Parenting Past Passive Inconvenience

Patience has never my strongest asset, but being a parent has changed me (somewhat). If I really need some time to myself to relax or get some serious work done, and my only child is “bored” and doesn’t have a neighbor available to play with her, she commences to get on my nerves. That’s when I gruffly suggest that she goes to watch TV, play a game online, or find something else to do.

It’s so easy to just dismiss a kid to watch TV or park them in front of a movie with a snack or two. We know that the TV shouldn’t be used as a babysitter, but sometimes that’s just what it is. But just because a show airs on a family-oriented network such as Disney, ABC Family, Nickelodeon/Teen Nick, and the like doesn’t mean there is no questionable content. Are you sure the storylines, characters and premise of the shows reflect most of the values and morals you want to instill in your children? It’s not so bad if we are aware of what our kids are watching.

My posts all this week have discussed the high-level definition of media literacy, and points that parents should not ignore when it comes to their childrens’ media diet. However, I don’t want to give the impression that all media is bad–it’s not all garbage! Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Program

Talk About It!

Having regular family TV time allows you to get inside their active little heads to find out how the stories presented in various programming are affecting/influencing your kids. Did the main character do the right thing? What decisions would they make in the same situation?

We can’t protect our children from all forms of predatory advertising and slick media tricks, but you can go a long way into helping your kids make better choices in their media diet by:

– Having open discussions to speak freely about the TV programming they watch
– Educating them about manipulative media tactics
– Restricting the amount of time, TV channels and sites they visit (substituting it with face-to-face fun with family and friends)
– Talking about advertising (as related to the 5 key questions and how your kids feel/what they think about a product after viewing the ads)

How can you help your kids or students become more media literate? Check out the video and a few resources below.

Parent/Educator Resources

Children and Media (PBS)
A Thin Line (MTV – anti-bullying)
Cable in the Classroom
Center on Media and Child Health
C-Span Classroom Deliberations (politics)
Media Literacy: 21st Century Skills All Students Need (ASCD)
Strategies for Introducing Media Literacy in Your School