No matter how we try to degrade it, television is a primary source of education in today's society. Next to parents, television is a child's "most persistent and most influential teacher," according to the late Ernest Boyer of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Mr. Boyer believes:
Through repetition, certain elements of television programming constitute an informal curriculum taught at home to all children, beginning at an early age, with the following themes: Consumption, sex, violence and anti-intellectualism. Children only spend five or six hours a day, five days a week, maybe 30 weeks a year in school. In the average home, however, TV is on six or seven hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. As the first arm of organized society that children meet, it has the effect of "sanctioning" or socially certifying whatever and whoever appears on the screen. Its compelling complex of sound, pictures and text largely determines which issues, people and actions, we regard as "real" or important.
We must keep this space sacred for the education of young minds. The problem of television violence and its possible affect on our youth has many creative solutions if we as a community can come together and implement them. I would like to focus on what we as a society can do to empower our youth with the tools to detach from the screen as realism, and learn to critically think for themselves. Parents, teachers, pediatricians, and lawmakers all have a role in helping children extricate the fact from fiction and see television as an educational tool of influence.
There are different points of view based on if one exists behind, inside, or in front of "...
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...the habits we are trying to instill into our youth.
Charren, Peggy; Gelber, Andrew. "Media, Children, and Violence: A Public Policy Perspective." Pediatrics. Oct. 1994:631-638.
Kalin, Carla. "Television, Violence, and Children." College of Education, University of Oregon. Master of Science, Synthesis Paper. June 1997:1-21.
Males, Mike. "Stop Blaming Kids and TV." The Progressive. Oct. 1997: 25-27.
Megee, Mary. "Media Literacy: The New Basic will the Real Curriculum PleaseStand Up?" Emergency Librarian Nov/Dec 1997: 23-26.
Sege, Robert; Dietz, William. "Television Viewing and Violence in Children: The Pediatrician as Agent for Change." Pediatrics. Oct 1994:600-608.
Strasburger, Victor C. MD; Donnerstein, Edward PhD. Children, Adolescents, and the Media:Issues and Solutions." Pediatrics. Jan 1999:129-139.
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