What Goes in Must Come Out
Children not only learn what they are taught, but they also learn what they see or what they are being “fed”. The Kaiser Family Research found that children between the ages of 8 to 18 years spend 28 hours a week watching television in various forms, including their phones and computers. Additionally, more than 70 percent of these children have TVs in their bedrooms according to the University of Michigan Health System. Due to the advances in technology, children have access to far more damaging material than ever before. Primetime television is riddled with sex scenes, violence and inappropriate language for children. There was a time when children were asleep before shows with this kind of content was aired, but that is no longer the case. What has become apparent is that networks are more concerned with ratings, than they are content.
As an educator, I’m taken aback when my students report to school and ask if I’ve watched Empire, Bad Girls Club, or Power. These shows promote violence, sexual promiscuity, and illegal activities. They sensationalize these activities and can be appealing to a young developing mind. When television, computer, and phone access are not monitored and children are exposed to content that promotes negative influences, how can we be surprised when children mimic the behaviors that they are seeing every day. Households where parents are teaching and modeling desired behaviors, also feel the effects of negative influences from television. As parents, we have to ask ourselves, what is being “fed” to our children on a daily basis. Remember, what goes in, is what comes out.
Here are some questions as parents we may want to ask ourselves:
1. How much time does my child spend watching TV every day?
2. Am I aware of the programming my child is watching?
3. What programs am I watching with my child and are they appropriate for children?
4. How can I monitor what my child is watching?