You, Your Child and the Media: Relationship is the Operating Principle

Here is the conclusion of our discussion on this important topic…We conclude with the last set of the 10 principles to consider:

7. Regulate media exposure: It is your responsibility to regulate children’s media exposure. Experts have advised that televisions, computers, video games should not be in children’s bedrooms, turn off the TV during dinner.  If you read the experience of Joshua Cooke shared above, you will find that he watched ‘The Matrix’ in his room. He said concluding his testimony, which I shared earlier, sometimes I would play them 12 to 15 hours a day without leaving my room. I would have food and all kinds of things stashed in my room so I wouldn’t have to leave.’ The question I ask myself is, where were the parents when was Joshua was busy doing himself in with this toxic media contents.Apart from the foregoing we must cut down on the time our children spend with the media. Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality and EDUCATIVE content,   encouraging ‘EDUTAINMENT.’ According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, children under two years of age should not be exposed to the television at all and children older than two should not watch more than one to two hours a day of quality programming. Their reasoning is informed by the fact that the first two years of life are considered a critical time for brain development.

8. Create Healthy Alternatives: ‘an idle hand is the workshop of the devil.’ Therefore it is not enough for us to regulate media exposure; we must create healthy alternatives which will engage our children. I believe we should encourage our children and teen to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play. I advise that we also encourage reading of books, newspapers, educative games like Scrabble, Monopoly etc. Kindly note that one of the ways to teach our children to read is to read with them. This principle also applies to everything we want to teach our children. We must teach by demonstration.

9. Relationship is the operating principle: if you have followed all the principles I have shared carefully, you will discover that they all answer to time. Permit me to submit that except we spend time to build meaningful relationship with we cannot play the regulatory role in the life of our children in any area of their lives. Our wisdom without time does not work with our children. So is our time without wisdom does not hold any positive promise for our children. Many primary custodians have delegated their responsibilities to secondary custodians like schools, house help and relatives. My fellow faciltitator on this session, Hillary Clinton said and I quote, ‘It’s time to turn the TV off and spend more time with our kids. Time is what every child wants and needs. We live in a fast world, where slowing down to spend time with our families is hard to do-unless we make it a priority. Our children are our greatest gift, our greatest responsibility, our greatest test…It’s time for us to look into our children’s eyes and remember what’s important.’

10. Formation of pressure group: I think primary and secondary caregivers of like minds should come together to form a formidable advocacy group which will stand up to educate parents about their pivotal roles in protecting their children from the dire consequences of negative media. I find a template of what I recommend in a US-based organization, known as Parents Television Council. The advocacy body exists ‘to provide parents with the tools they need to make informed television viewing decisions. We do this by monitoring primetime television shows on broadcast TV and reviewing many PG and G rated movies. We log all content that could be considered questionable by parents and we give them traffic light ratings according to the amount of sex, violence, and profanity incorporated into the series or film.’

The focus of the body which was founded in 1995 is further revealed by Wikipedia thus, council activities include attempts to hold advertisers accountable for the content of the programs they sponsor, encouraging the development of what the council considers to be “responsible, family-friendly ” entertainment, pressuring broadcasters to stop and/or limit television content the council claims to be harmful to children, as well as pressuring cable operators to unbundle cable channels so consumers can pick and pay for only the channels they want to watch.’

I believe pressure group of this nature will serve two purposes in our own clime. The first is that it will educate parents on the impact of negative media on their children. The truth of the matter is that many parents are not aware of their roles not to talk of being equipped to play such role. The second is that this kind of pressure group will agitate to get the regulatory bodies to perform their statutory responsibilities to the citizens of our great nation. I urge parents to begin to look in this direction immediately and take action without further delay.

Permit me to conclude that it is not enough for primary and secondary caregivers to claim that children are protected. Child protection is not a matter of wishful thinking. If child protection must be real, it must rest on the existence of a protective environment, which must be deliberately created by the primary and secondary custodians. A protective environment is palpable and tangible. It can be evaluated. It has three inevitable components: the first is a strengthened and an empowered family; the second is custom, which talks about carefully articulated rules and values, which protect children; the last is legislation. Legislation does not stand on its own; it must be used by the people and for the people to use and insist on its enforcement, they must be aware that it exists. If the people, who are in charge of our children as primary and secondary caregivers are not aware of the existing laws protecting children, there is a big shadow of doubts on whether children are protected under their care.  Today I charge to deliberately ask yourself as a primary or secondary caregiver if you can beat your chest that the children under your care are being raised in a protective environment.  I do not think there is a better way to sign out from here than to share the thought of Hillary Clinton as she opined, ‘bombarding kids with sexual messages on TV, in music, everywhere they turn…Adults are not fulfilling their responsibility to talk to young people about the future, about how they should view their lives, about self-discipline and other values they should have…It’s not birth control, but self-control.’

Thank you for visiting…Do have an INSPIRED day…I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s