As we see technology advancing daily, parenting has become more difficult and challenging. Today, children are strongly influenced by technology, media, internet, television, movies etc. It has become very important for parents to guide their children age appropriately to media exposure.
Today, media is one of the strongest influencers that can be used to guide and develop children but at the same time it can have a negative impact on them. The effects of movies, television and other media influence the health and the wellbeing of their mind.
Let us look at “How the Internet and Media influences our Children “.
Television has one of the strongest influences on children’s life. They watch cartoons, movies, advertisements and are easily influenced by them. Whatever they see on reel life is easily believed and implemented.
These are some useful tips which you may want to follow:
- Limit the television viewing time.
- Be careful about what children watch. Violence, sexual adult programs etc., should be avoided.
- Advertisements influence their young minds and they want to try and use everything they see.
- Try watching age appropriate channels like national geographic, animal planet etc., which can help in their learning and development
- Watch programs that promote healthy eating, good nutrition and exercise.
- There are many programs that help students to study for their academics. Tell your children to watch these programs which will help them understand maths, science etc. For e.g., there are many educational channels on YouTube.
- Eating in front of the television should be strongly discouraged.
- Young teenage girls are greatly influenced by anorexic models, which is really harmful.
Movies are a good source of communicating a message. Good movies make us aware of things that we can learn from or become aware of situations around us. Movies can also be around education.
Children love movies such as Lion King, Jurassic park, Zootopia and other fairy tales, which are full of entertainment. Children try to live in a fantasy world. We as parents need to tell them the difference between fantasy and real life.
Clean comedy movies are enjoyable by the entire family. Watch movies wherein you can teach your child good values as well as things which can inspire and motivate them.
Action, violence, horror, romantic and sexual movies should be completely avoided. Today, we find that every movie is loaded with violence and sex. Sex and violence observed at an early age in life can have a bad influence on children. Children watching rape, murder, suicide, aggression and violent behaviour try to imitate it.
Exposing children to sex in movies makes children think that premarital sex is fine, risk free and can be done without the risk of any grave consequences. Children are not even aware of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases etc., which can affect their lives permanently.
Constant viewing of these kinds of movies can lead to emotional disturbance, physical abuse, rebellion, depression, addiction to alcohol, drugs and even to having suicidal thoughts.
Doctors have clearly advised parents to coax their children to avoid watching violent movies, as the same can lead to aggressive behaviour. Consumption of alcohol, drugs and smoking has increased amongst teenagers. They want to try out everything that is projected glamorously on television, without knowing the side effects and impact on their health.
Internet and Social Media.
The Internet has a strong influence on our children today. Many parents are proud that their children can easily navigate the internet and other social media such as facebook etc., on smartphones. Remember the internet is a source of information for a whole lot of things, which includes good and bad. It is important to guide your children and be a wise parent.
Some of the points to be kept in mind are listed below:
- If more amount of time is spend on the internet or in watching television, it can lead to obesity, back problems and other health issues.
- Children need to interact in their actual social circle to build their social behavioural skills. Currently many children are living in the virtual world of who likes them, who is following them etc. If they don’t have enough likes or followings, they get depressed and disillusioned.There is a huge disconnect here, as these are not actual but invisible friends.
- The internet has also become an addiction for many children.
- There is a high potential of children being exposed to pornography and sex talk. Parents need to ensure that their children are protected from over exposure to this information.
Most video games are excessively violent and exhibit anti -social behaviour. In many games you can move to the next level only after killing. More than 70% of the videos reward the players for killing characters. This affects the mental development of the child. Children feel that it is fine to kill, steal and destroy. This leads to a clash of moral ethics and values that parents have been teaching them. Rebellion and disobedience is more likely to set in.
Find out about the video games that you are buying and give your children only those video games which are clean fun.
Music videos today are filled with sex and violence. Explicit double meaning lyrics, attractive models portraying easy sex etc., has been the norm of the day. Children as young as 5 years watch these music videos and movie songs and are thus exposed to vulgarity early in life. Be careful of what your children watch. If necessary shut the television, if some videos with excess sex and violence crops up. Tell them the reason why you are doing it and explain the same to them. Though they may not agree with you, they must be made aware of the same.
As we all know parenting has become challenging and will continue to become more and more difficult in days to come. While you cannot completely shield your child from every wrong thing, a good strong foundation of values, trust and proper communication will always keep them anchored and give them the discernment to make the right choice.
Please read our earlier article How to stop smartphone and technology addiction in children and Parenting challenges in the high tech age
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