How to Get Kids Off Anime and Other Sexualized Media

How to Get Kids Off Anime and Other Sexualized Media

 

By Lacy Bentley

As parents, it is normal to worry about what our children watch, and how it might be impacting their developing sexuality and understanding of life. As with any important step in raising kids, changing things up requires a few key components.

  1. Be on the same page with the other parent. When there is ambiguity, kids pick up on it. They usually are not trying to cause trouble; they just want what they want, and are creative at finding ways to get it. When both parents are not in agreement about a particular type of entertainment, like anime, it sends a message of inconsistency and confusion to the kids involved. Have conver-sations and do your research in private, then present a united front to the kids. They may not like the decision, but it will be easier to accept if they know they cannot push one parent into giving in.

The two of you (as parents) might need to work with a therapist to determine the best way to move forward. I’ve talked to moms who fell on both sides of this debate and know that it often comes down to a “good-cop/bad-cop” scenario. One parent is considered too rigid and controlling, while the other is considered permissive, and to the kids, the cool parent. The biggest issue then becomes a parent-parent and parent-child trust issue, putting the more conservative parent in the hot seat. This kind of triangulation will eventually destroy relationships. Don’t do it.

  1. Get curious before making decisions, especially decision that will have a big impact on current habits. By gathering as much information you can early on, the need for later adjustments can be avoided. This saves confusion and stress for everyone involved. Find out why your kids like this particular game or program. Spend some time checking it out for yourself. Can you employ safeguards within the game that make your concerns a non-issue? The decision is yours, but you need to make it wisely. Once a boundary is in place, kids will push back, argue, even ignore it. You need to know where you stand and why, so that you can stand firm.

Parents do not owe kids an explanation, but when an explanation makes sense and is well thought out, you and the kids can trust that decision. If you aren’t sure why, and make snap decisions, it will come back to haunt you. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, it informed him so he could protect his kittens!

  1. Set clear and reasonable boundaries. Discuss the rules with the kids and anyone who tends them. Have clear conversations and do so with the other parent fully involved. (Remember rule #1, be on the same page!) This sets a tone of unity, which will be to your benefit if the arguments and negotiations escalate. You do not need to engage the argument. Hear what the kids have to say if you feel it may be helpful, take notes if there are things to talk about with your partner, and reassure the kids that this decision is for their protection and emotional health. If there are considerations for the parents to discuss, let the kids know when you will all revisit the conversation.

The kids need to know they will have their day in court, and when. Otherwise, they will drive you batty with questions as they try to manage the lack of resolution. Remember though, parents are the guardians of what comes into the home. If you don’t teach them to install internal filters and set boundaries for themselves, no one else will.

  1. Acknowledge the discomfort involved for all. Kids, especially teens, like what they like. They do not enjoy being told a particular movie or whole genre (anime) is no longer considered appropriate. If you are asking them to stop watching anime at home and away from home, there may be social repercussions for them to manage. Remember what it was like to be their age, and how you wanted to fit in? Help them navigate the family rules while also acknowledging their concerns. Validate the loss, the frustration, and their need to fill the void left by removal of a favorite past-time. Just because it is good for them, does not mean it is easy to swallow.

As you feel questioned, even harassed, talk to another parent with similar values, or who can at least respect yours. Change is hard for everyone involved. Adjustments take time, so be patient with yourself and your kids as you get used to the new normal. Resistance is not always rebellion. In fact, resistance is rarely more than open communication of discomfort. See it, validate it, and hold your boundaries.

  1. Be consistent regardless of location. Talk about the temptation to “just go watch it at Jennie’s house” while reiterating that the rules apply wherever they are. Yes, it may be uncomfortable to tell friends about a new family rule (or an existing one that has been resurrected). It’s no fun to be the odd man out. If your kids know you expect and trust them to make good decisions that honor family standards, they will be more likely to hold themselves accountable. This may mean consequences for not upholding family standards. Sharing your wishes with the adult on duty at Jennie’s house can be helpful.

Ultimately, we are trying to teach our kids to do what is right for the sake of doing right, not because moms talk. If your kids know you are aware of the temptations they face, it provides a sense of understanding and safety. Keep the lines of communication open. They might get grumpy because you “want to know everything!” Let them get grumpy, then reassure them that you will always be curious about how they are doing with their duty to protect themselves from harmful messages. It probably won’t be tomorrow, but someday they will understand.

  1. Be ready with replacement strategies. Removing a beloved game, TV series, or social media channel can create a vacuum. This is especially true if the kids spent a good deal of time on it. You will need to help fill that time with something more constructive. Times of natural transition are helpful, like when school starts, at the start of soccer season, or at other times when natural distractions are available to fill their days in more constructive ways. Ultimately, they are looking for connection and entertainment. They might need to relax. Know what purpose the program serves in order to help provide a comparable replacement.

