FamiliesKids Living and Learning with New MediaKids Living and Learning with New Media Susan Lightbody
IntroductionWe live in a society where technology is booming and isused for so many different purposes. The use of technologyamongst young children today is more frequent than ever.In this chapter Heather A. Horst evaluates how familiesdeal with there children using media, and how it affectssocial dynamics of the household.
Children and New Media -Lay Theory of Media Effects- The belief that media causes children to become antisocial, violent, unproductive and desensitized to a variety of influences, such as commercialization, sex, and violence (Horst, 150). While parents make efforts to embrace their kids using new media, they admit that new media also incites anxiety and discomfort.This theory relates to the article by Danah Boyd, Why Parents Help Children Violate Facebook’s 13+ Rule.Basically the article sums up how parents think it is ok for their children to lie about their age in order to set up aFacebook account and connect with people they may not know.When parents become the ones who allow their children to access social media sites such as Facebook, than theyare the ones who are left responsible. Some parents may monitor their children closely and see who they aretalking with, and what ads they are clicking on. While other parents may not be as concerned and let their childrenhave free range over the internet.“Those who want to help youth navigate commercial tools often encounter the complexities of agerestrictions. Consider the 7th grade teacher whose students are heavy Facebook users. Should she admonishher students for being on Facebook underage? Or should she make sure that they understand how privacysettings work?” (Boyd)This quote also from the article Why Parents Help Children Violate Facebook’s 13+ Rule, makes a strong point. If itis inevitable that young children will be using facebook, than they should be taught about privacy settings and how tokeep their information private. In today’s society Facebook and social media websites should be something youngchildren need to be educated about.
Media SpacesDepending on where media devices are located corresponds to how frequently one may usethat device. For example if a computer is in the living room or kitchen which is a commonplace where the family gathers than children are less likely to spend excessive amounts oftime with media. They learn that they need to share the computer with other familymembers, and just use it as a tool to do schoolwork and research certain topics. Parents alsohave control over how long their child spends on the device if it is located in a commonfamily space. Compared to if the computer was in the childs bedroom, that child is morelikely to stay up late, chat with friends, play games and put off doing school work. As wellas waste mindless hours in front of the screen.
Kids and New Media Usage-Horst points out that some families “unplugg” which means they do not use any form of socialmedia as entertainment. They gather around the table and play board games as a family activity.Some families however spend time gathering around a variety of media devices as an activity. Forexample, to make websites, videos, and edit digital photographs. In some families this helps parentsstay involved with their kids and helps them create a strong bond because the children are workingalongside their parents.-Kids today are more familiar with technology than there parents. “They play an important role asthe technology expert or broker in the family, translating websites and other forms of informationfor there parents” (Horst, 167).-When parents and their children get involved with media together they become closer, and feelmore connected; The computer mediates between the generations. (Horst, 170)-My mom displays a perfect example, as someone older she depends on the younger generation tohelp her with her electronic media. When she got her Ipad she was clueless as to how to use it. Shehad to rely on my younger cousin who was 13 at the time to help her navigate it. She therefore spenta few hours with him and because of that they felt more connected. They never would have spenttime together if my mom did not need assistance.
Kids and New Media UsageFrom a kids’ perspective, mothers are often described by kids as “clueless” or “hopeless” outside thedomain of of communication technologies and fathers as being the ones who play and tinker withtechnology alongside their kids–suggest that new media continue to contribute to the production andreproduction of class and gender inequities in American society (Horst, 171).The previous slide was a perfect example of this with my mom and her Ipad. My mom and other peopleher age who are not familiar with technology are thought of differently in the sense that younger peopletend to know so much more information regarding media and technology. Younger generations can notgo to their parents and ask how do I link my email to my Ipod? Because their parents most likely do nothave the answer.
Reasons for Media Usage-Parenting styles differ when it comes to allowing their kids time with media usage.-Parents allow there children to use new media for a variety of reasons,rewards, for example getting good grades, may be rewarded with an Ipod, camera,video game etc.-Parents also allow their children to use media for educational purposes, they wanttheir kids to be successful so they buy them a computer thinking it will enhance theirlearning and allow them to focus more on academics, and research.-Media usage can also be used as a bribe. A parent might say to their child, “if youfinish your homework, you can stay up late and watch an extra show.” Or “if youbehave at dinner I’ll buy you that video game you’ve been wanting.” The reasons whyparents use time with media as bribes is because it works. Even when I babysit Ialways bribe the children with staying up late and watching a show past their bedtimebecause it never fails.
Families and Media UsageWhile the pros of media usage can bring parents and childrentogether and create a connected bonded feeling, the cons ofmedia usage can also cause fights and aggressive behavior.Media usage causes tension with other members of the familysuch as siblings.For example siblings may fight with each other if they aresharing media devices, and therefore parents have tointervene. While parents usually seem clueless or incompetentin dealing in dealing with the norms and literacies of online peerculture (Horst, 192).When my brother and I were younger are fights alwaysstemmed from media usage whether it was deciding on a TVshow to watch, who got to play Xbox, or whose turn it was toplay on the computer, we constantly fought over access andcontrol to our media devices.
Conclusions-After reading this chapter it is apparent that the ways in which the family functions is apowerful determining force when it comes to how much media is consumed. Parenting stylesshape media participation (Horst, 190). Some parents hover over what their children are doingonline, others help them create a Facebook account, or set up a computer in their bedrooms forunlimited access. While other families create a common space for media usage so other familymember can share the device. I know parents who play video games with their kids, and Iknow of other parents who forbid video games to be in there house. Every family is uniquewhen it comes to how much media usage is appropriate.-Parental attitudes, family values, the location of media devices, rewards, and punishments, arejust a few of the factors that contribute to time families spend with media.
Works CitedBoyd, Danah. "Why Parents Help Children ViolateFacebook’s 13+ Rule." Weblog post. Social Media CollectiveResearch Blog. N.p., 1 Nov. 2011. Web. 19 July 2011.<https://www.courses.maine.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/contentWrapper.jsp?content_id=_1377396_1&displayName=Why+Parents+Help+Children+Violate+Facebook%27s+13%2B+Rule&course_id=_56122_1&navItem=content&href=http%3A%2F%2Fsocialmediacollective.org%2F2011%2F11%2F01%2Fwhy-parents-help-children-violate-facebooks-13-rule%2F>.Horst, Heather. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learningwith New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010. Print.