Now more than ever, families need to sit down and discuss all the choices that will affect the lives of their children both now and in the future. There are an onslaught of subliminal messages that may change how families think about what is acceptable for their children. It is not only nutritional and exercise choices, but what they view on television, movies, Internet, electronic devices and the plethora of musical selections that display provocative lyrics.
Families need to take a new direction, and that isn't to be misconstrued with the name of the musical group, One Direction. Parents may put a block on the channels that are watched by their children and each cable company makes it possible to follow easy directions for that to happen. A better way is to watch TV together so what is being viewed will be acceptable, but it must be arranged that certain hours of viewing be kept to a minumum and the familiy doesn't join the "couch potato" generation.
There are new gimmicks, programs and devices, such as Netflix and RoKu that stream TV programs and movies at an alarming rate of hours. The gimmick with Netflix is a nominal fee each month gives countless hours of enjoyment, and RoKu devices are affordable options for all types of entertainment. Not far behind are the Wii and X-Box video gaming systems that children can be glued to the monitor for hours at a time. Parents will have to make a schedule of time allotment and control exactly what their children are sharing.
Electronic devices have put a 'cauliflower ear' on many children and adults whether it be in an automobile, shopping or talking with friends or classmates for countless hours. This includes the apps that are available to communicate by instant messages or videos. The Apple and Android operating systems have thousands of apps for that purpose, and it is prudent that parents monitor what is being watched or sent from those devices. An old-fashioned dinner table discussion can be an effective way to open up the lines of communication. With families going in myriad of directions, it just may be a great time to have everybody share their feelings.
The movie ratings have changed throughout the years and it seems the acts of violence, dialogue, bullying and inappropriate language have become a common denominator for many scripts. This is especially important when adolescents travel in small groups to the movies or entertainment venues. It doesn't hurt to ask where they are going or who they are with during that time. Parents can monitor this arrangement as they drive their children to an arranged place.
Another factor that comes into play is to establish an alternative to the time of activity and nutritional pursuits of the families. There seems to be a constant battle of the dollar menus at competing fast food restaurants. Parents must evaluate what is acceptable as food choices and be aware that the obesity crisis is an epidemic that will cause deleterious effects, such as diabetes and heart disease. Families may make a plan for daily exercise to take the place of video games, TV viewing and smartphones. The bottom line is communication and taking time together to understand what is acceptable.