Saturday, May 10, 2014

4 Ways to become a Media Savvy Family

This is from a newspaper article about media consumption within the home.  I found it helpful.

In addition to an increasing violent or sexual nature of video games, film, and television, the addiction and overconsumption of media continues to grow—especially with the youth—making it necessary for families to set parameters in their own homes.

Drawing from a study of more than a thousand youth between the ages of 13 and 17, Dr. Manning said that 41 percent of those teens reported feeling addicted to their cell phones. Another study showed that youth in the United States ranging from age 8 to 18 consume entertainment media for an average of 7.5 hours a day.
“And when you look at their multitasking abilities, they actually pack 10 hours and 45 minutes of content into that seven and a half hours,” said Dr. Manning. And these numbers are going up as the youth enter college, according to another study.

1. Become aware of how and what media is being used within the home.
“What if the only thing people knew about you was your media profile—a detailed log of everything you watch, read, listen to, pin, or blog?” she asked.
Would a person’s online profile match his or her values, priorities, and relationships? A simple week-long log of media consumption can tell people what their media intake says about them and what actions will be needed to have that reflect their priorities.

2. Be mindful of what is being consumed.

“So often we are on autopilot,” she said. “We must become more mindful of what we are doing and why. … We must be more conscious and awake. Things that are coming into our lives that are really toxic over time can lead us off the path of where we want to be.”
Just as an individual or family trying to eat healthfully might spend time looking at a food label, Dr. Manning said that they can also do this with their media consumption.
“A media-savvy family discusses their media guidelines and expectations together,” she said.
Parents should set the guideline and then explain why it is the standard. Media pledges are one way parents can discuss what is appropriate and establish clear standards.

3. Plan media-free time.

Before the explosion of technology, people could come home from their scheduled activities and have a break from social pressures and outside influences. With the media available today there is an always accessible outlet to social media. By planning media-free time, families will have a break from the “digital stress” that often accompanies the constant online pressures.

4. Seek out the best; reject the bad.

“We need to train our ears and eyes to recognize high-quality media,” she said. “What will we do to arm our young people to recognize high-quality media? … Do not assume they just automatically know.”
Discussions of why certain standards and values are important help family members to understand why they would want to be more careful with their media choices.
“What we need to understand as leaders and parents and educators is that our youth aren’t automatically transferring life skills offline to life skills and virtual citizenship online. These need to be made more concrete and clear for them. …
“[As] we focus on life skills, develop relationships in our families, and clarify values, it also bolsters virtual citizenship, becoming people of integrity whether we are online or offline.”

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