You can bet the farm that when they’re not playing video games, your teenager is plopped down in front of the television, channel surfing until something catches their attention. With so many options though, and so many shows coming and going, it’s hard sometimes to keep track of what your kids are viewing. You want to make sure they’re not polluting their brains, but at the same time you don’t want to shelter them to the point where all they watch is re-runs of Little House on the Prairie.

Let’s face it, kids aren’t stupid, and whether we believe it or not, they do know a lot about the world, and what they like. Before you go spending money on those Little House DVDs then, take a look at this list of the top five TV shows for teenagers, and know that they’re pretty safe for family viewing.

1. The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Although not well received by critics, this one broke the record for an ABC Family debut. It revolves around a group of family and friends who deal with the pregnancy of one of their own, and the affect it has on all of them. It’s not always easy to think that things like this might happen to your kids, but it’s a harsh reality. Who knows, maybe watching Secret Life and seeing all the trouble a newborn baby brings will be the best contraceptive ever.

2. Pretty Little Liars

A relatively new show on ABC Family, I myself have watched all the episodes with my step-daughter, and she just adores it. Based on the YA novels by Sara Shepard, it centers on a group of friends who begin to unravel after one of them disappears. A year later, and they begin getting text messages from someone named ‘A,’ who threatens to expose all of their secrets. I give this one a thumbs up.

3. The Vampire Diaries

Another teen drama/supernatural show, this one is about a girl that falls in love with a vampire, and the friends that surround her. Developed with the help of Kevin (Dawson’s Creek) Williamson, The Vampire Diaries is a-okay in my books, as it has just the right mix of monster goodness and teen angst.

4. Glee

Here’s one you might even like. Think of it as, High School Musical for adults, with enough singing, dancing, and comedy to hold the interest of your kids. Funny, smart, well acted, and yes…fun, Glee has everything you want in a series and more. No wonder it’s a smash with everyone. A nice change of pace from today’s brooding vampires.

5. Huge

Another ABC Family series based on a YA novel by Sasha Paley, this one is described as Glee meets Ugly Betty. It revolves around a group of teens sent to a summer weight loss camp. Not your everyday plot, and something to make your kids feel good about themselves, since you don’t normally see big-boned teen girls on screen that often.

There, you see, not all television is bad. The above shows are sure to interest your teenagers, but you might also find that they interest you as well. Heck, I never thought I would ever watch a show like Pretty Little Liars, but there I am, every Tuesday night on ABC Family tuning in – and I’m 32-years-old. Go figure?