The powerful media is considered a leading influence in our society both directly and indirectly. Media is available and readily accessible today more easily than ever. Printed materials, television, sound recordings, internet, and radio all fall under the umbrella of the big bad – or seemingly bad word – media. Is media bad? How is it controlled? And where does this all stem from…? These are some of the major concerns parents are faced with in raising children in today’s times.
Although most of our media appears to be superficial and meaningless fluff, violence and chit chat, it is also a source of education, humor and non-violent entertainment. Both salesmen and individuals wishing to promote various things have at some point made use of the different forms of the media. They have used the media to promote what people should wear, eat, do and even value. The media informs us what is occurring around the world and how to react to the events shown. The affects of media will vary with a child’s age and stage of development. (Barbour, Barbour & Scully, 2008)
It has been discovered that American children of today’s times spend nearly as much time with TV, computers, and other media as they do in their classrooms. Studies have shown that an average American child spends more than five hours using the media per day, and children 8 and older use the media and hour and 15 minutes more daily. “This is a wake-up call. It says media use is a major force in an American child’s development and socialization, and we don’t know enough about it,” said Ellen A. Wartella, the dean of the college of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. Wartella disagrees with those who claim parents are the greatest influences on their children. “I think we need to add media to the list.” (Kiesewetter & Kranz, 1999)
Media violence and its effects on children was the first area in which extensive scientific research was done. A study was conducted on 3,155 children ages 2-18, in regard to the impact of media on society. The survey was done by The Kaiser Family Foundation, and independent national healthcare philanthropy, and the results appeared alarming. Children ages 8 and above, 65% have a bedroom TV and 21% have a bedroom computer. Of all kids, in all ages in our society 69% have a computer at home and 45% with internet access. One of the many results researchers were surprised to hear that of the children ages 8 and above, 61% live in homes without any rules regarding TV and internet usage. Many researchers and educators were alarmed with the extreme results and the percentage of time children spend watching television. They believe there is a connection between too much media consumption and violence or acting out among children. (Barbour, et al, 2008) (Clark & Blackwell, 2002)
In the discussions regarding the influences media presents to our society two important factors must be included. On factor, called media literacy was addressed by an...