Friday, December 17

Media, Entertainment, and Kids

media and entertainment
Effect of media and entertainment on kids can be positive but unfortunately the negatives far outweigh the positives. Violence and children should ideally be on opposite poles but in reality the two have met and merged to dangerous levels. 

And this is mainly due to the violence in media and entertainment and its effects on kids. And this violence has an even more disastrous effect--the loss of respect for life

media and entertainmentRespect for life needs to be consciously cultivated in the modern scenario. The very concept of respect has lost relevance, especially where life and living are concerned. This is mainly because various media and forms of entertainment, among other sources, have descended into a kind of competition in belittling the sanctity of life. Murder, violence, maiming, death, car crashes, burning to death, stabbing, or cracking the human skull have all entered the realm of entertainment and mass media. There is no room in any of these childish pursuits for any respect for life.

TV Violence and Children

Violence easily enters the picture whether it's a simple video game or a funny movie, TV show or plastic toy. So much so that kids these days have become desensitized to this sort of violence and don't even cringe. According to reliable sources on the effects of TV violence on kids, the average American kid would have watched over 200,000 acts of violence by the time he/she is 18 years of age. And that's just TV we're talking about. Even media and entertainment programs oriented towards a young audience have rising levels of violence. 

respect for all life
The tragedy of the whole issue is that while kids have become desensitized to the gruesome violence, parents have become immune to the quoting of such statistics, totally ignoring the warning they attempt to sound. Most parents and caregivers do not make the connection between acts of violence and their impact on life. The simulated violence that kids are being daily fed in varying doses have come to be unquestionably accepted as a natural and even unavoidable part of modern media and entertainment. 

Kids then cannot be blamed for resorting to violence to solve issues, deal with problems, and take out frustrations. After all they see it happen on TV, in video games, and in real life from street corner gang fights to countries declaring war and bombing other nations. In short they grow up to believe implicitly that violence is the answer to most problems. Well, it is not. Violence is wrong and bad whether simulated, in the news, or in real life drama. It is to be abhorred, rejected, not resorted to, whatever the temptation. 

What Parents Can Do 

respect for life
Life, or living, is not a concept that children come to an understanding till later on as they grow older. You can contribute immensely to this sensitive and beautiful phase by pointing out the wonder in an opening bud, a moving worm, or a flying bird. Talk to them about the force that makes them move and grow, and inculcate in their little hearts a respect for that.

Let them know and absorb the awesome fact that humans are not the only ones to have the wonderful gift of life. Show them pictures of the under water world, a bird's nest, a larva, pictures of pre-historic animals, and place humans as a tiny part of the entire scenario.

children and respect for lifeA first visit to the zoo, an aquarium, or bird park should preferably be with you as a guide, rather than as part of a school group, where the focus may be entirely on fun. The latter has its own benefits, but the former is what makes you and the values you impart an integral part of your kid's childhood memories. 

It is an opportunity to make children aware of animals as living, feeling beings and not just a source of entertainment. They are not just zoological objects, but living creatures who feel happy, sad, pain, playful, scared, bored, hungry, and thirsty like the rest of us. Encourage them to watch programmes that promote this view. 

Once they understand the value of life in all forms, you may, hopefully, be successful in  neutralizing the bad effects of media and entertainment on kids. 

All Photographs Courtesy

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