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Media Effects Differ According to Generation

Updated on July 13, 2013

Webkinz Online Kid Game

Cool or Not Cool?

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Pros & Cons of the Different Aspects of Media

Over the last several decades, even the last few centuries, the media world has developed so quickly into something so vast. Today we are bombarded with media from the moment we wake up in the morning. Alarm clocks are set to a certain radio station or even on a cell phone or on a computer. I use the alarm or “wake-up call” feature on my cell phone as opposed to the “real” or traditional alarm clock my mom bought me for Christmas one year. And if I am like any typical college student, I have posters covering my walls, printed t-shirts and the latest magazines littering the floor and plenty of chapter books on my bookshelf. (Well, maybe the latter isn’t as typical for a college student).

Within the first few minutes of being awake, media surrounds me and I rarely consciously think about it because I have grown so accustomed to it. I think that is how our younger generations are growing up, only much more so because they have their own computers and televisions in their rooms that their parents bought them. Therefore, I do believe they have become much more “addicted” to technology than their older counterparts. They grow up with the attitude that they “need” a TV instead of “wanting” one in their bedroom. It is not just kids that are younger than me, some of my peers grew up with a TV in the bedroom and a rare few had a computer, both of which were given to them by their parents. I never had my own computer until I bought my own laptop with my own hard-earned money for college I think that is something kids are not learning today…the value of a dollar and having the satisfaction and appreciation of paying for it and working for it themselves.

Media Effects on Children in My Family

When I still lived with my parents and I saw that my teenage sister was playing games on the Internet for about an hour every day. She followed the shows Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, both of which are shown daily on the Disney Channel. During the commercials she sees previews for other Disney shows and products. As her older sister I see her involved with this and I think of how she is so much more interactive online than I was at that age. I was not even allowed on the computer unless it was for homework. I was told to go play outside when I asked if I could watch TV.

Over the summer when we were visiting family in Indianapolis we spent some time with my older cousin and her three kids. She has a 13 year-old-girl, six year-old-boy and a five-year-old-girl. The five-year-old, was always talking about her Webkinz, which is a pet that she can play with both physically and on an interactive website. Kids can buy (or have their parents buy) the little stuffed animal characters from the game either online or in a store. These animals are called Webkinz and they come with names or codes, much like the Beanie Baby craze a decade or so ago, only this time kids can take it one step further and register their animal online and can interact with other kids who are online at the same time. They can compete with each other in online games, like sledding. On the Webkinz site (www.webkinz.com), they describe Webkinz pets as “lovable plush pets that each come with a unique Secret Code. With it, you enter Webkinz World where you care for your virtual pet, answer trivia, earn KinzCash, and play the best kids games on the net!”

Instead of playing the traditional board games with your friends physically there, or decorating a doll house, kids are playing interactive games with kids from across the globe or even in their own school. They can decorate their pets room and be able to tell when he/she is hungry or tired or sick. I do think it is an interesting and fun site, but again, the parents need to step in and say when enough is enough.

Also, I almost never saw the six-year-old boy, without his game boy, unless we were with other family and he was outside playing with other cousins. One day, we all crammed into my cousins van and Eddie had left his game boy charger in his dad’s car. We just happened to pass his dad as he was coming home and we were just leaving the house and my cousin asked him for the charger. I was shocked when he gave it to his son, instead of saying he could wait and get it later because we were going to spend time with other family. The kid never knows when to turn it off because his parents never taught him a right and a wrong time.

From these two examples of my cousin’s kids, I think media is harmful in a way in that kids do not learn self-control. If their parents always say yes and always let them have the television on, or the game boy in hand, or even get on the computer without asking, then they are not going to know their limits elsewhere. I do not think they will know when it is appropriate or inappropriate to do those things. They will wonder why they will not be able to just walk into a friend’s house and turn the television on.

The media is good to a point, but also bad. Too much of it is a problem and I think it is the parents responsibility to draw that line and teach their children the self-control they need to know the difference between what is appropriate and what is not. The examples I have provided from my own experience underline that belief.

Health Effects of Media Technology

Dozens, even hundreds, of studies have been conducted regarding the health effects of media technology on people, especially children. Conducting a simple Google search for this topic will provide you with over 10 pages worth of results in various forms including scholarly articles, pictures, and YouTube videos.

Media Effects Poll

Do/Would you allow your children to have unsupervised TV/Internet access in their bedrooms?

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