 

  1. Pick your battles and be specific in your message. You might need to make concessions, too. The miniskirts and fantasy life may need to be separate battles from the eyeshadow and child-like voices. It is a fine line between self-expression and self-exploitation when dealing with anime and a sexualized culture. The hope is, your kids will know you love them and are concerned for their safety and sexual, emotional, and social wellbeing. When parents are able to convey this message, even if boundaries are being set, more changes naturally occur over time.

The chances your daughter will still talk like a 6-year-old and wear pigtails into adulthood are pretty slim. As she feels cared about, loved, and held to a high standard, it will make things easier on both of you. Conversations where she has a say, and you are curious about why she does certain things, encourage trust. Heavy handed orders barked from another room about her clothes will not help her see herself as the valuable, powerful force she can be for good. Is your line of questioning curious or condemning? Is the message one of loving concern or manipulative parent? She will feel the motive, no matter how you try to hide it, so come from a place that conveys what you truly mean.

  1. Trust your gut. Ultimately, it is your call what does and does not take root in your home. If something feels off, gather more information and pay close attention to what is happening. A parent’s gut feeling is usually right, even if we don’t always know why right off. You know your kids best, and the decision to protect them is a serious one. If you worry about being too protective, too controlling, too demanding, check it out with the co-parent, a therapist, or a trusted friend with similar standards. What might be okay for one family may not be for another. If red flags are going up for you, take those feelings seriously. Your gut feeling just might save your kid from unnecessary pain later. Trust it.

Raising kids has never been easy. Doing the job well takes intentional effort and insane levels of patience. You can do this, though. Focus on what you do want and stay curious about why they do what they do. Along the way, you just might learn a thing or two that will help the relationship blossom into one of reciprocal love and trust.

Want a fun, easy way to talk to kids about all types of media, including anime? Check out our new children’s books:  Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure and Messages About Me: A Journey to Healthy Body Image available on Amazon.

 

**If you are willing to do your part, you can have the relationships you want, with the connection you and your kids need. I have written a book that includes many of these skills, and would like to give you a copy. It focuses on personal responsibility and new, healthier relationship dynamics. While it is written for my audience of women in recovery for relationship or sex-based compulsions and addiction, I think you will also find it helpful. It is available free for a short time. Visit www.HerRecoveryRoadmap.com and input your information in the pink box at the bottom of the page. You will receive a link to a free PDF download and a free kindle version on or around May 8. You can take me up on one or both! Additionally, you can email me directly with questions at Lacy@HerRecoveryRoadmap.com.

Lacy Bentley is a concerned mother, a Women’s Recovery Coach, and an author. She has helped women overcome compulsive behaviors since 2000. She now does one-on-one coaching and runs groups for women ready to overcome fantasy, relationship, or love addiction. If you would like a free copy of her book, “Overcoming Love Addiction” you can request one by visiting: www.HerRecoveryRoadmap.com and scrolling down to the yellow box, or emailing her directly at Lacy@HerRecoveryRoadmap.com.

 

There are affiliate links in the blog post. When you use them to make purchases, we thank you for supporting Educate and Empower Kids!

Helping Our Kids Overcome Tech Addiction

Helping Our Kids Overcome Tech Addiction

 

By Katelyn King

 

Technology helps us connect in ways that never would have been possible even just a decade ago. There is so much good that comes from all these advances in technology, but balance and moderation is important. Our families, parents included, are quickly becoming addicted.

And most adults and kids are not managing their time properly. “Because people can’t handle the allurements that come with all the advancements of society, they have developed unhealthy and addictive triggers around technology” (Hardy, 2017).

We are not sleeping well. We are overstimulated. We are worrying about what we might be missing in the cyber world and are often glued to social media or impulsively opening apps without real thought or intent. In fact, kids are spending on average of 9 hours a day on social media (Wallace, 2015). None of us seem to be taking time to relax, rest, and reset.

Worse, most of us are losing true connection in our lives. We don’t seem to have the close friends we used to, and our kids are getting a bit too comfortable being at home, “alone” with their phones.  How would you fare if you lost your phone? How would your child react to losing their phone? Would they feel as if a limb or piece of them were missing?

So as parents how can we help? What can we do to keep our children from losing control? We want our children to enjoy the advantages of technology but also to be deliberate in their actions with tech.

