I know that during this epidemic the TV has become an ally of so many former enemies. TV is a MAJOR influence on our Teens. You may not have cable, but if you have a streaming service and movie access, this article is for you. Maybe you don’t even have a TV set, but if you have a computer, IPad or phone with internet access, you need this article. When you see TV throughout this article that means the televised entertainment regardless of the media brought into the home. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation did a survey on their families about television. Most families – 53% – had no rules regarding TV. About 20% of the remaining families said their family TV rules were enforced most of the time. The percentage of children with TV in their rooms had grown from 29% to 37% in the past five years. That is a lot of children watching TV unsupervisedNow is the time to take control of TV in our homes! You CAN help establish and enforce TV rules in the house! If you will step up,  your family and others will adjust to the new normal, and you can look forward to more meaningful family time and communication with your kids and your teens. 

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Pro. 22:6)

1: TV’s Privilege

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Pro. 22:6)

TV must be treated like a privilege, not a right. Parents, you have the right to have complete control over EVERY TV in the house. This is not a negotiable principle, but a foundational principle. TV must be seen as extra and not the norm. Teenagers must see Mom and Dad as the givers and takers of such privilege. 

2: TV’s Posture 

While it might be considered easy to just turn on the TV for noise, it creates an anti-social environment. TV’s posture should be OFF. Careless channel surfing can be a waste of time and an avenue for temptation. Parents, think and plan what programs you want your family to watch, and only have the TV on at those times. Have quality family time at home with the TV off. Play more board games, break out the Uno cards, go on a family walk around the neighborhood, or think of other fun things that can be done! Keep mealtimes all about quality family time to talk about the day, create memories, and even establishing manners and teaching social etiquette. When people come over, make it easy for everyone to focus on each other – turn the TV off! Unless a movie night, a sports game, or something along those lines are on the itinerary for the night, keep the TV off!

3: TV’s Practice

“Walk the talk” is a great adage to remember when it comes to TV rules. The parents must enforce and uphold TV rules for themselves as well as the children for this to work. Rules will hold less weight if parents do not also follow the rules. Acceptable content is different at different ages, but general rules regarding moral standards and over usage are good for parents too!

4: TV’s Place 

While it may be too late for some, sharing this article may help those with worries about what their teen is watching when not supervised. One way to make those fears disappear is if there is not a TV in their bedroom! Only have TV in family spaces. This makes maintaining rules much easier. It also helps to guard against temptation and sin that teens must face alone when shut in a room with a TV. 

5: TV’s Program 

Job 31:1 (KJV) I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

Many TV’s, providers, streaming services and videos come with programmable restrictions. This is a great way for parents to set perimeters and rules. While this may take some extra time to set up, it will be worth it in the long run. It is hard for your teens to break the rules and watch an unapproved show if it is restricted. 

6: TV’s Poision

Psalm 101:3 (KJV) I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me.

Parents ought to base what is watched by not only rating but also content. The ratings system allows so much to pass through the lower ratings, that many of the so called “Good” shows and movies are full of garbage. The Poison that passes through the TV is obviously the immoral, immodest and violent, but don’t overlook the numb and dumb that can slowly kill the mind of our Teenagers. The programs you choose to watch on TV should have a purpose.

7: TV’s Position

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecc. 3:1

Like most things in your family life, TV should also be balanced with your schedule. There is a time for homework, sports, outings, reading, computer, AND television. TV is just one more option in the pool of entertainment. Make TV an event not a filler. The feelings of boredom are greatly reduced when moderation is applied to TV.Finding the right balance of TV will likely eliminate abuse of the privilege. 

William Davis
Youth Pastor
Clays Mill Baptist Church