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Media Rehab – Parentas Against Media Violence

Media Rehab

TV Rehab – Phases I to IV

Using example dates, the build-up to this program works like this. Announce the TV Rehab Program on 1st June:

–        Debate/Discussion violence in multimedia from June 1 to 15.
–          Pre-TV Rehab from June 16 to 30.
–          TV Rehab from July 1 to 30.
–          Post-TV Rehab from August 1 to 30.

We will trace all the phases on the above timeline for ease of understanding.

Phase I: Discussion and Debate on violent content in media

Encourage your children to talk about the subject. Give copies of available reports if they can read or explain your plan.

Encourage them to make contributions. Engage them in conversation. Talk. Talk. Talk. This is crucial and important. Pick up a medium for discussion each day, like TV on Monday, videogames on Tuesday and talk about the kind of violent programs broadcasted and allow them to express their opinion, to say whatever they want to say, right or wrong. You are preparing the ground for next two phases.

Phase II: Pre-TV Rehab

In this phase we will be doing exactly the same as that which happens in actual TV Rehab with the difference that you will not be closely monitoring the kids. You are telling them the rules and leaving it for them to manage. There are only two rules in Pre-TV Rehab.

  1. They cannot watch/play programs/games not suitable for their age;
  2. They should submit ‘Daily Rehab Slips’ everyday before they go to bed.

Pre-TV Rehab requirements: Daily Rehab Slips

Announce that for the next 15 days, your children should give you Daily Rehab Slips before they go to bed. Get the format (below) printed and make it available for completing every day. It is mandatory.

What they need to do is to write their name, age, date, name of the program, time they started watching that program and time they ended watching it. Total time spent. On the next column they have to enter a rating for the TV program as broadcasted and if rating is not displayed mention ‘No Rating’. The same rule applies for videogames/Internet games and movies whether TV, video or on the big screen. If kid/s are very young and cannot fill out the form, the elder kid or Blue Hawk should help.

Daily Rehab Slip: (format)

NAME  Jimmy Age 10
DATE  16 June
Program Name Switch on/off Time Total

Hours

TV ratings** Videogame rating ** Internet game ** Movie Rating **
On 00.00H Off 00.00H
Violent files 17.00 17.30 0.30 TV 7 FV
American chase 17.30 18.00 0.30 No rating
Guns and Horses 18.00 18.30 0.30 KA
Online Game 18.30 19.15 0.45 KA
Quick Run 19.30 21.30 2.00 G
Total 4.15
SIGNATURE

** If no rating say so (For ratings go to “Ratings to Watch: Videogames/TV/Movies – Last chapter of Part –II).

But, there are penalties for breaking the rules.

Rule 1: Kids cannot watch programs that are not suitable to their age. Any violation, they don’t get to watch any multimedia for the next two days.

Rule 2: They should give you the Daily Rehab Slips every day before they go to bed. No excuses. If they don’t, they are off any multimedia the next day.

If they break both the rules on the same day, they will not have access to any multimedia for the next three days. If they have not watched any multimedia on any day they should give a blank Daily Rehab Slip with their name, age, date and signature.

Being strict and tough on these rules is the only way to make it work. Success of Phase II will ensure the smooth sailing of Phase III.

When they physically handover the slips (during the Pre-TV Rehab days) just take it and ensure it has name, date and signature (they will feel important and responsible if they sign it). Just listen to the issues they encounter and help them to solve the problems if any.

While receiving Daily Rehab Slips during pre-rehab days please do not make any comments, no lectures, no shouting, nothing. Just accept the slip and keep it safe. These 15 days are a trial period to help resolve any issues that might come up.

At the end of 15th day, pick up all the 15 White Slips, total up the time they have watched and average it (total # of hours by total # days). For example, Jimmy was on multimedia say for 61 hours during 15 days. The average hours watched per day would be 61/15= 4.06 hours a day, which is more than four hours a day.

Benchmark hours of watching

Now let us try to create some benchmark ‘levels’ of watching. What we are doing here is creating time slots based on the number of hours of multimedia watching and assigning it levels. If the average media watching/playing is:

  1. More than four hours a day –assigned level – Danger level.
  2. Between three to four hours a day – assigned level – Concern level
  3. Between two to three hours a day – assigned level – Caution level
  4. Between one to two hours a day – assigned level – Alert level.
  5. Less than one hour a day – assigned level – Hug and Kiss level.
    (All classifications are mine.)

