Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Influence of Media on the Family


The media is all around us and is becoming increasingly popular within the home. Statistics show that in the year 2009 54% of U.S. homes had 3 or more television sets, 82% had more than 1 television set and 88% had a DVD player (Nielson's television audience report, 2009). With the majority of families having access to media in their home thinking about the influence that that media can have on the family is an important thing that we should all consider.

Research has shown that 63% of families watch TV while eating dinner, 53% have no rules about TV use and 51% have the TV on most of the time. When I see these statistics I wonder what is really going on within the family in regards to media. It seems to me that media (especially TV) has become a part of the family unit. It is a part of most families' everyday life, both collectively and as individual members.

What do you think about this? Is the media becoming an integral part of the family? What does that mean for our families?

As I think about these ideas I really think that the media has indeed become a part of the family unit. I also don't think that that is necessarily a bad thing. I think that as parents, we can find appropriate ways to use the media as a source of good and great power within our family. However, doing this requires involvement in our children's and family's media use.

I think that it is important to be aware of what your children are watching, what video games they are playing, and so forth. I also think that actively participating in media viewing with your children can provide an opportunity to interact and bond with them. In addition, if you are participating and involved in these activites with your child then if and when things are portrayed that you don't approve of you can take that opportunity to talk about it with your child. Such communication will go a long way in helping your child understand the role of the media in today's society and compating those potential negative outcomes of the media.

Moreover, at the conference Brandon and I attended at BYU yesterday one of the studies stated that there were positive outcomes for daughters who played video games with their fathers. They had less deviant behavior and also felt more family connectedness. This is just one small example of how media may affect the family.

These are just some of the things that I have thought of that can help us as parents use the media to benefit our families. What else do you think we can do in our families to use the media as a positive unit within the family?

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