feel pressure from their friends and people their age to “fit in” and do what everyone else is doing to “be cool.” This kind of pressure can make children feel that they aren’t good enough as they are. The media can also pressure children, by making things that aren’t real or aren’t healthy look cool. This activity lets you remind your child that she is special and precious just the way she is.
During a major crisis, or right after it happens, most TV news programs talk only about that event. They may show the same pictures over and over. Don’t let your child watch these images. Turn off the TV, or watch something on channels or networks that have shows just for children or shows about learning.
Because children spend so much time watching TV, it’s easy for them to get the wrong idea about what they’re seeing. This activity lets you give them the right ideas about things. By watching TV with your child, you can see what the shows are saying and doing. If you don’t like the show’s messages, you can tell your child why they’re not OK. With your help, your child will know whether what she’s watching is real or made up. She’ll also know that things in real life don’t always happen the way they do on TV.
Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to enter space on a flight of the shuttle Endeavor in 1992. Dr. Jemison is a medical doctor who worked as a medical officer in the Peace Corps in West Africa.Colonel Fredrick Gregory is an African American who was the spacecraft commander or pilot on several shuttle missions. As a NASA astronaut, he logged 455 hours in space. Before becoming an astronaut, Colonel Gregory was an Air Force test pilot, helicopter pilot, and fighter pilot. Colonel Gregory is a senior administrator with NASA, the U.S. space agency.