A good introduction to parents who have never considered how the media forms their children’s values. The central idea here is that kids are plugged into the media for more hours per day than they are in contact with parents or teachers. Not surprisingly the stories they enjoy, the images they absorb as they emanate from the media impact on them emotionally and morally.
Not surprisingly, they begin to see as normal what they see on the screen.
If characters in a TV show or movie are dishonest or brutal or conniving, and they’re attractive and even get away with their behaviors, it seems likely that kids can absorb a confusing message.
As the author of the article, Dr. Jim Taylor, points out, cheating on tests for instance has become more and more common (75%) among kids now versus in 1963 (25%). He links this trend to popular culture messages that present cheating as common, humorous, and acceptable among kids. Pop culture art influences real children’s reality. He ties this trend to the win at any cost mentality of the culture.
This message is much in synch with an important point in my book: The media is parenting our kids and forming their values by normalizing certain behaviors that real parents would find distressing. The media normalizes bullying, violence and teen sex and glamorizes narratives about drug and alcohol consumption. These once atypical behaviors are perceived by kids who swim in a pop culture world as the norm. It may prove hard, if not impossible, for them to unlearn these messages.