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Setting parental controls on your TV

Most shows on TV are not geared toward young children and likely aren't something you want your kids watching. You don't want your 5-year-old accidentally watching a rerun of The Walking Dead or even some less-graphic shows with adult themes.

On the other hand, today's TV includes many excellent shows for young children, such as Dora the Explorer, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sesame Street and Super Why. A couple of hours of educational programming throughout the week can help kick start your child's love of learning.

To make sure your kids of any age are watching only channels and programs you allow them to, try setting parental controls.

Options for parental controls

Depending on the ages of your children, you might want different options for parental controls. If you have preschoolers who watch TV, you can edit your settings to only allow them to watch certain channels during certain times. You might give your preteens some more freedom, while still preventing them from watching channels that you deem inappropriate.

Fortunately, most TVs and providers allow for you to customize your parental blocks, so you can set up the exact controls you want.

Blocking for content

Most TV providers offer variations on how to choose what you'd like to block. You can choose to block based on the rating a program receives or the content itself.

If you don't like the content and themes on a show, you can block the entire series. Is a whole channel inappropriate for your children? Set a lock for the channel so your kids can't access it at all.

Don't want your young kids watching anything rated TV-PG without you around? You can block everything with that rating and above. If you want to watch something with a higher rating, just put in your password to gain access.

Time settings

Don't want your kids watching TV when they should be doing homework after school? Or up all night watching shows? Set time controls to determine when your kids are allowed to watch TV. Of course, you'll still have to be in charge of what they should be doing.

How to set parental controls

Go to the settings menu of your TV. Find the parental control or ratings section. Depending on your TV or provider, the next steps may vary. You'll likely set a PIN or password, then you'll choose what you'd like to block. Typically, you'll choose which ratings to block, such as everything PG-13 and above, or R and above.

Some other systems may allow you to block specific shows or channels, as well. Read your owner's manual or call your provider for specific information about parental controls.

After the kids have been tucked in to bed and you want to watch something you wouldn't watch with them around, you can enter your password or PIN to watch that program while keeping it blocked from your children.

Feel better about what your kids watch on TV when you're not with them. Customize your parental controls and rest easy!

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