Media, today, is blamed for all the evils that plague our society. However, little do we realize that media is our own creation. Much like money, media and technology can be a great servant, but a disastrous master too. Controlling the impact of media on our teenagers is in our own hands, or rather fingertips as the case may be.
Rewind back to the days when you would switch on the television to ensure your little one finishes her meals without a fuss. Come back to today, and with a little surprise you realize that the practice still continues.
Impact of Media on your Teen
Understand the impact of media on your teen, before you even move anywhere close to getting into the steps to curb usage.
Greater emphasis on the physical aspects:
Today, media has evolved in such a way that it puts a lot of emphasis on the physical appearance of an individual – people who are fit and gorgeous, stereotypes that make us laugh, non-typical people being made fun of and so on. So, is it any surprise that we see the whole thing reflected in college campuses across the world today. The way kids dress, carry themselves, talk to one another, is all a reflection of what media portrays – and this need not necessarily be bad. However, unfortunately, the manifestation so far has not been very encouraging.
Kids use less intellect:
Media has a very repetitive quality to it, and it is easy to get lost in the rut of the mundane there. Be it random chat windows and the hook of constantly responding to messages, watching a silly soap opera- all these make them use their own intellect lesser. It has also been proved that excessive exposure to the media results in lower academic performance among kids.
Media also earns its bad reputation from the fact that it makes people lazy, lethargic and therefore, prone to various diseases. Obesity is on the rise because people keep themselves glued to the television, or the computer for hours. In addition, the myths perpetrated by media about eating practices, or the craze to get thinner or about how cool is eating junk food, increases the dilemma by leaps and bounds. The reasons are varied, but solutions very few.
How you can Actually Change the Habits in your Kids
Schedule non-media days:
Try and begin with scheduling of non-media days. This happens when all of you step out of your home or do something together without carrying a single gadget with you – and that includes your own mobile phone. A camera would be fine on such occasions, if you want to capture the memories. Ensure that you plan the day well, and everybody enjoys so that its recurrence will not be frowned on.
Pitch in activities of interest:
Notice what your teen is consuming in terms of media content. Now, try and find an on-ground substitute for this. For eg. If online games are the destination, see if there are any interesting activities in the malls close by, that can prove as a distraction. Summer camps is one way by which you could get your teen’s adrenaline pumping.
Placement of media gadgets:
Ensure, you do not place the television or computer in the kids’ bedrooms. This way, you do not run the danger of them being hooked on it until the wee hours of the morning, thereby not getting adequate rest, and also you would be able to monitor the content consumed.
Media, when used intelligently, can be a great tool to prompt academic excellence and holistic development. The main aspect that we need to instill in our teens is the understanding of correct usage of time and the benefit of limiting media usage. Primarily, they need to discern between the right and wrong, and the good and bad.