Most parents try to limit our kid's tv time and video game playing - but sometimes it's hard to know where to draw the lines. Rhiannon talked with one author who is helping parents find the balance in their daily lives.
Audra Lowe: Most parents try to limit their kids' TV time, and video game playing, but sometimes it's really hard to know exactly where to draw the line? So Rhiannon talk with one author who is helping parents find the balance in their daily lives. Rhiannon Ally: Sitting your kids down in front of the TV can be a great way to keep them busy if you are busy cleaning the house or cooking dinner, and one new book Kids Under Fire says, TV is not the devil, but it is important to find balance. And Jean wrote this book Kids Under Fire. Tell us about your new book? Jean Rogers: Well, Kids Under Fire, let me say right away it's not about unplugging all together. We live in a media world, kids live in a media world. So it's more about achieving balance in the home and teaching children how to be critical consumers of media, teaching them how to grow up in the media world in a responsible way. Rhiannon Ally: So how do you teach your kids to be responsible? Jean Rogers: Well, the parents are overwhelmed, they are very busy. Rhiannon Ally: It's easy to sit them down and just let the TV play. Jean Rogers: It's absolutely easy and TV is not messy, Playdo is messy, Legos are messy, definitely. But, it's very easy, that's why I wrote the book so the parents would know it doesn't take much time. Watch what the kids are watching, play what they are playing for just a short while. Use the kids' media diet Litmus Test which I have in the book. Rhiannon Ally: Tell us about that test. What is that? Jean Rogers: The Litmus Test is a set of questions that you can sit down with your kids, it empowers the kids to make decisions on their own about what's healthy media, and what isn't for them. And they grow up, making these healthy choices just like you wouldn't feed them junk food, three meals a day, you don't want to let that junk go into their brain, and be really molding them. Rhiannon Ally: Let's talk about that one controversial thing right now is violence on TV and in video games. Does your book address that? Jean Rogers: Absolutely. Some of the very tragic events like Columbine, we talk about in the book and many more recent events are associated, some of the perpetrators have been quoted a saying, they copied a video game or they copied a TV show. And kids copy everything, let's face it, from when they are little they are going to copy their mom, having a lip-gloss and pretend to be their dad, which shaving cream and - Rhiannon Ally: They really want to watch what they are watching as you mentioned. Jean Rogers: Watch what they're watching, see what they are playing, and it only takes a short while and that's why I wanted to develop these steps for parents. Rhiannon Ally: One thing that's really interesting is you say use the TV as a great family gathering tool. Jean Rogers: Absolutely, there are some really great things about especially TV but all media to pull the family together. We for example are big sports fans in our house. We couldn't live without our ESPN because we can't take all the kids to professional a game and the food and the travel expenses with that, but we can have the friends over and pop popcorn, and make it a healthy fun evening in our home. So there are some great things. I also say it's a window into their world when you watch some of the things they're watching, it's like getting to know their friends. Rhiannon Ally: That's very true and I think it's really important how you mentioned using TV in the right way because so many people think they shouldn't let their kids watch TV at all but you also do say that there are certain number of hours a week that a kid maybe should or shouldn't be watching. Jean Rogers: Absolutely Rhiannon. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest no TV for children under the age two, because it allows their brain to develop naturally, more interaction with mom and dad and they can touch and feel their world. That's very important. Rhiannon Ally: So under two, no TV but what about over two? Jean Rogers: No TV under two, no TV in the bedroom. As they get older -- but as they get older, I suggest different techniques in the book one being have a no media day. Just unplug for one day, and that allows them to be creative, it allows them to be bored and find out what they can do with that day. Rhiannon Ally: Alright. Thank you so much Jean, great tips there. TV is not the devil but finding balance, very important, and Jean's book Kids Under Fire is available now. Audra Lowe: Thanks so much Rhiannon and you can check out Jean's book at amazon.com and on her website. You can get there by logging onto bettertv.com and then clicking the Links tab. We'll be right back.