Exercising more, going organic, losing weight... these are all great New Year’s resolutions toward a healthier family. But what about choosing some resolutions that have to do with your family’s emotional and psychological well-being? A great place to start is what your family watches on the TV, laptops, phones, and tablets in your home. If you want your family to get “media healthy,” here are three resolutions to make this year.
1. Engage in media that aligns with your values
Did you know that kids define what “normal” is by age 3? What are you allowing your kids to think normal behavior is? Not only do you want to guard your kids from violence, sex, and language, also consider if the characters in their movies, TV shows, and videogames are good examples of character.
Just as movies can negatively influence character and behavior, faith and family movies can help build it. Opt for streaming movies based on your favorite books or introduce documentaries into your media repertoire.
2. Watch TV together
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents act as their children’s media mentor. Part of this job is watching TV and movies together and “teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn.” It also recommends avoiding screen time for babies 18 months and younger (excluding video chatting). For kids 18 months to 5 years, it’s best to watch high-quality programming with your child to help them understand what they’re seeing and how it applies to their own life.
What is high-quality programming? Anything that you feel helps your child learn and benefit from screen time and something you will enjoy watching with them. For younger kids, shows such as “Veggie Tales” and “Owlegories” are fantastic for teaching lessons to little ones, and the shows are so well done, that parents won’t mind watching them as well. For pre-teens and teens, check out this list of quality family movies that parents will also enjoy.
3. Skip the commercials
Beyond the fact that commercials waste time, 14 percent of commercials contain negative content, according to a study published in the journal “Psychology of Popular Media Culture.”
Another meta-analysis published in 2007 found that:
“Advertising can influence children in three different ways. First of all, the ads use powerful multimedia techniques to hold children’s attention. Also, younger children do not have the cognitive tools to tell the difference between commercials and television programs. Finally, young children are often less likely to know the difference between reality and what they are being told. Any parent dealing with a child pleading for them to buy the latest toy knows perfectly well how influential commercials can be.”
Opting for a streaming service over cable TV helps to avoid commercials and saves time. A recent study shows that children who watch TV on a streaming service skip 150 hours of commercial time a year (the equivalent of 6.25 days). Imagine all the things your family could do together with time lost to commercials.
What are some media habits that you want to incorporate into the New Year? Share your thoughts in the comments. Do you have family movie recommendations? Share those too! For a great resource that will help your family develop great media habits, visit PureFlix.com where you can watch thousands of family originals, movies, TV shows, documentaries, for free with a one-month trial.Read Also: 7 Movies Parents Will Love Too