Media and Our Children.
It is believed that media literacy is very crucial for today’s children. It makes the difference between kids being a tool of media or the media being used as a tool by the children. These days young children demand technologically-controlled toys and being online is regarded as a normal part of growing up.
Why Media-related Guidance?
The media arts tools are easily accessible and having the entertainment world at their fingertips is an exciting prospect for every child. This is where adult guidance becomes very important. The parents have to make sure that the children use technology as it end-users and don’t become emotionally dependent on them. Media tools should be used to encourage a child’s creativity and not replace it. It is the responsibility of the parents and teachers to guide children through the use of various media tools.
Preschoolers and Kindergartners
Kids of this age are easy prey to accepting everything that is on the television as the reality. The parent’s role becomes critical here. For example, the parents have to explain that television commercials using extreme special effects aren’t the reality but just a fanciful creation.
These children have some degree of developed analytical skills and are capable of grasping the basic concepts of the images seen on the television and computer. However, children this age might take a particular fancy to certain characters and start developing a virtual world of such friends. Again, the parents have to be careful that children don’t get obsessive about their favourite characters and don’t confuse reality with TV viewing.
Engaging Students in Media
The parents shouldn’t be afraid of encouraging a child to enjoy the media in its various forms. However, the parents have to ensure that these activities are suitable for the child’s age. Parents can do this by slowly exposing the children to the world of media.
• Media in Everyday Life — using media is a part of our daily lives. Even a young child should be encouraged to see how technology has made his/her toys so amazing.
• Active Involvement — preschoolers love to sing and dance with music from TV or a radio. Try and focus the child’s attention towards the number of channels a TV can play. Try and tell the child about the incredible use of a TV remote.
• Voice Recording — a very comfortable activity to introduce children to the media is to tape record the child’s voice as he recites a poem or a song. Then replay the tape. Children are fascinated upon hearing their own voice and want to find out how it the recording process actually works.
• Birthday Celebrations — parents could plan a special birthday party for their child and select the theme as ‘Be a Star’. A small gathering of the child’s friends can be invited. Ask the children to sing one-by-one. The children should be encouraged to sing independently. A small level of lighting controls and effects could be created on the podium where the children sing. The children would be curious about how a small theatre-like setting could be created in their own house.
• Outside Influences — children could be taken to aquariums and zoos. This helps the children related with the images of animals seen on TV.
• Photographing — a digital camera can be used to a great extent in making the children curious about how things work and how do natural settings look when they are clicked or presented as pictures.