MEDIA EXPOSURE AND YOUR KIDS--OUR KIDS
By Kevin Stoda
As many readers know, I became a father last spring, so I am gong to be increasingly concerned with the issue of media and family, child & home. My wife and I, for example, have decided to not have a TV at home for the first few years of our daughter's life.
I was reading an article by R.O. Elloso in the Philippine Panorama. The article was entitled: "Medica Exposure among Children and Adolescents." In it, Elloso reviewed the work of the University of Michigan's Health System on the affects of media exposure on American children, but the information appears to be universal.
The University of Michigan's Health System provides a great website on media exposure's role in childhood development:
In fact, Elloso began his piece by noting, "Years ago, there was a disturbing local news report about a young boy who killed his yaya [nanny] over which TV program to watch. The investigation showed that the boy wanted to have control of the television's remote control. The issue of whether the boy committed the crime because he imitated the violent crimes he saw on TV may still be the subject of speculation. But after the news came out, there have been more cases in the news about copying or imitation of TV program scenes by children and teenagers."
QUERIES FOR THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT SOCIETY & YOUTH
Philippines is a particularly violent place (like the USA and Mexico). For example, just last week one bus was hijacked and 4 people shot to death as revenge for an earlier bus accident (owned by the same company). In that earlier bus accident 4 members of one Filipino family had died, and subsequently, the remaining family members in the region had been upset about the bus companies lack of retribution to the deceased's remaining family members. (Now it is widely believed that one of the families of the deceased--or at least one of its members--was involved in the hostage-taking and murders of bus staff and police.)
That particular intentional murder of 4 bus passengers in retribution of an earlier accident shows that fuzzy thinking and vengeance runs rampant in the Philippines. The murders could only be seen as retribution of some strange sort. Similarly, one day before those 4 murders of bus company personnel, some 8 tourists had been killed in a spectacular--and just as illogical attack--on a busload of Hong Kong passengers in the Philippine's capital. (The hostage taker in that incident was killed in downtown Manila on live TV.
) His reason for taking the bus hostage and killing passengers, too, had little logic in either the long or the short term. The hostage taker was an ex-policemen, who claimed to be seeking justice for himself. Only retribution and fuzzy thinking by the hostage taker and the unsuccessful SWAT teams will be remembered.
My bottom line is to ask of you readers whether (1) television causes illogical thinking as well as (2) brainwashing people to accept and carry out violent acts with (3) less pondering of what they are doing or pondering how much human life is a gift of God?
What is your opinion? Why are spectacular and illogical violent events occurring before our media?
And what role does the media need to play to reform itself ad help families raise their offspring more logically and less violent?
 Although a lot of research has been done on media and its relationship to adolescence and violence, little has been done on sex, sexual knowledge, media and increase sexuality, pregnancy, violence and abuse. "As Escobar-Chaves et al demonstrate with their excellent survey,The Impact of Media on Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, the research to date is scant and the findings are difficultto translate into clinical applications. Less than 1% of the2522 reviewed studies involving media and youth investigatethe association between media use and sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Studies of media exposure indicate that youngpeople are using more media for longer periods of time at youngerages,, and content analyses of television programming showthat the prevalence of sexual content has been increasing overthe past 2 decades. However, there are only 6 publishedresearch reports on the associations between media exposure and attitudes toward or beliefs about sex and only 7 more thatinvestigated relationships between media use and sexual activity.Although their outcome measures differed widely, their findingsare generally consistent: greater exposure to sexual contentin media is associated with more permissive attitudes towardsexual activity, higher estimates of the sexual experience and activity of peers, and more and earlier sexual behavior among adolescents. Although the body of research evidence is small,the findings seem to parallel those for media violence: adolescents accept, learn from, and may emulate behaviors portrayed in media as normative, attractive, and without risk."
See Michael Rich's article on media and sex here.(Rich is concerned with the relationship between media and children's health.
Here is what the American Association of Pediatrics has to say concerning your children.
"It may be tempting to put your infant or toddler in front of the television, especially to watch shows created just for children under age two.
But the AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics says: Don't do it!
These early years are crucial in a child's development. The Academy is concerned about the impact of television programming intended for children younger than age two and how it could affect your child's development. Pediatricians strongly oppose targeted programming, especially when it's used to market toys, games, dolls, unhealthy food and other products to toddlers.
Any positive effect of television on infants and toddlers is still open to question, but the benefits of parent-child interactions are proven. Under age two, talking, singing, reading, listening to music or playing are far more important to a child's development than any TV show."