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Television is an inescapable part of modern culture. We depend on TV for entertainment, news, education, culture, weather, sports—and even music, since the advent of music videos. TIP: Create your own family TV-viewing traditions, such as watching Olympic coverage, the NHL playoffs, classic movies or a weekly comedy show. With the recent explosion in satellite and digital speciality channels, we now have access to a plethora of both good quality and inappropriate TV content. In this crowded television environment, the key for parents is to search out high quality TV programs for their kids, and whenever possible, enjoy them together as a family.

Television offers lots of benefits to kids, including:

* Because of its ability to create powerful touchstones, TV enables young people to share cultural experiences with others.

* Shared viewing gives family members of all ages an opportunity to spend time together.

* Parents can use TV as a catalyst to get kids reading—following up on TV programs by getting books on the same subjects or reading authors whose work was adapted for the programs.

* Great television can teach kids important values and life lessons.

* TV programs often explores controversial or sensitive issues, which can make it easier for parents and kids to discuss them.

* Educational programming can develop young children's socialization and learning skills.

* News, current events and historical programming can help make young people more aware of other cultures and people.

* Documentaries can help develop critical thinking about society and the world.

TIP: Whenever possible, choose Canadian programs for your family viewing time. TV can help introduce your family to classic Hollywood films and foreign movies that may not be available in your local video store.

* Cultural programming can open up the world of music and art for young people.

How to choose good TV...
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