This article makes makes a statement that may be surprising for some: “for a majority of kids there are no rules in the household about media use. Where there are rules, often they aren’t enforced or they apply only to how many hours children watch TV, not to what they watch.”
Of course, all of us parents know some of our friends’ kids whose media use rules are too loosey-goosey. My poor girls get assaulted by R-rated or bad PG-13 rated movies everytime they go to visit their friends. And don’t even get me started on the video games.
We are extremely fortunate to have modern-day prophets who have warned us about this situation. So, most Latter-day Saints are aware of the dangers of excessive media use.
Here are the rules in my house for my children:
1)No TV at all except for BYUTV which we get via satellite. (Yes, that even means no cartoons. My kids seem to get enough cartoon-watching at their friends’ houses.)
2)All movies that are watched are G or PG-rated or have been cleaned up by Clean Films. (We watch about one movie a day).
3)No video games.
4)No music with bad lyrics.
5)Time on the internet is limited and the computer is public.
6)No private media viewing at all in kids’ rooms.
7)On Sunday, we try to watch media that is uplifting and Church-related, (BYUTV, Living Scriptures, movies on the scriptures such as “The 10 Commandments”) although sometimes we will watch a good movie that is not Church-related.
I realize my rules are pretty strict. But they seem common-sense to me. I also realize that these rules will be much more difficult to enforce as my kids grow (the oldest is only 9). But I intend to hold the line in the years ahead. As Dan Rather would say, “courage!”
The interesting thing to note is that my kids feel very secure in my house. They know exactly where their boundaries are. They have no need to push the boundaries because they know the answer will be “no.” So, instead of begging me to watch “That’s So Raven” they go read a book. It seems to be working quite well actually.
I’d like to hear from other parents out there. What do you think about the state of media viewing in your own home and in the homes of your neighbors?