Television & Media Literacy

The California State PTA believes it is necessary to develop an aware viewing public of children and adults who will limit their television viewing to carefully selected programs, and who will be able to understand the explicit and the implicit messages in TV programs and commercials. PTA further believes that TV viewing skills should be included in the K-12 curriculum in the schools and encouraged by the parents in the home.


PTA Position Statements and Guidelines

  • Mass Media and the Family
  • Television Programming
  • Studying the Impact of Video Games

Be selective regarding the programs children view; distinguish between fantasy and reality; and recognize gender stereotypes and racial prejudices portrayed on television.

Children whose TV viewing time is limited are less aggressive and adult viewers who limit their viewing have a less violent picture of society.

Children who watch less television usually read more, are less likely to be overweight, have more friends, and are more likely to develop hobbies.

Good viewing skills become a family affair and promote valuable discussion among family members and viewers learn to recognize the powerful influence of commercial advertising.


It is OK to turn off the TV!

Review California State PTA Mass Media Position Statements and Issue-Related Guidelines

  • Obtain and promote PTA materials pertaining to media literacy and television viewing skills.
  • Sponsor parent/staff workshop(s) to learn how viewing television affects children.
  • Plan a program on critical viewing skills and television literacy techniques for parents.
  • Sponsor a TV monitoring project: review television program content and write letters (both positive and negative) to local stations, the networks, the advertisers, and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) stating concerns about or praising the quality of television programming.
  • Establish a committee to monitor compliance with the Children's Television Act of 1990. This law requires commercial television broadcasters to air programs specifically designed for children and limits the amount of advertising permitted.
  • Keep parents informed of appropriate, entertaining, and educational programs for young people.
  • Promote a "No TV" day or week. Ask parents and students to turn off the television for a limited period of time under controlled conditions. This helps parents, teachers, and students to understand the television's role and provides time for them to investigate other forms of entertainment such as reading, games, and family activities.
  • Use local television stations as field trip locations or invite television writers, producers, and technicians to speak to students. Encourage students to create their own television programs using videos and monitors.
  • Encourage students to create their own television program using videos, monitors, computers, website and Power Point presentations.


Through PTA newsletters, flyers, brochures, and programs, PTAs can encourage parents to:

  • Watch television with their children; be aware of what their older children are watching.
  • Discuss issues from television programs and commercials with their children.
  • Develop alternatives to television viewing.
  • Choose programs for their children that have positive characters and plots.
  • Set time limits for television viewing.
  • Write television stations, sponsors and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) expressing their positive as well as negative views on television programming.


Cable in the Classroom
25 Massachusetts Ave NW
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202.222.2335
Fax: 202.222.2336

Center for Media Literacy
23852 Pacific Coast Highway, #472
Malibu, CA 90265
310-456-0020 (fax)

The Children's Partnership
1351 3rd Street Promenade,
Suite 206
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 260-1220 (tel)
(310) 260-1921 (fax)

INTERNET SAFETY AND LITERACY: Resources for parents, teachers, and students
Cable in the Classroom: Internet and Media Tips
Cable in the Classroom: Bullying, Copyright, and Plagiarism

PTA in California
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Basics for PTA Leaders
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Television & Media Literacy
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