Here are 8 ways we can help kids develop healthier tech habits:

1) Switch up your child’s routine

If you are noticing there is a time of day where technology is becoming a time waster, switch up the routine. For example, if at 4 pm every day your daughter is spending an hour on Instagram, at 4:30 have her help you prep dinner or fold laundry and use that time to talk about her day.

2) Have regularly scheduled screen-free time

Too much screen can overstimulate the brain. On the other hand, screen-free time can help us recharge. Every family has different schedules, so this set time will vary for everyone. The point is to be developing healthy relationships with your children and your children with one another. In my family when my husband gets home from work, we have dinner as a family, no TV or phones. Then we spend time together without using technology. Some days that’s going outside, talking, or playing a game inside. After that hour, my husband may play a video game with our son, or we will use Spotify to have music while we clean. Technology is not bad; it just needs to be balanced and used well.

3) Help them use tech for good

When we spend too much time mindlessly scrolling through social media, we are not learning, growing, or achieving like we could. This is why we need to sit down and help our children learn to be mindful when they are using technology. We want them to learn, make a difference, and find joy in work. We also want to teach them to see the needs of others, rather than only focusing on themselves, and technology is a great way to practice that skill.

For example, on social media it might be tempting to just gloss over pictures of friends, but we can teach them to use the opportunity to compliment and uplift their peers. Or if they have a specific interest, like animals or the environment, we can show them how to set up a petition or service project online to help make a difference. Here is a great article that lists 10 ways children can use technology for good.

4) Help them find healthy extracurricular activities

Activities such as sports, music, dance, scouting, or art create opportunities for our kids to interact with peers without technology. This is healthy. Our children need to know how to have healthy relationships offline–sports, art classes, and any activities where they can interact with others in a stimulating environment will help them do this. Let them try new things, and help them find something they like!

5) Set time limits on devices

All of us have experienced getting side tracked online and not realizing how much time has actually passed. There is so much we can do on our devices, and it can be easy to spend a little too much time on something. When we give our children screen time, we should give them a limit. This limit will be different in every family. The important thing is you hold your children accountable and help them manage their time. Maybe your son finished his homework, and you tell him he can play a video game for 30 minutes, or your daughter just finished helping you around the house, and you give her 30 minutes of social media time.

Here is a great article on creating media guideline for your family that can help you do more than just set time limits for your children.

6) Have a “no tech in bedrooms” policy

This is something that cannot be stressed enough. There are so many reasons this is a must. First, when your kids are alone in their bedroom, that is where they will not be monitored. They have a greater chance of viewing porn or reading things you might feel are not appropriate. You will not be able to monitor their time usage either.

On another note, tech in the bedroom is horrible for our sleep. Did you know smartphones, laptops, tablets, and TVs emit a blue light that causes our brains to interpret it as daylight? This causes overstimulation and makes it harder to fall asleep. Technology in the bedroom can make it difficult to get restful sleep and can even cause insomnia. This is a helpful article to learn more about the effects of technology in our rooms at night.

7) Plan tech-free activities

Our children need to know even though technology is beneficial in so many ways, there is more in life to enjoy. Make sure you are helping your kids see the world around them. Go on a picnic or hike. Go to a sporting event or a play. Find somewhere you can serve together in your community.

Here is an awesome article with ways to be connected to others without a screen.

8) Be the example

You cannot tell your child to put down the phone, go outside, or talk to a friend face-to-face if you don’t. Our children need to see us having time away from technology. They also need to see that when we are using technology, we are not just constantly wasting time.

We can live in a technology run world without being addicted. We just need to be aware and to not let it take over our lives. Try these tips! You can strengthen your family relationships, and help your children know how to be a good friend and contributor to society. Start setting goals and making changes.

For more ideas and great conversation starters, check out our read-aloud children’s book, Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Tech for Good.

 

*There are affiliate links in the blog post. When you use them to make purchases, we thank you for supporting Educate and Empower Kids!

Katelyn King is a wife and mother of two children. She is a Brigham Young University-Idaho graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Marriage and Family Studies, and she is an advocate for parent child relationships.

Citations:

Aratoon, K. (2015, December 18). Is Your Smartphone Ruining Your Sleep? Retrieved October 22, 2017, from https://sleep.org/articles/is-your-smartphone-ruining-your-sleep/

Hardy, B. (2017, October 30). Free Will And Willpower Are Becoming A Thing Of The Past. Here’s What You Can Do About It. Retrieved March 02, 2018, from https://thoughtcatalog.com/benjamin-hardy/2017/10/free-will-and-willpower-are-becoming-a-thing-of-the-past-heres-what-you-can-do-about-it/

Wallace, K. (2015, November 03). Teens spend 9 hours a day using media, report says. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/03/health/teens-tweens-media-screen-use-report/index.html

 

Lesson: Kindness: Online, Face to Face, and Everywhere

Lesson: Kindness: Online, Face to Face, and Everywhere

 

Kindness is an attribute that we can each develop further! Children need parents to help them understand that kindness is not just a quality to have with their friends or family, but at all times. This includes being authentic in all contexts, including social media, email, texts and other interactions.

