Parental Controls

Armstrong Television Plus includes parental controls that allow you to restrict the viewing by rating.

Learn how to set up parental controls for EXP and DVR.

Television Best Practices for Parents

  • Limit your kid’s media time to no more than two hours a day.
  • Keep your televisions in central locations, not your kids’ bedrooms.
  • Monitor the programming that your kids watch.
  • When possible, watch TV with your kids and discuss the content as you go, especially during commercial breaks.
  • Use your DVRs to your advantage.
  • Record educational programming to watch with your kids.
  • Record shows that may be inappropriate for your kids to watch, so that you can watch them later when they are not around.
  • For children age two to five, pick programs that have a linear plotline over “variety” shows; they are a lot easier to follow.
  • Try to prescreen shows for children six to ten or do your homework about what they are watching. 
  • Opt for educational programming.
  • Walk the talk – when your kids are around, be sure to practice the same television guidelines that you have set for them.

Children’s Television Act

Congress enacted the Children’s Television Act (CTA) in 1990.  The purpose of the CTA is to ensure certain guidelines are met for all programming targeted at children.  The act was also meant to increase the amount of educational and informational programming geared for children.  Under the CTA educational and informational programming is called Core Programming, which consists of programs that are at least 30 minutes in length, that are aired between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 pm, and that are a regularly scheduled weekly program.  The FCC requires that stations “provide parents and consumers with advance information about core programs being aired, define the type of programs that qualify as core programs, and air at least three hours per week of core educational programming.”  Core Programming is labeled E/I for educational and informational.


Television Ratings

At the beginning of a program, the rating appears in the upper left-hand corner of your television screen.  You can also check the rating of a program by pressing the “Info” button with your DVR or digital set top box.  The rating appears in the upper right-hand corner of the information bar.  The ratings are a black box with two to three lines of letters.  The first line is always “TV” for TV ratings.  The second line indicates the appropriate audience age for viewing the programming.  The third line, if it exists, is a content label.  The chart below lists and explains all of the possible ratings and content labels.

Television Ratings

Broadcast networks and cable television networks rate programs by episode.  So it is possible for programs to have different ratings from week to week.  Movies that have been modified for television broadcast receive a TV rating based on their edited content.  However, uncut movies on premium channels do not receive a TV rating because they carry their standard Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating.

The V-Chip

The V-Chip is a device built into all televisions with a 13 inch screen or larger, that were manufactured after January 2000.  The V-Chip blocks television programming based on its content rating and the setting you establish.  You must manually activate the V-Chip and set up the rating level from which you want to block.  You can program your V-Chip using your television’s on-screen menu options or by following the instructions in your television owner’s manual.  The process varies between different types of televisions.  When you activate your V-Chip, you set up a parental lock code, which acts as a password for your V-Chip settings and ensures that your children cannot change your settings.  You can use the V-Chip to set up blocks by age-appropriate category, specific content labels, and even MPAA ratings.  Whatever rating you choose to block from, the V-Chip will block that rating and every rating above it.  For example, if you choose to block all TV14 programming, your V-Chip will not allow you to view any programming rated TV14 or TVMA on that television.  You could refine your block to only TV14-L so only programming rated TV14-L or TVMA-L would be blocked

Common Sense Media

Common sense media rates media that is intended for kids or that they would likely be exposed to. They include an age rating starting at 2 and going up to 18. Click here to view their rating overview.