Keep An Eye On The Media

February 26, 2010 at 7:00 am (Other News) (, , , , , )

Media Devices on StandOriginally from the All Pro Dad website

There’s a lot of talk about kids and television. Ten years ago the average kid swallowed a daily TV dosage of three hours and 47 minutes. You may also know the total reached four hours 29 minutes of daily viewing by 2009.

Eye-popping numbers, yes? But if that’s all you know then you know less than half the story!

“Media” is a lot more than just television. Add two and a half hours of music/audio; then another hour and a half on the computer; now tally the one hour and 13 minutes of video gaming; factor in 38 minutes of print and (on average) 25 minutes of movie watching. It all begins to add up.

All told the grand total for exposure is ten hours and 45 minutes of media – that’s each and every day of your child’s life. (Source: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation “M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds”)

Okay, nice. Now you know. So what? Mix in eight to ten hours of sleep and we’re talking around four hours left over for stuff like learning the values children need in order to deal with ten plus hours of God knows what.

Well God does know. But the question is, do you?

So let’s talk about monitoring; what can we do to keep an eye on media in our children’s lives?

1. Be proactive; take a look: Your kid’s iPod tells a huge story – check out what’s being played; learn the lingo. If you don’t know now then you need to know soon. Make yourself familiar with the iTunes software and make yourself the program administrator.

2. Make friends with your child:“Friend” your child on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter. There is no privacy on the information superhighway and if anyone should have access to your child’s online activity, it’s you.

3. Remember that you’re the parent. First, that means be home and be involved in your kids’ lives with intentionality.  Part of this means controlling all passwords and access codes. If your child is under 18, it’s your job to be in the know. Don’t apologize, but don’t be overbearing either; just be matter of fact.

4. Get to know your kids’ friends and their friends’ parents. Then make sure the friend’s parents know your family’s media standards.

5. Keep all the family computers in public rooms. No exceptions.

6. Be open about your own media habits. Make sure your child can see what you’re up to – what you watch, what you listen to, who you chat with, where you browse, what magazines you read, and what movies you rent.

7. There’s no good reason for TV in a child’s bedroom. “I can’t control what they’re watching” loses credibility when it doesn’t happen behind closed doors.

8. Make clear rules that are reasonable, and then follow through: Let it be known that texts, emails, downloads and social media are not private and – therefore – they’re subject to review. Then follow-through and take a look. Not behind their backs but in the open.

9. The word “OPEN” is the most important word in this list. Open communication; open door; open for conversation; open for questions; open for respect; open for review.

10. Be honest. That means tell your kids what you’re thinking. It’s not about snooping – it’s about not-keeping-secrets. Kids need our help to make the sure they handle media wisely.


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