What’s the Big Deal about Table Washing?
A 2010 study noted that children aged 8 to 18 years watch an average of 4 hours of television and spend 1.5 hours playing video or computer games per day. Children will see an average of 2 gun-related violent acts for every hour of television they watch. As of a decade ago, 40% of the top grossing non-animated G- and PG-rated movies featured at least one character with a firearm and an average of 4.5 armed characters per film. Even current animated films and television often contain some intense scenes with aggressive, if not violent, acts among characters. Often pitched as slapstick humor and “jokes for adults that simply go over a child’s head,” children are exposed to violence, aggression and adult innuendos in animated features as well. Approximately two-thirds of E-rated video games contain intentional physical aggression.
In younger age groups it appears that 66% of children aged 6 months to 6 years watch television every day, averaging 2 hours per day. In children under the age of 2 years, an astounding 83% use some form of screen media on a typical day.
What do we know about the cognitive and behavioral impact of media on child development?
It is difficult for research to keep pace with the advancements in technology; however, years of research on children’s television viewing have produced impactful findings. According the existing research, consumption of violent media predicts increased aggressive behavior among youth because children imitate the scripts they see modeled by others. They can also become desensitized and condoning of violence, believe that the world is hostile, and lose empathy for victims. Longitudinal studies have revealed that 1st and 3rd graders who were heavy viewers of violent television content were three times more likely to be convicted of a violent crime by the time they were in their twenties. Admittedly, violent media is not the only culprit for future behavioral problems, but it does represent a substantial risk factor. Even mass media preys upon our survival instincts by stressing elements that trigger rapid, irrational fear responses through fast paced content, sales pitches that demand immediate response, and by presenting rare violent events as far more commonplace. While younger children may be more frightened by fantasy material, older children are often more disturbed by such realistic content, including the news.
Make an Informed Decision
Technology is so pervasive in our day-to-day lives that it may be difficult, or even unnecessary to go totally “screen-free” for the summer. Many sources argue about the immense benefits of raising tech-savvy children in that they can keep up as adults in the modern world. Thus, I frequently encourage parents to consider technology like a dessert, “okay in moderation.” While some media access is acceptable, if not beneficial, the most powerful protective factor against all the potentially negative effects is parental monitoring. Let’s pay attention to what our children access, how much time is spent with media and encourage them to have a balanced diet of activities for the summer (and beyond).
The purpose of the Fun Run is to raise funds for our two special Navajo grandmothers, Emma and Elvira, as well as our seven students from Ethiopia. Both of these programs are close to our hearts as we have seen the enormous difference our time and efforts can make for those involved in the programs. This week the students at MCS are learning more about both programs. The Pledge Envelopes include instructions on collecting funds for the Fun Run. We are still looking for some parent volunteers and invite you to sign up in the office to assist on May 7th.
Our goal for this year is to raise at least $6500. As we have 219 students enrolled at this time this means that if each child could aim to raise $30 we would reach our goal. We are aware that this will be an easy target for some families and more difficult for others and want you to know that anything you can offer will be so gratefully received.
Last year with the same goal we were able to raise $6775 and the money went towards our COEEF students and our Navajo grandmothers. The extra funds also allowed us to provide Christmas gifts for a local Navajo family.
The Adopt A Native Elder program has an excellent website that we invite you to view at this link- www.anelder.org. The website gives so much information about the work of the organization. We hear from our grandmothers on a regular basis and having spent time with each of them on the reservation Robyn and Bob know what great an impact our commitment and support has on their lives....