While it is necessary to monitor the programs that children are viewing on television, it is also important to understand that children do not have the concept of what is real and unreal at an early age. Teaching children to become media skeptics is expecting them to think and rationalize like adults. In the essay, Remote Control: How to Raise a Media Skeptic, Susan Douglas narrates how she tells her young daughter to become a more discriminating television viewer.
The author is not against children watching television as evident in her statement, “I am not one of those virtuous, haloed parents who has banished the box from the home. She points out that growing up with TV provides her daughter with a form of cultural literacy that is important for the child’s growing years. She only wants her daughter to understand about what is on television and why it is there. It is an act of showing the child that whatever she sees on commercials is not what it is in reality. She believes that talking to children about what they see on television and what is unreal is important in raising them to become media skeptic.
It is similar to giving them the skills and the tools to know that not everything is true on television because advertisements are there to attract us to buy products that are not as good as they are presented on TV. By nature, children are attracted to toys that are colorful, with moving parts and attractive sounds and media knows how to attract the very young consumers. Children prefer anything that stimulates their senses. They do not have the capability to understand about safety, durability, and cost. They are just kids who want to play with their toys.
When they are in the toy section, they will pick toys that are seen on cartoons shows or TV commercials. When I was a child, I never had parents like Susan Douglas. My parents never pointed out what is good on television or what is real and unreal with what we see on the commercials. As we grow up, we have our own ability to know whether we are being fooled by the advertisements or whether they are telling us the truth. I believe that as long as we are studying, talking with people and we are exposed to all forms of media, the knowledge of determining what is real and not real will come naturally even without the intervention of the adults.
Being a media critic, the writer Susan Douglas is sensitive to whatever she views on television. There is also a strong tendency for her to push her opinions on others and influence them on what she believes is real and what is not real. She monitors her daughter well and fears the effect of media on her child. Although there are positive and negative effects of television on the young viewers, I also believe that we should keep tract on what the children are viewing. However, I do not agree that children should be trained to become media skeptics at a young age.
Adults should allow their children to be children. Pointing out everything that is right or wrong on television will affect the imaginary minds of the children. It will also spoil the fun of making children enjoy the toys that are in the market. We should not hasten the growth of the child and make them think like adults. I do not agree with the statement that “one of the best words to use when you’re watching TV with your kids is stupid. ” Adults do not have the same imagination as children.
What is stupid for adults may be fun for the kids. In time, children will know that ladies do not have perfect figures like the Barbie dolls and that both males and females do household chores and change babies’ diapers. Susan Douglas’ method may be effective because children trust the opinions of their parents and regard them as an authority figure. However, since most of us were not taught by our parents to be media skeptics, I believe that her techniques will not be fully acceptable to all parents.