Kindness is an action that is motivated from feelings of empathy and compassion. Today’s culture teaches children that being overly critical of others is a positive thing. Websites dedicated to “shaming” others (i.e. People of Walmart, Lamebook, Awkward Family Photos, Youidiot.org, etc.) number in the hundreds, if not thousands, and some celebrities, like Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin, have even become famous simply because of their public criticisms.

 

  • Define kindness (see glossary) for your child and give some of your favorite examples.
  • Help children understand the need for kindness.
  • Discuss how kindness is more than just a feeling: it includes our thoughts, actions, and words.
  • Discuss how we need to be kind to others in person and online.
  • Discuss how bullying is never acceptable.

Discuss how empathy can help us to choose to be kind to others…

Click Here to Download this Lesson!

 

 

Looking for a great book about being kind online and using technology for good?

Check out Noah’s New Phone: A Story about Using Technology for Good

Talking with Your Teen about Sex

Talking with Your Teen about Sex

 

By Trishia Van Orden

This is part two of a two part series. You can find part one here.

Parents play so many roles in a child’s life. One of the most important is being their first and most trusted stop for information, love, and support. Parents need to help their teens understand the world they are living in by answer their questions, helping them think outside the box, and by not being judgmental.

When it comes to sex, parents would do well to discuss the following topics with their teens: what constitutes a healthy relationship, having sex for the first time, sexual pleasure and orgasm, body image, consent, and domestic abuse. While some of these topics may seem daunting, they are vital to the healthy development of your teenager. As I mentioned in my other “Talking with Younger Kids about Sex” article, try to only focus on one subtopic at a time and just let the conversation flow. You can do this!

Points to remember:

  • Don’t put your teen on the spot. Don’t point out faults or mistakes; instead focus on having a positive and informative conversation that can help them make good choices in the future.
  • Reflect on how you feel about this topic. Does it make you uncomfortable? Are you educated on the subject?
  • What are your family’s rules, morals, goals, and expectations for this topic?
  • Be open and non-judgmental. Don’t freak out about information your child shares with you.
  • Be supportive and understanding.
  • When addressing sex, make sure that you share your personal and religious (if applicable) beliefs and values.
  • Be prepared to answer your teen’s questions about what you did when you were their age. This is a great way to bond and relate to each other. If you made what you believe was a poor choice, then you can share that with your child and explain the lesson you learned.
  • Be positive and casual. Try to share experiences and stories that will be interesting to your teen. Laugh together and enjoy the conversation.
  • Ask questions to get your teen thinking. (See below for ideas.)

 

Definitions
ArousalA physical and emotional response that occurs because of sexual desire and/or activity.
ConsentGiving someone permission to have sex with you. Consent is given freely and without force or influence of stimulants and others.
ContraceptionCan be a method, medication, or device that someone used in order to prevent pregnancy from occurring. It is also known as birth control.
Domestic abuseA pattern of behavior that one intimate partner uses to gain control and manipulate another intimate partner. The abuse can be anything physical, emotional, economic, sexual, or mental that harms, threatens, and/or influences the partner.
Healthy sexualityBeing able to see oneself and one’s sexuality in a positive and uplifting manner. Those with healthy sexuality build their relationships and self-esteem by approaching sexuality in a responsible and dignifying way.
Hook Up SexA form of casual sexual activity in which those involved are sexually active for the sexual enjoyment and not the emotional connection. This can be a one night stand to friends with benefits.
IntimacyA feeling of connection and closeness between two people.
MasturbationThe act of stimulation one’s genitals in order to create sexual arousal and pleasure.
MonogamyA relationship in which a person is committed to one partner.
OrgasmThe peak of sexual intercourse in which the body produces rhythmic muscular contracts to relieve sexual tension.
PornographyImagery that displays sexually explicit content for the use of sexual pleasure. Pornography can be found in a variety of places including books, movies, pictures, and animations.
SextingSending, displaying, or otherwise distributing sexually explicit pictures or messages of oneself or others through mobile phones or messaging programs.

 

Conversation starters:

Important Note: Many times your teen will come to you with questions about sex. However, if you feel that there is something you need to speak with them about, don’t wait for them to come to you! The best part about having a strong relationship is that they can come to you and you can go to them. Here are a few questions to consider when talking with your teen about sex.

