By Pam Myers, BS.Ed.
Many of you may have heard the report from various sources regarding the amount of time kids spend using some form of media device. I will be investigating various aspects of this article in the coming months.
I am a child of the 50’s when radio, record players and TV were the main sources of media entertainment within the home. I spent most of my day playing outside, climbing trees, riding my bike, roller skating and playing games with my friends. I would come in and sit on the floor in front of our radio and listen to kids programs that allowed me to create my own mental pictures created by sound effects and great story telling. I also had a variety of long playing records that kept me entertained for hours. We got our first TV around 1951 and I loved watching Sheriff John at lunch while eating a grilled cheese sandwich and soup and at night my parents and I would watch variety shows, I Love Lucy, My Little Margie or December Bride. The subject matter was pretty innocuous and much was left to the imagination. Most programming was live and simple in comparison to today’s amazing technical advances in the industry.
Now I am 63 and find myself yearning for the old days. Dont get me wrong, I love High Def TV, creative editing and the ability to receive information almost instantaneously. However, I believe the media has become a double edged sword that has the potential of being useful, informative and entertaining or destructive. Prime time TV is saturated with adult subject matter and the news oftentimes presents disturbing, graphic images that are hard for most mature adults to process. Our participation and monitoring of our children’s media useage is crucial. They need advocates and guidance with all the choices that are before them.
We can have quality family time while watching TV together to explain some of the seemingly unexplainable things they are hearing and seeing. Listening to what they are exposed to on the radio and monitoring the movies they are seeing are essential. This is a great time to bond and exchange ideas and viewpoints on issues. We can also share with our kids some of the fun things we used to watch or listen to when we were kids no matter what generation. It can help them understand us a little better and possibly help provide other healthier choices for entertainment. Check out Amazon.com.(50’s, 60’s, 70’s TV) and find the shows that you remember best or heard your parents talking about. If your child has access to a computer, uses a cell phone, watches TV or listens to radio, I encourage you to join me on my blog to consider in more depth the influence of media on our kids today. By the way, what are your kids doing right now? Stay tuned and stay informed.