Controlling what your child watched used to be a simple affair – grab the remote and shut off the T.V. But today, the Internet, and the simple fact that T.V. is often connected to it (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, etc.) means that your kids can probably gain access to whatever they want, even if you hide the remote. iPads, iPhone, Android devices, and even televisions in their own room all make the job of controlling what your child watches much more difficult. Difficult, but not impossible.
The Importance Of Using Parental Controls
Parental controls have been on the scene for quite a while now, but many parents still neglect to use them. Most cable and satellite providers have, thankfully, made it very easy to enable these controls. When activated, you can control what channels your child can and cannot watch.
For example, let’s say you subscribe to HBO, but you’re concerned about letting your child watch certain shows airing on that channel. You bundle services to save money, so your child could access the site through the Internet.
Parental controls allow you to shut off access of HBO regardless of how they try to access the content. That way, the offensive or inappropriate content isn’t viewed until you explicitly give the child permission to watch it.
How To Use Parental Controls
Parental controls are often very simple to use. Contact your cable or satellite company. Then, ask them about how to enable the controls. Usually, it’s just a matter of going into your T.V.’s settings, and enabling the option. Once you do this, you’ll have to enter in a pass code. Without the code, your child cannot watch the offending shows. The screen will be blank, and display a parental control message.
However, if you want to watch restricted channels when your child is not at home, or approve shows selectively, you just enter the pass code and the channel becomes available again for viewing.
Choosing Which Shows To Block
How do you choose which shows to block? Well, T.V. stations make this a little easier on you by rating T.V. programs. For example, “TV Y” is programing appropriate for all children, including kids from ages 2 to 6. A rating of “TVY7” is for children 7 and older. If the T.V. show displays a rating of “TVY7 FV,” then it’s designed for children age 7 and above but it might include fantasy violence that’s more intense than other shows in this category.
A rating of “TV G” means that the program is appropriate for general audiences. Most parents find this type of programming appropriate for their kids.
A “TV PG” rating means that parental guidance is suggested. There may be some adult themes in the show, including language and violence that you might not want your children to watch. A rating of “TV 14” means that the program contains some material that many parents would probably not want children under the age of 14 to watch. These ratings typically also come with reasons for the ratings, like “suggestive dialog,” “strong coarse language,” “intense sexual situations,” or “intense violence.”
Finally, a rating of “TV MA” means that the programming is for mature audiences only. It may be unsuitable for kids under the age of 17. Again, the programming will come tagged with reasons for the rating such as “crude indecent language,” “explicit sexual activity,” or “graphic violence.”
Angela Cullum is in the entertainment industry. She enjoys helping consumers make the most of their technology with the whole family.