What does a healthy relationship look like?

What “counts” as sex?

How can we show affection to those we love and care about?

What will you do if you end up in a situation where things are becoming to sexual?

Can having a strong emotional connection with your partner enhance your sexual experience with them?

What are some positive aspects of sex? How do your self-esteem and feelings affect your experience?

Why might it be appropriate to wait until you are in a committed relationship to have sex?

What would your ideal situation be for your first time?

What would you do if you were invited to a party where there might be drinking and hook-up sex?

Are you giving consent if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

Did you give consent if you feel forced or if your “no” was ignored?

Some of the above information and questions are included in our book 30 Days of Sex Talks(for ages 12+). For more ideas, questions or information check out our books 30 Days of Sex Talks (3 volumes for different age groups) and How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography.

Trishia is a wife and mother of three wonderful little girls. She received her bachelor’s from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Marriage and Family Studies. She has a love for psychology and one day wishes to open her own Family Life Education Center where she lives. She also dreams of getting her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Trishia loves to be outdoors and spend time with her husband and little girls.

Talking with Young Children about Sex

Talking with Young Children about Sex

 

By Trishia Van Orden

This is part one in a two part series. You can find part two here

 

“Mommy, what is sex?”

“Daddy, where to babies come from?”

Questions like these can catch parents off guard and might make us a little uncomfortable. It’s okay to be nervous! Just remember this is a great opportunity for you and your child grow closer together.

Be positive and honest with your child. It’s a good thing that they came to you. They will be grateful for your support and honesty. Just remember to start the conversation off slow and move with your child so you do not overwhelm them.

Here are a few helpful reminders and terms to start you off on the right foot.

Points to remember:

  • Reflect on how you feel about this topic. Does it make you uncomfortable? Are you educated on the subject?
  • What are your family’s rules, morals, goals, and expectations for this topic?
  • You know your child better than anyone else, so you are their best source of information.
  • Children are naturally curious and ask questions. Follow their lead.
  • Approach their questions openly and casually. Acting panicky or negative will send the wrong message.
  • Use actual names for body parts. Fake names make the topic seem bad or taboo.
  • Be sure to define terms that they may not know (uterus, penis, vagina).
  • Answer their question simply and clearly.
  • Be sure that you know exactly what they are asking so you do not give them information that they may not be ready for.

 

Terms:                                                             

Actual DefinitionSimplified Definition
AnusThe exterior opening of the rectum which controls the output of feces.A body part where a person goes poop from. This is a personal and private part of your body.
Breast 

Two mammary glands that develop on a female during puberty. After pregnancy breasts produce milk to feed babies.

A private and personal part of a girl’s body that develops when she is older. It is located on her upper chest.
PenisA male reproductive organ that contains the means for a male to urinate and output semen 

A part of a boy’s body where he pees from. Sperm also travels through the penis during sex. This is a personal and private part of their (your) body.

Urethra 

A tube that connects to the urinary bladder so one  can urinate. In males, it is part of the penis. In women, it is located between the clitoris and the vaginal opening.  

The tube that carries pee out of the body.
Uterus 

A woman’s reproductive organ located in her lower torso where  the fetus grows to maturity.

A special place inside mom for babies to grow. It is located here (point or touch lower abdomen).
Vagina 

A muscular tube that connects the external genitals to a woman’s uterus in which she can have sex and deliver babies.

A part of a girl’s body which connects to her uterus. This is a personal and private part of their (your) body.

 

Some great subtopics to address with this age group are: anatomy,  essential body functions, healthy touching vs. unhealthy touching, when to say no, and the basics of “where babies come from.” Here are some additional ideas and conversation starters:

Sample 1

Child: Where do babies come from?

Parent: Babies are made when a daddy’s seed and a mommy’s egg join together and create a baby. The baby lives and grows in the mommy’s tummy until it is ready to be born.  

Sample 2

Child: My friends were talking about something at school. Can you tell me what sex is?

Parent: What have you heard about sex?

Child: Answers

Parent: A man and a women both have body parts that fit together like puzzle pieces. When these body parts join together it is called sex. Sex is something that is very special that a couple does to show their love for one another and to create babies. It is something only for adults. Does this answer your question?

Child: What are the body parts that fit together?

Parent: A man’s penis can fit into a woman’s vagina.

Sample 3

Parent: Do you know what to do if someone grabs or touches you in a place or way that you do not like?

Child: No

Parent: If that ever happens, you can yell “No!” Then run away and tell an adult you trust, like me or a teacher.

