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There is no influence so powerful as that of a mother.

Sarah Josepha Hale

How can we be aware of the impact and intent of the media that is being aimed at children and how can we be a positive influence at countering attacks on the family? How can we find and support good media?

As a young mother myself, I have often wondered, while watching modern content for children with my son, how I can teach him the intent of the media. One thing that my parents did for me when I was little was introduce me to online math games and other resources that provided a chance to play and learn without having an agenda aimed at me. The role of all media is to motivate their targeted audience, and my role as a mother is to help my son discern truth. 

Nickelodeon cast and crew recently came out in a new tv show documentary speaking up against toxic environments and targeted content for children. They speak about abuse of cast and crew members but also of the content that seems a little too sexualized for children. One actor spoke up about the fact that there are scenes where she had to kiss a 22 year old man at age 15 repeatedly for the show. Disney and DreamWorks have had several cast and crew leave and speak up against targeted content and concerns about what is being aimed at our children. I and others have noticed the presence of absent parents in many media programs (Cheung, M., Leung, C.A. & Huang, YJ.). Many studies have shown the effect media has on children and that many parents rely on technology as virtual babysitters which can create attention and behavior issues. 

Many media channels produce content to children that do not portray the good roles of mothers and fathers. When you search on Google how mothers are portrayed in the media it comes up with millions of results of individuals bashing the typical role of mothers, caring for their children and being involved in their lives. When you watch television you see many shows and commercials that are showing mothers as either being extremely involved to the point of narcissistic or the opposite side you see mothers being totally absent. 

Furthermore, what can we do as parents? Technology, when used with the guidance from adults, can be used for many good purposes such as education and growth. My suggestion is that we as parents learn to have discussions with our children about what content they are seeing. Watching children’s and youth content together and having those conversations in order to educate our children in truth as we believe it in our families. 

Here are a few other bullet points for what we can do as mothers to educate and protect our children:

  • When our children watch programming that focuses on mothers being violent, evil, abusive, having discussions about the role of mothers being caring, supportive, loving is crucial to socializing a child’s development. Have discussions about the benefits of having a loving supportive mom in the home.
  • Be a seeker not a doubter. Questions are good! Seek answers.
  • Get informed and stay informed. Do the research from credible sources.
  • Listen and observe your children and learn to talk and correct less. Many times our children are learning and growing on their own and will come to us seeking advice or having questions. By this, I do not mean sit back and not parent. I mean listen to your children and see what they are learning and observing and add to that knowledge, ask questions and discuss!
  • Be the primary teacher in your home and source of information for your children instead of the media, peers, or the schools.