What goes in…

The old saying… “What Goes In… Must Come Out” is especially true for our kids. Media consumption for the average pre-teen is WAY UP, while parents available free time is WAY DOWN.  The net result… our kids are absorbing thousands of hours of television, video and music each year without a parents protective presence to monitor what they watch and hear!

thechart.blogs.cnn.com

thechart.blogs.cnn.com

“We often note that children and teens spend more time with media than they do in any other activity except—possibly sleeping.In fact, the average time spent with screen media among 8- to 18-year-olds is more than twice the average amount of time spent in school each year (Sources; Common Sense Media.org 2012, Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010; National Center for Education Statistics, 2008).

Recent studies with Pediatric Psychologists and US Medical Universities, suggest the amount of pre-teen media consumption is up to 7.5 hours each day and trending higher! Such behaviors pose significant problems for pre-adolescent educators, pediatric health (Obesity) and attention deficit disorders !

For families of faith, we have an additional issue to consider… the development of a moral compass for our pre-teens. It’s a major problem confronting modern families who recognize we can’t just ‘ban” all electronic devices from our lives, in a futile attempt to avoid the dangers of media!

So what can concerned parents do?

1- Set some healthy boundaries;  It’s your home, protect it as a ‘safe’ place for your family. Keep TV’s and wireless devices with unfettered access to the web and video in the common areas of your home. Family room, kitchen etc…. remove the opportunity for pre-teens to have ‘private’ viewing or gaming areas in your home. Be clear with the rules you have on what’s acceptable content for them. PG-13 / TV 14 – language – sexuality – violence… etc.

2- Watch and listen; Be familiar with what your child is reading, watching and listening to. Keep a running conversation with them about their favorite artists, TV shows and books. Make a point to watch movies with them, understand the ideas and themes that capture their attention.

3- Construct a Media Filter; Sit down regularly to watch popular movies, TV shows and videos with your pre-teen. As you do, take the time to gently point out where the false realities of video production edits exist; point out where directors create unrealistic life scenarios that seem to be ‘true. Comment on ‘half-truths’ and total fantasy, ask your pre-teen to start to notice the seemingly ‘perfect families, with ‘perfect complexions, hair and the latest in designer outfits all while living socially popular lives without the limitations of finances etc.

interhomeopathy.org

interhomeopathy.org

As tweens get better at ‘noticing’ the fake superficial stuff, dig a little deeper. Note the morality being portrayed as ‘normal”, point out the rationalization of sin and the subtle vilification of anyone who suggests a moral code of conduct in the story-line. In time, they will begin to catch on for themselves, and start to “FILTER” the lies and half-truths from the real. 

The long-term goal of every parent is to help our kids navigate the transition from child to adult safely. As Christians, we also hope to transfer our faith and the basic truths behind our biblical heritage.

Helping our kids learn to sort through the mass of media they consume is an ESSENTIAL issue for modern parents to wrestle with and adapt to.

May God give us all extra wisdom and strength as we parent this generation into a new digital age!

Pastor B.

 

 

Cyber Bullies

You hear the horrific stories of 12-13-14 year olds who take their own lives as a last resort from being bullied. Overwhelmed and devastated by the shame, hate & ridicule of their classmates. Seems extreme until you factor in the 24/7/365 nature of technology and a new tween culture of instant communication and social development. Strange days indeed….

Spencer Kane - iShinelive.com

Spencer Kane – iShinelive.com

A friend of mine at iShine is Spencer Kane (Ft. Wayne IN) who struggled with his own abuse as a tween and used it to turn his life into a positive direction with music and sports, helping other kids who feel… displaced, isolated and alone.

His first EP was just released and titled “Be one of the Kind” in a direct attempt to throw troubled and bullied kids a life line and to challenge other kids to be more aware of their own actions impact on others. Spencer is one of the good guys, as a sophomore in High School he gets it and if your tween is struggling, make sure you check out his encouraging music, testimony and support for families struggling with Cyber-bullies.

Bottom line, if you have a tween – ask them about cyber-bullies. Don’t assume because they haven’t talked openly about it, they are not struggling with it. Remember as our kids make the unavoidable hormonal – identity challenging transition from child to adult, they are more at risk than ever. Cyber Bullying is not a new fad, it’s a new tech-generation danger that parents need to add to the list of “real threats” to protect their kids from.

I have copy/pasted the recent blog from CommonSenseMedia.org below on the subject of bullying and ask that you take the time to read it or share it with someone you know who might need it.

Blessings, Pastor B.

October: National Bullying Prevention Month —————

 Join the movement to end bullying by sparking kindness and compassion at an early age.
 October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an effort led by The PACER Center to raise awareness of bullying prevention through events, activities, outreach, and education. That — and the recent death of teenagers like Rebecca Sedwick — force us to take a hard look at what’s happening with our kids, not only on the playground but at home, on the computer, on mobile devices, and everywhere else they’re turning to connect with their peers.

 

Check out the resources below for guidance, tools, and even entertainment to help teach kids to be kind, prepared, and proactive in changing the landscape. It’s up to all of us.

Tips for Parents

Resources for Educators

Tools for Kids

Whether your kid is 2 or 12, your being informed and taking a proactive role in her complex online life is key. It’s not just about turning off devices or encouraging responsible use. It’s about creating a culture of empathy, starting at home. It’s about knowing what to say and do when your kid is at risk, monitoring (without spying), and knowing the difference between bullying and just “kids being kids.”

We hope you’ll share these resources with others who care about kids.

Author- Taryn Degnan – Common Sense Media’s Interactive Marketing Manager