Final thoughts:

It is important to build from what children have heard and know so they don’t get confused or overwhelmed. However, if ever you find yourself stuck and unable to answer a question, kindly tell your child that you will get back to them. Research the answer and then return to their question within the day so they know you are not avoiding them or the topic.

Remember to breathe, relax, and smile. You can do this. Talking to your child about sex may seem hard, but in the end the effort will be worth it. You will be giving your child important information that they need to understand and love their bodies and to protect themselves. You can do this!

Some of the ideas shared here came from our book 30 Days of Sex Talks (for ages 3-7). You can find more helpful information and examples on how to talk to your children about sex in 30 Days of Sex Talks (for ages 8-11)  and  How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography.

 

Trishia is a wife and mother of three wonderful little girls. She received her bachelor’s from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Marriage and Family Studies. She has a love for psychology and one day wishes to open her own Family Life Education Center where she lives. She also dreams of getting her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Trishia loves to be outdoors and spend time with her husband and little girls.

 

5 maneras de convertirse en un padre más conocedor de los medios

5 maneras de convertirse en un padre más conocedor de los medios

 

Por Rachelle Motte

Mi niña de 10 años no pudo dormir la otra noche porque vio una imagen aterradora en mi feed de Facebook. Un actor que conozco que se especializa en lo grotesco compartió una imagen de sí mismo en el maquillaje de escenario. Afortunadamente, pude ayudar a disipar sus miedos. Le conté sobre mi amigo actor, sobre lo mucho que me hizo reír una vez en la cena, y sobre lo encantado que estaba mi compañero de cuarto de la universidad cuando le dio su autógrafo.

Como sabía cómo interpretar la imagen (“¡ahí está Doug en el maquillaje del escenario!”), Pude ayudarla a ubicarla en su contexto adecuado y comenzar a superar su miedo.

Eso resolvió el problema del sueño. Pero, ¿y la próxima vez?

Necesito saber cómo contextualizar las imágenes difíciles si ayudo a mi hija a interpretarlas, a lidiar con los sentimientos que evocan y a seguir con su vida. En otras palabras, necesito trabajar en mi propia alfabetización mediática.

Esta habilidad no es automática, especialmente si tus días de escuela (como el mío) llegaron antes de que explotara Internet. Tú y yo crecimos en una cultura formada alrededor de la palabra escrita, pero los tiempos han cambiado.

Palabra e imagen

“Las imágenes y los iconos están desplazando rápidamente a las palabras como el sistema de comunicación dominante de nuestra cultura”, escribe el antiguo planificador de cuentas publicitarias Shane Hipps. (Hipps, 2009, p.17) “Las imágenes tienen una capacidad increíble para generar necesidades en los seres humanos que no existen de manera natural. Cada parte de nuestras vidas está influenciada y moldeada por el poder de la fotografía “. (Hipps, 2009, p.75)

Como si un gran cambio cultural no fuera suficiente, pasamos más y más horas por día viendo estas imágenes en las pantallas. La revista Harvard señaló en julio de 2012, “Los niños de entre 8 y 18 años pasan más de siete horas al día en las pantallas, a menudo utilizando más de una plataforma de medios a la vez”. (Brown, 2012, p. 58)

Estos cambios de palabras a imágenes, de papel a pantallas, han cambiado más que solo nuestros hábitos de comunicación: “El mosaico parpadeante de la luz pixelada re-modela las vías neuronales en el cerebro”, escribe Hipps. “Estas nuevas vías son simplemente opuestas a las vías requeridas para la lectura, la escritura y la concentración sostenida”. (Hipps, 2009, p.78).

Sé intencional

Hay buenas noticias Si conoce estos problemas y se ha comprometido a examinarlos y debatirlos con sus hijos, entonces la creciente importancia de las imágenes y las pantallas no tiene por qué significar la perdición para su familia. Aquí hay 5 maneras en que puede convertirse en un padre más conocedor de los medios:

1) Preste atención a los tipos de medios que usted y su familia usan. La mayoría de los adultos gastan, en promedio, alrededor de 9 horas al día mirando las pantallas. (Wallace, 2016) ¿Utiliza estas pantallas de forma activa o pasiva? ¿Utiliza su tableta por hábito, o alguna otra cosa se adaptaría mejor a sus necesidades? ¿Los auriculares te impiden establecer relaciones con las otras personas en la sala?

2) Eche un vistazo más de cerca a la publicidad. Mis hijos y yo queremos “clasificar” cada cartel que manejamos. ¿Qué es lo que realmente se vende, un producto o una experiencia? La próxima vez que vea un anuncio, deténgase y piense por un momento. ¿Cómo te hace sentir? ¿Necesitas el producto, o quieres esa sensación?

