c2005 Timothy Aaron-Styles
Whether through television, film, radio, print, music video or computers, the images and information that your child consumes impacts and influences his/her thoughts, beliefs, values and behavior.
Many scholars believe that human beings are impressed emotionally and psychologically by the characters, stories and scenarios transmitted via the “boob” tube, “on the silver screen,” “over the airwaves” or between the pages of Black and white print. Clothing lines are launched, global fashion trends are established, millions of CDs are sold, aspiring politicians become elected officials, unknown wannabes overnight become instant superstars, while thousands upon thousands of other celebrities are worshipped, idolized, emulated and impersonated all through the power and omnipresence of media.
We have got to do better at being effective guardians and gatekeepers of our children with their access to, and experiences with, media. The television is not just a box filled with electronic impulses, fixed waves or designated frequencies. A film is not merely a certain number of still frames in motion, nor is it just a monetary, “out of this world” fantasy escape from the adversities of the real world or the challenges of the mundane “9 to 5.”
Media can be our best friend in our efforts to raise our children, and positively expand their consciousness or it can be our worst hindrance in our desire and attempts to grow and nurture wholesome, well-balanced offspring.
Monolithic media, like most things in this life, is neither innately good or bad but becomes either through how we as human beings use it/them. How do we use media in our lives? Do we use it to instruct? Enlighten? Empower? Do we use media as a babysitting service? Is it strictly for entertainment purposes? Better yet–do we use media or does media, and those who make and control it, use us?
Media matters significantly in our lives and in the lives of our children. I believe we should consider being more mindful of media’s pervasive presence, its power and potential and govern ourselves accordingly.
It is true that we are what we eat. Whatever we put into our mouths makes its way to our stomachs and eventually becomes part of our physical life force, our blood, and our very own internal computers, our brains. We feed our minds, too. What we take into our minds becomes part of our psyches; our consciousness and some even believe our spirits. Feed your children well. Feed them wholesome, life-nurturing and life-affirming cuisine.
Some–many–argue that media has more influence over how we live; what we believe and value; and what and how we buy, than our parents, our families, our teachers, our religious leaders or our elected officials. If we believe this to be true, and I am a believer, should we not mind and closely monitor those ideas, images and information that we allow our children to feed their psyches? Should caring parents not be more selective of the pictures and language that they allow inside their secure living rooms and within the margins of their children’s sacred bedrooms?
Seemingly simple song lyrics can be extremely dangerous to your daughter. An unsophisticated video image has the potential to destroy your son’s self-identity and his self-worth. Their unsupervised and uncensored access to the (really non-existent) cyber space could put them in harm’s way-mentally, spiritually and even, physically. Media matters significantly in our lives and in the lives of our children.