Cell phones, notebooks, laptops, video games, and television — all examples of great technological advances that add to our daily conveniences, yet have also contributed to some bad habits in both children and adults. Kids of all ages should be monitored when using various forms of media. Parents seem to understand this concept when dealing with cell phones, Internet usage and social media applications; however, the trusty old television set is often viewed as a safe distraction for children and adolescents.

On some levels this assumption may be true, but it is important that parents understand just how much influence television shows can have on their younger children. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children under the age of two should watch no television, and children age 2 and older be limited to two hours or less daily.

Children, especially in the early years of development, have difficulty understanding the difference between what is real and what is pretend, making it especially important to monitor the images they see on TV. The following tips can help establish healthy television habits that will grow with your child versus trying to undo habits that are established early in life.

Reduce the number of sets in the home. It is not uncommon to find households with a television in every room of the house. There really is no need to have television sets in the bedrooms or bathrooms or even the kitchen. The more television sets in the house, the harder it will be to limit or monitor how much time your children spend watching television.

Pay attention to what is on the tube. Just because a show is appearing on a "children's" station does not necessarily mean the content is appropriate for all children. Choose age-appropriate shows and watch them with your children, versus simply turning on the television and going about other household chores. Busy parents are often trying to accomplish several tasks at one time, but using the television as a babysitter will never result in good habits. In fact, younger children can easily become frightened or confused by the images on television, which can fuel an already active imagination.

Encourage other activities that do not include the television. The television itself is not inherently bad. It is the amount of time children are spending in front of the television and a lack of parental monitoring that can lead to bad habits. By making TV less convenient and actively engaging your children in other activities, you can make this pastime one that is enjoyed when available but not something that occupies hours of your child's day.

Pay close attention to the amount of time children and teens spend in front of the television set. We've all seen the "zoned out" look that accompanies too much TV time. When the glazed look appears, turn off the TV, no matter how much time has passed.