3) Conviértase en un espectador de películas activo. La próxima vez que su familia vea una película juntos, comprométase a pasar 15 minutos más o menos hablando de ella después. ¿Qué te dijo la película sobre las creencias del cineasta? ¿El mensaje de la película se alineó con sus propias creencias y valores? ¿Cómo puedes decirlo?

4) Mire el gran arte. Puede ver miles de imágenes por día, en revistas, en línea y en televisión, solo para empezar. ¿Qué pasaría si también miraras una hermosa obra de arte por unos momentos cada día? Pruébalo por una semana y mira lo que piensas.

5) Conviértase en uno de los primeros en adoptar. No espere a que su hija encuentre la siguiente aplicación más grande por su cuenta; llegue primero y hable con ella sobre cómo usarlo de manera responsable. Vuelva aquí a menudo para obtener noticias y actualizaciones que le ayudarán a estar al tanto de todo.

Repita estos pasos con frecuencia a medida que su hija crece. Ella hará preguntas diferentes a los 12 años de lo que lo hace a las 10. Ella está creciendo en un mundo que es muy diferente al que usted y yo crecimos. Mi hija y yo necesitaremos aumentar nuestras habilidades de alfabetización mediática si vamos a prosperar en este mundo, y usted también.

 

Citaciones:

Hipps, Shane, (2009). Parpadeo de píxeles: cómo la tecnología da forma a tu fe. Zondervan.

Brown, Nell Porter. (2012, julio) The Whistle: Multimedia de ESPN for Kids, “La próxima generación de fanáticos del deporte” Harvard Magazine. Obtenido el 11 de diciembre de 2016, en http://harvardmag.com/pdf/2012/07-pdfs/0712-HarvardMag.pdf

Wallace, Kelly. (2016, 6 de diciembre). ¿Cuánto tiempo pasan los padres en las pantallas? Tanto como sus adolescentes. CNN.com. Consultado el 13 de diciembre de 2016, en http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/06/health/parents-screen-use-attitudes-tweens-teens/

 

Año Nuevo e Imagen corporal: 5 consejos para enseñar a los niños

Año Nuevo e Imagen corporal: 5 consejos para enseñar a los niños


Por Jenny Johnson y Melody Bergman

Es enero. Y al igual que todos los años, los medios han cambiado las campanas plateadas y los lazos rojos para hacer planes y hacer dietas milagrosas. Donde quiera que vayamos, ya sea por radio, televisión o internet, alguien insinúa que debemos perder peso rápidamente.

Pero, ¿pensamos en cómo estos mensajes están afectando a nuestros hijos?

Gordos. Flacos. Altos. Chaparros. Feos. Hermosos. ¿Cómo se ven nuestros hijos cuando se miran en el espejo?

“Imagen corporal” es el término que usamos para describir nuestras percepciones sobre los aspectos físicos de nuestros cuerpos. Como todos sabemos, estos sentimientos pueden ser tanto positivos como negativos. Y están fuertemente influenciados por nuestra dieta diaria de medios, como los anuncios de Año Nuevo que nos bombardean en esta época del año.

Los niños y adolescentes ya luchan con las comparaciones con sus compañeros, cuyos cuerpos pueden cambiar más tarde, antes o al mismo tiempo que los suyos. En el mundo de hoy, a los niños les resulta aún más difícil mantener una imagen corporal positiva. Con las fotos retocadas y las partes corporales retocadas, los medios han aprendido a crear una imagen “perfecta”. A su vez, ha creado expectativas poco realistas y metas poco saludables para los niños.

Sin embargo, esto no es solo un problema en los medios convencionales, también es un gran problema en las redes sociales. En generaciones pasadas, la presión de los compañeros se limitaba a verse bien en el pasillo o en la ciudad. Ahora los niños sienten una atracción constante por capturar momentos “perfectos”, publicarlos en las redes sociales y acumular “me gusta”. Esa es la nueva presión de grupo, que en gran parte implica encontrar el ángulo perfecto en selfies, poses de cortesía y filtros halagadores.

Aunque históricamente la imagen corporal ha sido clasificada como un problema femenino, los niños también están luchando. Los chicos a menudo se enfrentan a imágenes masculinas en los medios que son “rudos” o “geniales”, y no se sienten como si estuvieran a la altura. Por ejemplo, juzgan sus propios músculos y fuerza contra atletas e incluso personajes de videojuegos, lo que crea sentimientos de inadecuación e inseguridad.

Entonces, ¿qué pueden hacer los padres para combatir estas percepciones negativas?

