Kids learn a lot from the media, not all of it good

Little Kids Aren’t Supposed To Talk Like This, But They’re Going To If Parents Don’t Watch Out. The Huffington Post, December 30, 2013.

A brief article along with a clever but telling video from Common Sense Media meant to dramatize a serious concern about how kids absorb words and expressions not just from parents and older siblings and peers, in a manner that is quite common, but also from the media. This fits nicely into my idea about how the media has become the parent.

As I’ve said often in my writing, there are a number of ways that the media influences kids. One is in the area of role modeling, both in terms of characters whom kids come to admire and in terms of stars like Rihanna or Miley Cyrus, whom they want to emulate.

Also, there is the matter of story lines they internalize. Comedy, romance, action movie, and other genres become the way they see the world. Next comes the area of values, morals, ethical standards. The idea here is that if their role models and the story lines they internalize glorify violence or impulsive sex, they the kids have a problem.

But a final area of concern of mine is language development I am often amused at how many kids mouth certain phrases they hear in movies or TV shows. But when the language either turns foul or implies hatred or vengeance or devious intent, then the parents have a problem in needing to correct not just the child’s language but also the underlying value code.

In short, with media now blanket-bombing our children’s psyches 24/7, parents often can find themselves in the position of putting out fires after the bombing has already transpired. This is not a strong position from which to be parenting.