My View

My View

By closely examining this issue, I have acquired much deeper knowledge of this subject which I find very relevant in today’s society. I do not regard media as completely damaging, however, if children are not closely watched, they come under a threat of commercial influence through media which can lead to their mental, but also physical, damage.

The typical child consumes eight hours of media per day. (Lee Tahnk, 2016) Author Lawrence Balter (2005) has found a positive correlation between lower income families and the amount of entertainment television programmes watched by children. Although children from higher income families do watch the same amount of television, they tend to watch more educational programmes which are proven to be beneficial for child’s development, such as the Sesame Street. (Paediatric Child Health, 2003) Television can successfully engage with children and improve their knowledge of many subjects and raise their awareness better than any other forms of media. (Camara, n.d.)

Children and youth are capable of using media in a positive way to support or engage positive social change. Millions of young people have engaged in online peer support groups, most of them believing that no person should be bullied because of their background or personality. But although the youth recognizes these problems surrounding media, media enables such action to take place. A majority of the young generation has seen cyberbullying and a majority believe that media allows people to be meaner than they would allow themselves to be in person. Offensive humour shared on the internet, in particular, has been recognized as a major tool for attacking and offending certain groups. (Gardner, 2016)

Another problem with media influence on children is the amount of violence it portrays. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry “Television programs display 812 violent acts per hour; children’s programming, particularly cartoons, displays up to 20 violent acts hourly.”(Beresin, 2016) Media often portrays violence as a way to resolve disputes, justifying crimes which are committed against the “evil” characters. Children can also become desensitized to violence which they see too often.  Even if parents limit the number of violent movies, music videos and video games children are exposed to at home, children can see different forms of media at school, or even outside on billboards and on other forms of advertisements. (Beresin, 2016) Even news coverage of natural disasters, crimes, and other violent acts can have a negative effect on children’s mental health, resulting in children suffering from anxiety and fear of growing up in society. (Camara, n.d.)

Media consumption has also been linked to health problems including child obesity. As children are exposed to commercials of junk food, they can form poor eating habits, which can be hardly weaned. Instead of playing outside, children are also more likely to sit at home, playing on their phones, tablets or watching TV which decreases their physical activity. There has been a rise in the number of children reported to suffer from obesity, which can be detrimental to children’s life later on. (Camara, n.d.)

Nowadays, children are also under threat of losing their privacy. Online safety concerns everyone who is online, however, since children often don’t have a deep understanding of the potential internet threats, parents are key in protecting them from the dangers internet poses. Some parents, sadly, instead of keeping their children out of the social media world, choose to post very personal content on their social websites. Children who are shown on these pictures or videos can later in their life be very conscious and anxious about their past mistakes and behaviours, which can have again a negative impact on their mental health and their confidence. (Fottrell, 2016)

Safer internet use can be achieved through limiting or filtering content children can access or using other means of protection rather than turning children’s connection off completely. (Livingstone, 2016) Parents should engage with children when online, helping them understand what is going on in media as children are exposed to prevent child’s misunderstanding. The time children are exposed to media should also be controlled, maintaining a healthy balance between the digital world and the real one. (Califano, 2011) This way, if parents or guardians follow smart techniques and measures when letting their children use technology, media has a good chance at remaining beneficial to child’s development instead of hindering it.

Works Cited:

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For Further Research

There are many websites with useful information regarding this topic, which maintain updated information about new issues which appear in the news, and also talk about possible solutions and ways to limit the negative impacts of media on children.

One great website is Common Sense, (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/), which was created mainly to help parents with analysing if movies, and other types of media including apps, TV channels and other, are suitable for children and at what ages. It also provides helpful information for parents about their possible concerns with media including cyberbullying, children’s marketing, violence and sex exposure and other possible threats.

A website, which not only provides information for parents about the negative effects of media on children but asks parents and others to act in order to change what children are exposed to, is the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood website (http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/). It provides helpful advice to parents of how to make children less dependent on all kinds of technology and help them separate themselves from the ever-present media influence.

Although more broadly, the American Academy of Paediatrics also provides information about the influence of media on children by providing an academic analysis of the problem. Although they focus on other issues surrounding children and their development, here is the direct link to where they provide information about media: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiative1s/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx.

Another very useful website is the one of Net Family News (http://www.netfamilynews.org/). The website was founded by an experienced journalist Anne Collier and the whole site is based heavily on news articles and blog posts. Through this approach, it provides parents with information which they can read in an easily understandable way, which is well structured and also coherent.  Most of these articles are written by Anne herself, which adds familiarity to the writing and makes the articles relatable.

Current Events III.

Children’s Anxiety disorders.

The brutal truth about the dangerous effects of media on children is that children are not only affected by large corporation advertisements or TV programmes and movies, but they are also in potential threat due to the private action which is taken by adults surrounding them on various social networks. The number of people currently posting pictures of their children or children they come in contact with or writing various articles and blog posts about them is countless.

Last month, there has been a reported case, in New Zealand, of pictures of children having been stolen from a social media account by a woman calling herself to be the children’s mother. But thousands of cases like this one are reported monthly in other countries too, and many parents don’t realize the danger they are putting their children in.

Parents use various social media to “shame” or “make fun of” their children, without their responsible consent. When they grow up, children who get recognized from such photos or videos could have a hard time detaching themselves from their past mistakes and could suffer from social anxiety disorders. This month, a shocking video was uploaded by a father of his child and his primary school friends “twerking” and sexually touching themselves. The father who uploaded the footage on the internet captioned the video as the children “showing off [their] moves”. Not only can these videos and similar pictures damage children’s profiles, it can also make them a target for ever present sexual predators. According to the research done by the American Psychological Association, such sexualisation of young children can further result in them having depression or other emotional consequences or could suffer from eating disorders and commit self-harm as the grow older.

Related Reading:

American Psychological Association. (2016). Sexualization of GirlsApa.org. Retrieved 28 April 2016, from http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/

Biddle, D. (2016). Kids’ pictures an online dangerStuff. Retrieved 24 April 2016, from http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/social-networking/77972895/Stolen-Facebook-pictures-of-children-paraded-on-social-media-account

Ingram, L. (2016). Parents shame their kids with hilarious fail photosMail Online. Retrieved 24 April 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3535052/Parents-shame-kids-hilarious-fail-photos.html

Marshall, P. (2016). Is tackling sexual exploitation of children ‘everyone’s responsibility’?ITV News. Retrieved 24 April 2016, from http://www.itv.com/news/2016-04-19/tackling-sexual-exploitation-of-children-is-everyones-responsibility/

Tufft, B. (2016). Outrage over shocking video showing young Cuban children twerkingMail Online. Retrieved 24 April 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3538088/Outrage-shocking-video-showing-young-Cuban-children-twerking-dancing-provocatively-school-uniforms-parents-proud-display.html