You, Your Child and the Media: Is The Media Evil?

‘I hate what they’ve done to my child…The technique is wonderful. I didn’t even dream it would be so good. But I would never let my children come close to the thing.’ Vladimir Kosmich Zworykin July 29, 1888 – July 29, 1982) a Russian-American inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology expressing his feelings about his children watching television in an interview on his 92nd birthday, news summaries 31 Dec 81

The need for the primary (parents/guardians) and secondary (players at the school and community levels) to understand their roles as the most formidable regulatory bodies in the lives of their children is becoming clearer by the day. I have made that point adequately while discussing 15 facts to consider before you register your child in a school.

There is one major foundational truth why primary and secondary caregivers, particularly parents must become the regulatory bodies in the lives of their children. It is captured in the Ghanaian proverb, which says ‘the ruin of a nation begins in the homes of it’s people.’ It goes without saying that the opposite is also an absolute truth and I render it thus: ‘the prosperity of a nation begins in the homes of it’s people.’  Everything rises and falls on the family. The US-based Parents Television Council submits on their website (www.parentstv.org) and I verily believe their conclusion: We at the Parents Television Council believe parents are the final arbiters of what is and is not appropriate for their child to watch. That is why we strive to provide comprehensive content analysis of every primetime broadcast series so that parents can make informed viewing decisions.’  The foregoing is strengthened by the fact that the state and its machinery have not done too much in playing its traditional roles of being a regulatory body in the protection of children as dictated by the principle of social contract.

The ball will always in the court of the primary and secondary custodians. Permit me to say that the ball will always be more in the court of the parents to stand up for the protection of their children.

It is in the light of the foregoing that I will like to discuss the pressing issue of you, your child and the media. The real question, I seek to ask is that who is parenting your children, you or the media? Before, you ask me the question, how can media parent my children? Permit me to declare to you this universal principle: everyone who has influence on your child is a parent including living and non-living things. Put differently, anyone or anything you expose your children to observe, they will imitate.  That is why we have to be careful the people and things we expose our children to.

In discussing the media, please permit me to define what I refer to as the media to print, electronic, new media and Social Media. Today, the advent of new media and social media has given way to a media revolution, which is characterized by an unprecedented democratization of access to the media in human history. With the telephone and other countless electronic devices both adults and children have unfettered access to the internet and other media platforms. It is no longer news that with the media revolution occasioned by the advent of the new media and social media, the media in its entirety has become Just ONE BUTTON away for all.

The foregoing makes effective regulation to become a very difficult task. I must submit most sincerely that never in the history of mankind has it been difficult for parents to regulate what their children are exposed to. Again, permit me to also submit that never in the history of our world also have parents be unaware of their responsibilities to their children. I guess that is why the recent United Nation Survey, which submits that ‘never in the history of our world has the children been under the kind of siege and abuse they are today,’ must be considered as a piece of information, which stares us in the face with an oracular precision. We can only ignore same at peril of our family and our dear children.

That is why we keep drumming it with every drop of our blood that it is time to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE™. Why? According to Fredrick Douglass ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’ Therefore, it has been our fundamental CREED and approach to Child Protection in the last 16 years that Enlightenment is Superior to Enforcement™.

Is the Media Evil?: I do not think media is evil. In fact, if I must tell you the truth, it is not.  I must admit as a a matter of historical and contemporary fact that Media plays a major role in educating children about their rights and responsibilities.  Article 17 Convention on the Rights of the Child  “States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.”

Permit me to share with you the story of Salman Amin ‘Sal’ Khanas an example of positive media or should I say positive use of the media. He is an American educator and the founder of the Khan Academy, a free online education platform and nonprofit organization. Khan has produced 2871 videos elucidating a wide spectrum of academic subjects, mainly focusing on mathematics and the sciences. As of November 2011, “Khan Academy” had attracted more than 218,000 subscribers.

Permit me to close our discussion here today. I hope to be with you tomorrow. I charge you to Think the Child…Think Today…Think the Future…Do have an INSPIRED day.

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