Teachers' Day Contest: Influence Of Media

The influence of the media on the development of children is profound. Child's exposure to media is unlimited. Educators have responsibility to provide guidance on age appropriate use of all media, including television, radio, music, video games and the Internet. Media hypes the basic facts of information and presents them so as to increase the superficial appeal of things.

Media emphasizes money and glamour aspects, film stars, models and the successful men and women in the field of sports arts and politics.

Beneficial effects include early readiness for learning, educational enrichment, opportunities to view or participate in discussions of social issues, exposure to the arts through music and performance, and entertainment. Harmful effects may result from sensationalization of violent behavior, exposure to subtle or explicit sexual content, promotion of unrealistic body images, presentation of poor health habits as desirable practices, and exposure to persuasive advertising targeting children.

Parental monitoring is a key factor, since the research studies show that increasing guidance from parents is at least as important as simply reducing media violence. Children may learn negative behavior patterns and values from many other experiences as well as TV programs, and parental guidance is needed to help children sort out these influences and develop the ability to make sound decisions on their own.

An important media literacy skill, which can be developed through parental guidance, is a child's ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy in media messages. Children may not be capable of making this distinction without an adult's help, resulting in a child's confused perception of fantasy as reality. But with proper adult guidance, they can learn to critique what they view and become more discriminating consumers of media.

There are two important factors that must be included in the discussion of media influence on children. One factor, called media literacy. Just because our students can use media and technology doesn't mean they are effective at critically analyzing and evaluating the messages they receive. Students need a set of skills to ask important questions about what they watch, see, listen to and read. Often called media literacy, these skills include the ability to critically analyze media messages and the ability to use different kinds of communication technologies for self-expression and communication. A child who is media illiterate is more vulnerable to being influenced by messages in all kinds of media.

The second factor that can affect how children are influenced by media is the amount of parental involvement in supervising media exposure of children. Television has the potential to generate both positive and negative effects. An individual child’s developmental level is a critical factor in determining whether the medium will have positive or negative effects. Exposure to violence, inappropriate sexuality, offensive language and obesity are negative effects on child behavior. With prolonged viewing, the information shown on television