A long time ago, someone told me that I should always watch TV with my kids. The advice was irrelevant to me at the time, but for some reason I always remembered it. Maybe that's because the message is continually reinforced in articles written about parenting or on TV talk shows that discuss childrearing. The advice is simple: If you're going to let your kids watch TV, then sit with them and watch along with them.
This is good advice when it comes to your child's viewing of educational TV programs. Children who watch educational programs in the company of caregivers actually learn more from the material than children who view without co-viewing caregivers. Why? Children pay more attention to the TV, and view the material as more important, when a caregiver watches with them. It's almost as if the child says, "Hmmm...if mom is watching, this must be good." According to your child, the simple fact that you're in the same room and watching the same program means that you endorse the content.
Unfortunately, the same process occurs when caregivers co-view less desirable TV programs, such as those containing violence. Some research has shown that children whose parents co-view violent TV shows are more aggressive than children whose parents do not co-view. This may be because children have the same interpretation of their parent's presence in the room. That is, kids may assume that if mom or dad is watching the violent show, then the behavior they are witnessing must be okay.