Atta girl, Rosie.
First Rosie O’Donnell made daytime TV saner. Now, as host of “Taking Charge of Your TV,” the smart new video for parents, she’s restoring sanity to the on-going debate over televised sex and violence.
Even better, the video is totally brain-easy for harried dads and moms. It’s just 4-1/2 minutes long.
Best of all, the video is free.
Call (800) 452-6351 to obtain your copy.
You may think a short course in how to use TV is majorly beside the point, now that the new age-based TV ratings system, fuzzy as it is, is in place.
Nothing - not the TV-G, TV-PG or TV-14 of the current system nor the S, V and L labels for sex, violence and explicit language used on cable - can replace knowing what a TV show is like and viewing it and discussing it with your kids.
O’Donnell’s video sets you thinking, quickly. It is pithy, provocative, articulate, on point. It is released under the aegis of the Family & Community Critical Viewing Project, a partnership of the National PTA, the National Cable Television Association and the cable industry project Cable in the Classroom.
“Taking Charge” is a straight-talking affair. In fact, that’s all it is - O’Donnell talking. About television.
First point: Teach your kid that TV is not real.
“TV is just one big storyteller, and sometimes storytellers make up the best part,” O’Donnell says.
Next, know that different people, of different ages, stages and backgrounds, may react to the same TV program in different ways. For example, your 10 year-old and your 4 year-old will respond to a sad storyline in different ways. So talk to your kids about their reactions to shows and monitor their viewing based on what they can handle.
Three, TV violence takes different forms, from cartoon capers to more serious stuff. Kids need to know that “they can’t act out the fake violence they see on TV.” Same goes for extreme physical moves or stunts that have no consequences on TV, such as Superman leaping off the roof or serious head-banging Three Stooges-style.
American TV is a commercial medium. Teach your kids what commercials are and how what you see in a commercial isn’t necessarily what you get in the cereal box.
And here’s O’Donnell’s kicker: “Talk to your kids about TV and listen when they talk back.”
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