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Violence on Television
Q: My six-year-old enjoys action programming that features ghosts, soldiers, and aliens. Will this often-violent TV programming have a negative influence on him?
A: You need to monitor both the content and the amount of TV that your boy watches, regardless of the nature of the programming. Passive TV-watching is not a healthy activity for kids in anything but small doses.
The fact that he uses ghosts, aliens, and soldiers as heroes does not mean that he will be a violent child or adult. However, repeated exposure to violent TV, video, computer, and movie images will lead him to accept violence as an exciting way to solve problems and relate to others. Pick up a copy of Steve Bennett's Kick the TV Habit as a resource to help you establish sensible TV-viewing habits for your son and your family.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.