If you are what you eat does that mean that your teen is what they hear on their iPod and watch on TV? For the most part I believe they are.
The media is a powerful influence in our lives and I believe in censorship for that exact reason. Not extreme censorship but censorship nonetheless. I also believe that censorship starts at home. I believe parents have the first and final say about what their teen can freely indulge in or engage in. Parents need not wait for permissions from a school system or movie rating agency to allow their teens to read a certain book or buy a ticket to the theatre.
I don’t believe that parents should shelter their children so much that they are unable to cope in society but parents should protect the minds and spirits of their children from abusive and negative influences.
Let’s face it, the way society or the media solves problems may not be the way you want your teen to solve their problems. When your teen is faced with an ethical dilemma or feeling a bit sad don’t you want them to have a treasure chest of hope from which to reference? Most parents do.
We all have different ideas of what is appropriate for our households based on our beliefs and even the maturity of our teens. Parents may choose to take the “everything in moderation” approach in some instances but other things may be non-negotiable. That is our right in a democratic society. So, instead of telling you what not to do, I will make suggestions on what you can do to limit the negativity your teen hears and sees in the media.
- Establish family values, traditions, and norms
- Limit the time your teen spends watching TV, listening to music, and playing video games
- Make time each week to watch TV, listen to music, or play video games that your teen is interested in
- Analyze media stereotypes and views with your teen
- Help your teen build a positive support system
- Expose your teen to different opportunities and activities