Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: TV's Dangers and the Role of Community Action for Controlling Children's TV

Category: Child Care

The Children's Television Act was passed last year and needs to be enforced at the local level. The act mandates new TV regulations regarding educational or informative programs for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging us as concerned parents, educators and citizens to watch our local stations and make sure they implement an improved quality of children's programming.

Passage of the Children's Television Act in October 1990 was considered a landmark victory by pediatricians and particularly the American Academy of Pediatrics task force on children's television.

It had taken them several years of working hard toward that goal to get its passage. The legislation allows the Federal Communications Commission to actually refuse renewal of licenses of local broadcasters unless they air "reasonable" amounts of educational and informational programming for

children. Some local channels have tried to get by this by running occasional public service announcements. This is not considered an adequate way of meeting the goals of the Children's Television Act. What the American Academy of Pediatrics really would like is better programming in general for children with less ads for beer and alcohol and more educational and informative programs made available. It is ultimately up to all of us as citizens to watchdog our local stations and demand quality programming for children.

The actual effect of child- oriented TV on children can be harmful in many ways, including an increase in violent behavior and decreased school performance, (particularly, in reading ability).

Increasing experimentation with alcohol, drugs, violence, sex and poor attitudes toward family structure can all be brought on by the images seen over and over on television.