Today's Media and Our Kids
Let’s face it, for many of us, our memories of play revolved around dolls, trucks, swings, balls, bats, bikes, and perhaps an outside tree-house. We loved to listen to the kids’ request session on Sunday morning radio. We played board games and cards and had friends over to play. So what has changed from those ‘good old days’?
One of the differences between then and now is that so much entertainment today requires no initiative or physical activity. Kids sit and watch movies on TV or watch DVD’s. They play video games, or hand held games. They sit for hours on the Internet, being potentially exposed to adult porn sites or talking in meaningless chat rooms. Why and how did this happen?
I think it has just basically sneaked up on parents. Today we live in such a technological and sedentary world that we have allowed our kids to follow it without question. In the 60’s and 70’s our life-styles were different, with one parent often home to supervise kids’ play time.
And this is precisely the point. The word ‘play’ suggests activity, and kids are getting ‘played to’ instead of the other way around. Just sitting also encourages kids to snack as they watch. Snacks are usually full of saturated fat, salt or sugar. We have a major weight problem with all age groups here in the U.S. and much of it can be attributed to poor diet and lack of activity. We also notice here that many school kids are not given a recess. They go to the cafeteria for lunch and then go back to class.
I have always told my kids that their minds are a blank canvas. Once images are painted on that canvas, they are not easily removed. We need to protect our kids’ minds from negative input. Movies today are far more graphic than we ever knew. TV programs are much more explicit than ever before. Kids’ minds become numbed to the horror of those images. Their brain canvas is painted over and over with violent and extreme images, and we wonder where some kids get such cruel and violent ideas from. A major improvement today, is the positive difference in children’s stories. We were brought up on ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘The Seven Dwarves’, and ‘Punch and Judy’. Why we didn’t have nightmares I will never know! Many children’s stories these days have a much more positive and gentle message.
Reprinted with the permission of Forefront Families. ©2006-2008 Forefront Families. All Rights Reserved.
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