Pop Media: How Do We Decide What’s Appropriate For Kids?
It’s a new day. We live in the age of information. The kids these days don’t know about encyclopedias or libraries. They have Google, Wikipedia, and Media Take Out to name a few. If a parent implements parental controls in the home and/or decides to delay communication about worldly affairs, children these days have immediate access to additional resources sans filters.
Censorship is a joke these days. Even daytime television depicts sex vividly and serves as freeway for every expletive except the F-bomb.
What are we as parents suppose to do? How do we help our children manage the data dump of information they are forced to engage daily? How do we protect their “innocence” and prepare them for life?
This is a quagmire to say the least.
Situations like Kim Fields of The Real Housewives of Atlanta abruptly exiting a meeting with an elected official due to the topic of gun-violence are on one end of the spectrum. This we will call, the bubble— waiting to be popped. On the other hand, we have celebrity children like Blue Ivy and North West making appearances in music videos and at entertainment events traditionally inappropriate for young minds from a content standpoint. Excessive?
Where is the balance?
If a parent sets up passwords in the home to restrict Internet access and television programming, what stops a child from accessing said content via their friend’s smartphone or computing device? And what are we trying to protect our kids from anyway?
Gun violence in America is a real issue. All of us should be aware of this, especially, when we combat threats like Newtown.
Sex, body awareness, and intimacy are very relevant matters to be aware of as a human being. We are born with vaginas and penises. Who decided we should learn about them at 21?
Profanity? What’s that? Who deemed certain words offensive, and why would we ever give a word so much power? What does F**K mean anyway?
There are many ways to approach this very important responsibility of early childhood development. What we expose our children to early on in life (up to age five) lays the foundation for how they interact with the world until they are no more. Or maybe it is how we expose them to life?
Why have we chosen to delay teaching our children about real life matters until adulthood after their mental development has peaked?
Would it not behoove us to stuff their minds with as much information as possible during their first five years of life? This would create an atmosphere of innovation and new developments during their formal education.
Most of the people we deem to be very successful were exposed to their passions, interests, and/or purposeful traumas very early on. Maya Angelou became a household name when she wrote a book about how exposure to rape and murder at an early age birthed her passion for words. Michael Jackson began studying controversial artists like James Brown before he was ten. Oprah was a teenage mother.
This is not to advocate for traumatizing your children in order to propel them into greatness. On the contrary, this is about passing down wisdom sooner than later in an effort to accelerate your child’s growth trajectory.
“It took me 26 years to find my path, my only job is to cut the time in half?” – Jay Z
What are we waiting for? No one is promised tomorrow. We have to seize each day. If you became a teen mom at 15, your child needs sex education at seven. Just like chronic disease screenings, we need to be proactive about preparing our children for life.
Do you know that Generation Y is the first set of Americans projected not to progress further than their parents? “Millennials (and some of Gen X) have had less access to full-time jobs and wealth than previous cohorts.” – Forbes
At the end of the day, every child is different. We, as parents, must discern what our child is ready to tackle from an accountability and awareness standpoint.
But the sign of the times is, “when you know better you better.” – Maya Angelou
With our guidance into full knowledge instead of away from it, our children will be better equipped for greatness instead of living on our couches at 29 afraid of the world outside.
Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace. Clarissa is also an expert in impact investing.