Monday, September 27, 2010

How much media time is your child spending each day?

Young people spend on average more than 7 hours each day using some sort of media. The vast majority of young people have access in their bedroom to a tv, computer, cell phone and video games. While sites such as Facebook and YouTube can help kids socialize with one another wouldn’t it be better if they learned to communicate face to face? Another concern is how much they are viewing is being monitored.

Recent evidence raises concerns about the how the media influences aggression, eating disorders, sexual behavior and drug use in our youth. Girls are bombarded with constantly by content that says you can’t be too thin. Do we really want our girls to have role models such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Spears? Our young men are fed are constant diet of violent behavior in movies. Vampires seem to be the hottest television and movie subject. While it may seem innocent, what influence does it have on a child’s psyche? Programs such as 24 show that violence is the only solution to resolve situations.

Try an experiment: see how many times in an evening of watching their favorite programs your child is exposed to violence, smoking, sex, drugs, drinking and deception. Also observe how many times they are exposed to peaceful resolution, honesty, healthy lifestyles, morals, values and doing the right thing. We must remember that our young people’s brains are still developing. Their judgment and rationalization are being formed. Their self worth is being assaulted daily by the quest for beauty, thinness, wealth, popularity and success.

Amongst the most popular programs on television this past year have been American Idol, Vampire Diaries and Jersey Shores. What do our young people come away with? That Snooki has a problem with alcohol? That a teenage girl is the object of attention for two vampire brothers? That talented singers vie for fame and fortune? Is this really what we want for our kids?

As parents, we have the responsibility and the opportunity to help shape our children’s view of the world. Help them to focus on more positive portraits of life.

To read more information about the influence of the media on children please visit the following websites:

http://www.kff.org/entmedia/mh012010pkg.cfm

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/125/4/756?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=media+and+time&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=10&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/126/1/e89?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=media+and+time&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT