Television tips and tools for parents

Television today is racier than ever. As prime-time broadcasters compete to attract larger adult audiences, children are exposed to increasingly controversial topics. The Parents Television Council recently released a study, “Dying to Entertain,” which found that violence on prime-time broadcast television has increased 75 percent since 1998. Luckily, parents now have resources and tools that provide tips and recommendations on quality television content for children.

Just recently, leading national nonprofit organizations representing millions of American parents and teachers have united to form Smart Television Alliance to promote quality television content for children. The Smart Television Alliance is a new coalition unified by a shared commitment to improving what children see on television. Children’s television program recommendations come from children’s media experts including Kids First!, Parents’ Choice Foundation, Common Sense Media, Parents Television Council, member organizations, as well as from parents and caregivers.

“In today’s media-saturated world, parents and caregivers need quality information from reliable sources that they can use to make smart choices about what is appropriate for their families,” said Jan Harp Domene, PTA national president and STA co-chair. “By uniting a diverse group of nationally recognized nonprofit organizations with a shared commitment to improving what kids watch on TV, we will help parents make informed choices about what television programming their families watch.

We want to make screen time healthy and educational, gathering the best information from a variety of trusted sources, including children’s media experts, educators and parents.”

STA encourages families to use information from trusted sources to identify shows that inform and educate children and to embrace technology, such as TiVo KidZone, to control what is on television and when it is watched.

“There is excellent programming and easy-to-use technology. Parents need to know about the good alternatives for their kids to watch. STA will focus its energy on promoting the best of kids’ TV, how to find it easily and how to watch it on families’ timetables, not the broadcast schedule,” said Susan Scanlan, chair of National Council of Women’s Organizations and co-chair of STA.

The organizations participating in the coalition include AFL-CIO, Afterschool Alliance, Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies, Coalition for Quality Children’s Media: Kids First!, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, National Council of Women’s Organizations, National Education Association, National Military Family Association, National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ (OC, Inc.), RainbowPUSH Coalition, United American Nurses, WE Inc. and YWCA USA.

Funding to support STA is provided by TiVo.

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