Monday, June 23, 2008

The Media and Your Child

Do you know how much the media is influencing your child? Many parents don't understand the negative impact that television, music, magazines and movies may have on their children. Do you?

Parenting is harder today than ever before because your child is being bombarded with violence, sex and a lack of values. Today, with cable and satellite television, children have a huge choice of TV stations. Maury Povich, “judge” shows or other reality television are now what's "on" when most children get home from school. Is your child watching?

The average household in the United States watches over 8 hours of television a day and 40,000 commercials a year. That’s a lot of television and over 300 hours of commercials. Commercials are generally made to sell something and sex sells. 70% of television programming includes sexual content but only 14% of shows refer to sexual risks or responsibilities. With those kinds of statistics, it shouldn't be a surprise that children who watch more television have a higher probability of engaging in early sexual activity. Those same children are more likely to become obese and prone to violence. Society today has virtually no moral bottom; and that's what is reflected on television, movies and in a great deal of music. If you don't instill the values in your child, they'll pick them up somewhere.

You can't stop the media from enticing your child, but you can limit the exposure and gain more control by doing the following;

- Manage the monitors in your home by setting daily limits for TV, video games and the Internet.
- Know what video games your children play and what Internet sites they visit.
- Provide balance by supporting non-monitor activities such as reading, puzzles and board games.
- Communicate and live your values while managing your child’s expectations.
- Set limits, enforce them and be consistent.

Your role is vital in managing the media to which your children are exposed and you can't leave that job to your children. You should be your child's role model and you must be the example you want your child to see. More often than not, your children are a reflection of you. You may be the difference between your child being a success; or just being. Manage those monitors and instill the important values in your child so Jerry Springer doesn't have to.

Most of it is up to you. You can do it!

"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try."
Beverly Sills

Maurice Arthur is the author of "A Black Man Thinking: Volume 1 – Raising Children."
ISBN: 978-0-9788340-0-5

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