Published Online: June 3, 1998
Published in Print: June 3, 1998, as Media

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Channel surfers may be confused on Monday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m., local time, because just about wherever they look on cable--to the Disney Channel, Bravo, the Game Show Network, or more than 20 other channels--they'll see the same variety-show-with-a-message, titled "Take a Moment."

Those who do, rather than skipping to regular prime-time fare on the major networks, will be told how family-friendly the cable industry is and receive advice on healthy ways for families to watch television.

The half-hour cable-industry simulcast kicks off "Tune In to Kids and Family II," a weeklong "celebration of prime-time family and children's programming," according to the Washington-based National Cable Television Association. A similar event took place last year.

For the rest of the week, through June 14, the participating cable networks will serve up a sampling of family, children's, or educational programs in prime time, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., at least one day of the week.

Featured programs will be stamped with a special logo, which also certifies that they are free of excessive or gratuitous violence, strong language, or sexual themes or content, and that they "deglamorize harmful, illegal, or discriminatory behavior and stereotyping."

The logo will be a temporary addition to the TV-content ratings that most cable channels, along with all of the major networks except NBC, have been airing at the beginning of their programs since last year.

Another highlight of the week is a "critical viewing workshop" to be aired from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., EST, on June 9 on The Learning Channel.

The workshop was developed in partnership with the National PTA and Cable in the Classroom. It is meant to deliver the key elements of critical viewing "to give families tools to be smarter TV viewers," said Scott Broyles, the director of public affairs for the National Cable Television Association.

"We don't necessarily go out there and say, 'Watch cable,'" said Victoria M. Duran, the program director for the National PTA, which is coordinating local events across the country in conjunction with the workshop. "That's not what critical viewing is all about."

The themes of the workshop are: Set rules for television viewing and stick to those rules. Recognize the ways in which television can be used to manipulate viewers. Talk to children about violence on television. Turn what we see on television into positive and educational family discussions.

--ANDREW TROTTER atrotter@epe.org

Vol. 17, Issue 38, Page 6

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