10 ways to be a media savvy parent (and teach your kids too)
Be it print, radio, television or the internet, media has such a huge impact on the lives of children that parents need to learn how to use these mediums to their advantage. Parents who are media-savvy raise kids who are well-informed and aware of what is happening around them.
1. Set an example – Parents often scold their children about watching the TV or playing video games the whole day but they often neglect to heed their own warnings. If your children are around, do not let them see you watching TV or facing your computer for hours on end. Enjoy your kids and do an activity that all of you will enjoy instead.
2. Watch news together – Shielding your children from different violent incidents in the world is a good idea. However, it could also make them ignorant and one-sided. As soon as your kids are old enough, involve him in news watching though you might want to skip the gorier stuff first. Explain to him why this and that is happening and let him ask questions. All these will help him have better understanding on the goings on in the society.
3. Make parenting controls your best friend – If your child is already adept in surfing the internet and YouTube, take advantage of the parent controls by setting them in advance. These parenting controls filter particular sites and videos that have mature content and are not safe for children. With these controls in check, you don’t have to worry about your kid looking at anything that is inappropriate for their age.
4. Sing it – Does your child have a favorite song already? Don’t forget to check the lyrics. Aside from looking out for explicit words, do not forget to review the overall theme of the song. Even Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s songs have certain themes that may include infidelity, abuse and the likes. Before explaining things, ask your child about her understanding of these songs and go from there.
5. Be a cartoon freak – If your kids are watching cartoons, try hard to watch it with them. Some cartoon shows may not have violent scenes or nasty language but they may set bad examples due to their behaviour and how they treat others.
6. Bring in the Oldies – This 2013, allow your children to experience the songs and movies of the yester years. If she is fond of musicals because of Disney’s High School Musical, introduce her to the King and I, Sound of Music and the likes. Immersing her in different music and movie genre would make her a more versatile and well-rounded individual.
7. Digital Code of Conduct – Most children have their own cellphones and tablet these days and their attention is greatly absorbed by these. Don’t let this happen to your children by establishing a certain digital code of conduct like not using these gadgets while eating together with the family and while doing homework, allowing you to borrow these items at any time and more.
8. Be versatile – Aside from just watching news on TV, read newspapers and various articles as well. Doing this will not only allow your children to be more socially aware, their reading comprehension and vocabulary will increase as well.
9. Social network watch – Ask your children if they are registered in any networking sites. Check their status updates, photos, videos and other stuff that they have uploaded. Remind them to be always careful in whatever they may post and to always stick to age appropriate topics to avoid getting into trouble.
10. Talk about it – You cannot watch your school children 24/7 so make it a habit to ask her about her day in school and with her friends. Ask about the games and books that she has played and read. This way, you can subtly check if she had only been immersed in age-appropriate things all day. In turn, share to her about your day at work or at home too.
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