Based on above let us assign a level to Jimmy. Jimmy has watched, during the last 15 days 61 hours of multimedia and averages 4.06 hours on daily basis. That would fit him on ‘More than four hours a day – assigned level – Danger level’.

Let us see how these levels work.

TV Rehab Program Period – calculation table

How to calculate TV Rehab weeks:

Now we have the average number of hours kids have spent on multimedia in the previous 15 days.

You can put them on a four-week (maximum – four hours plus watchers) rehab program to bring down the watching levels to one hour a day by the end of week four. Assuming Jimmy’s daily average is 4.06 hours how do we arrange his time?

The first column of the table below determines the TV Rehab program your children would fall into. If they average more than four hours, they would go on the four-week program. If they average between three to four hours, they will go on a three-week program. If they average between two to three hours, they would go on a two-week program. If between, one to two hours, they would go on a one-week program. If they are averaging less than an hour a day, give them a big hug and kiss and grant them a wish, if you can. They deserve it. They don’t need to be on this program.

TV Rehab Weeks:

# Hours a day watchers Week One Week Two Week Three Week Four
4 hours plus  4 Hours 3 Hours 2 Hours 1 Hour
Between 3-4 hours 3 Hours 2 Hours 1 Hour
Between 2-3 hours 2 Hours 1 Hour
Between 1-2 hours 1 Hour

Jimmy has an average of 4.06 hours and he will go with the four-week TV Rehab program.

What is the meaning of a four-week, TV Rehab Program? It means that Jimmy can watch/play four hours of multimedia every day during the first week, three hours during week two, two hours during week three and one hour during week four on all days of the week. When we say of multimedia we mean and include – TV, videogames, movies – video, TV, big screen and Internet.

 

Phase III: TV Rehab

What happens in TV Rehab?

From the Daily Rehab Slips you have received during the Pre-TV Rehab days you know the average number of hours they have watched. From the above chart (how to calculate TV Rehab weeks) look at the week program they would fall into.

Assuming kid/s watch more than the prescribed time on any day during that week they have to make up the time within that week. At the end of the week if they exceed their prescribed quota of watching hours they would lose twice the hours during the next week.

In the above example, assuming Jimmy watches five hours on day one of the first week, he has to make up one hour the next day or any day during that week. At the end of the week assuming if he clocks more than the 28 hours he is allowed, he will lose two hours from the next week’s quota. Meaning he can clock only 19 hours during week two. The fear of losing twice the time next week would enforce some discipline in viewing habits.

Monitoring:

In the TV Rehab program the Blue Hawk has to discuss what kid/s have written on the white slip each day and question them if they are exceeding their time or violating the rating system. Talk to them about how they can avoid multimedia. Help them engage in other activities like gardening, book reading, pottery, cooking, indoor/outdoor sports or any thing your child would be interested.

Let me summarize the penalties for violations:

  1. Non-submission of Daily Rehab Slips during Pre-TV Rehab and TV Rehab days: No media entertainment the next day. Irrespective of all other penalties this rule stays;
  2. Program Rating Violation: No watching for next two consecutive days in both Pre-Rehab and TV Rehab days;
  3. During TV Rehab days: If they over shoot on the prescribed time during the week, twice the viewing time would be taken out from the next week.

Phase IV: Post-TV Rehab

This is the testing time. Kids have to continue with their one hour a day multimedia time for the next 30 days. The previous 60 days effort would go to waste if we don’t strictly enforce the rules for the 30 days after the TV Rehab. It works the same way as TV Rehab and the same rules apply. Kids should continue to give the Daily Rehab slips and stick to less than one hour of multimedia per day.

Find ways to utilize the free time and get innovative on this. Ask your kid/s how he/she wishes to be engaged.

Exception to the above Rule:

Some very important events, such as the Olympics, key sports; national events or educational subjects are counted outside the above-prescribed hours in TV Rehab Phases II to IV.

Only Blue Hawk or substitute Blue Hawk has the option to decide which programs are key events that kids should watch. Kids have the choice to present their case to Blue Hawk as to why this program is a national and key event to be watched outside their predetermined schedule. But, the final decision is that of Blue Hawk.

Similarly the TV Rehab schedule does not apply to surfing the Internet for their projects/homework or for learning. Blue Hawk has to monitor this.

What Happens After Post-TV Rehab?

If the kid/s have lived through this 90-day program and have done well, it means they can restrain themselves from watching/playing multimedia. That is good. It is strongly suggested to encourage them on hobbies or some projects the whole family can get involved.

Parents themselves should exercise restraint on watching television, movies or videogames; it will help kid/s a lot.

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