TV and Your Teen
by Maia Christopherson
There are many different streaming services for your family to watch your favorite shows on. Most don’t display ads, which is nice because regular TV bombards us with commercial messaging. Streaming is great until you realize just how many movies and shows are full of bad content. But don’t worry—streaming services make it easy to block this content, plus we have some tips to share. Learn more about TV and your teen.
Most of the mainstreaming content providers have parental controls, some more thorough than others. Using these tools, you can ensure that your teens only have access to appropriate content. For example, Netflix allows you to set up separate profiles for you and your teens. Because Netflix’s children’s menu displays a different color scheme than the regular menu, you can easily see whether your teens are accessing the content permitted to them or not. However, this doesn’t always stop teens from moving over to your profile, so you still have to be careful.
Another example is iTunes and Apple TV, which allows parents to set rating levels for their teens’ content. Be aware though that some streaming providers like Amazon Prime have no parental controls, so the only thing to do is to log out of your account and not share your password. There are other external parental control apps and services you can buy to monitor your family’s technology use which you can read more about here.
Talking with Your Teen
When you set parental controls, talk with your teens about why you’re setting those controls. Parental controls are useful but can’t replace a meaningful conversation. Talk with your teens about the negative impact of inappropriate content. Make TV watching an open dialogue with your teens where you can set media rules together. Children who talk to their parents about the content they watch are more likely to talk to them about other things too. Create limits on the number of hours of TV your teen can watch per day. You can also look into a parental control device like Circle that allows you to set up time limits and allows you to turn off the internet on any device in the home for an individual family member.
Additionally, make TV time family time. Children who associate watching TV as a family activity are less likely to watch TV on their own out of boredom.