Kids Safety: Teaching Kids Fact From Fiction In TV ShowsBy Child Safety Specialist Feb 16, 2011 | 10:05:00 amPosted in: Child Safety, Family
Having worked in the entertainment industry for many years I know only too well how words and images on TV can be manipulated during the editing process. I personally have had my words “misconstrued” leaving the viewer believe I had said something completely different than what I really did. And today’s “reality” shows are anything but. Brawls on The Jersey Shore and shockers on The Bachelor are all scripted before the cameras start rolling. So if we as adults can be deceived by what we see on TV, how hard must it be for our kids to discern fact from fiction?
Whether it’s adult shows such as Glee or kids shows such as Drake & Josh, the scenes our kids witness and messages they’re getting are misleading and downright disturbing at times. And it’s not just shows from this generation. My mother is always complaining about how the media and shows are teaching our kids violence but, I have to say, that classic shows such as Gun Smoke and Bonanza aren’t any better, not to mention cartoons like Tom and Jerry and the Road Runner. Most recently my baby proofing company was called in to secure a staircase because the client’s 12 year-old son tried the sledding down the stairs scene from Home Alone and ended up in the emergency room. The mom was afraid her four year-old son would try and imitate his big brother.
From teen girls with un-naturally perfect bodies to comedic falls from cliffs cartoon characters survive and car chases where no one dies, TV is filled with story lines that are violent, sexist and dangerous for our kids. So how do we teach them fact from fiction? Here are a few tips to help them keep TV in perspective:
Monitor their viewing habits – Watch what they’re watching. Whether it’s on Nick or Cartoon Network, sit down and review their favorite shows. Talk to them about the plot and scenes that are concerning.
Help them learn to investigate - If your kids see something on TV that is presented as a fact or seems plausible, help them research it on credible websites to understand the real consequences of the behavior.
Create your own show – Invite your kids to get some of their friends together to produce a TV show that they can record on a Flip Video. Help them come up with some scenes that could really happen and others that are fictional.
Don’t fall into the peer pressure trap – It’s hard to stay firm when your kids are whining about how everyone watches a particular show but motherhood never was a popularity contest. Stick to your principals and make the decisions that you know are right for your kids. Try to open them up to other shows that might lead to a new found interest – my favorite is The Food Channel, there’s something for everyone!
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