Aquí hay 5 consejos para enseñar a los niños sobre la imagen corporal saludable:

1) Sé un ejemplo. Tus hijos te escuchan Si eres crítico acerca de tu propio cuerpo, lo notarán. Se amable contigo mismo. Felicítate. Habla sobre tus puntos fuertes y sé positivo acerca de tus imperfecciones.

2) Limita la exposición. Los niños pasan, en promedio, 7.5 horas al día en una pantalla. La mayor parte de este tiempo se gasta en televisión, videojuegos y redes sociales (Medios, imagen corporal y trastornos alimenticios, hasta la fecha). Los niños están siendo influenciados por las redes sociales, personajes de televisión, publicidades, celebridades y amigos. Controla su uso de medios y asegúrate de que no se gaste una cantidad excesiva de tiempo objetivándose a sí mismos o a sus compañeros.

3) Elogia a tus hijos a menudo. Promueve su autoestima alentando las grandes cosas que hacen en lugar de cómo se ven. Agradéceles por sus comportamientos útiles y significativos (lavar los platos, dar abrazos, compartir un talento). Ayúdalos a comprender que los tipos de cuerpos pueden variar entre individuos y que son hermosos como son.

4) Ayúdalos a amar el cuerpo que tienen. Recuérdales a tus hijos todas las cosas increíbles que sus cuerpos pueden hacer: correr, nadar, dormir, ver, oír, hablar, cantar, soñar, tomarse de la mano, saltar, reír, etc. Ayúdelos a comprender que el cuerpo humano es un milagro y que tiene valor y belleza que trasciende los estándares económicos de la sociedad.

5) Enseñar alfabetización mediática. Cuando ve una imagen de Photoshop, puede darse cuenta de que no es real. ¿Pero tus hijos saben la diferencia? Enséñales a tus hijos cómo los medios crean ilusiones para manipularlos. Además, consulte nuestra página de actividades para niños para obtener práctica de deconstrucción de anuncios reales.

Hay tantas imágenes y voces que rodean a nuestros niños. Como padres, podemos ser una influencia positiva y esforzarnos por hacer que nuestras voces se eleven por encima de la tormenta mediática. Podemos marcar la diferencia. Podemos ayudar a nuestros hijos a comprender quiénes son y enseñarles a sentirse seguros de sí mismos.

 

Jennifer Johnson es pasante para Educate and Empower Kids, y está trabajando para obtener un título en Estudios de Matrimonio y Familia de la Universidad Brigham Young – Idaho. Ella es activa en su comunidad y se ha presentado como voluntaria en su distrito escolar local como ayudante de tareas del mediodía, representante del consejo de seguridad escolar y presidenta del PTO. Jennifer nació y se crió en el sur de California, donde actualmente vive con su esposo y sus tres hijos.

 

Melody Harrison Bergman es madre y madrastra de tres niños increíbles, fundadora de Mama Crossroads [http://mamacrossroads.com] y miembro del grupo de trabajo de prevención del Centro Nacional de Explotación Sexual. Ella tiene una licenciatura en comunicaciones y ha estado escribiendo y editando desde 2002. Su misión es motivar a los líderes y miembros de la comunidad para educar y proteger a los niños y las familias. Sus experiencias como sobreviviente de abuso sexual infantil y ex esposa de un adicto al sexo brindan una perspectiva única para la lucha contra la pornografía y la explotación sexual.

 

Citaciones:

Medios, imagen corporal y trastornos de la alimentación. (n.d.) Recuperado el 14 de noviembre de 2017, de https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/media-body-image-and-eating-disorders

 

Alright Dads, No More Sitting On The Side Lines: GET IN THE GAME

Alright Dads, No More Sitting On The Side Lines:  GET IN THE GAME

 

By: Spencer Loyd

 

Recently I came home from work, and the house was a mess, the kids were not fed, and my wife was watching TV. My first thought, which I kept to myself, was, “Are you kidding me? I worked all day and come home to this!” However, instead of putting my foot in my mouth, I did something different; I asked what I could do to help and went to work. After thirty minutes of getting the house clean and cooking dinner, my wife basically jumped in my arms and said, “THANK YOU!” She proceeded to tell me of the terrible day she had, which involved cleaning up one of our kid’s vomit and diarrhea, finding out her mom may have another tumor, cleaning more vomit, and then vomiting herself. For a moment, I was grateful I spent the day at work! Then it hit me; just a little bit of help from me made a world of difference for my wife.

If you are anything like me, you may have separated your responsibilities from your wife’s. In the past, our society designated the man as the breadwinner and the woman as the caretaker and housekeeper. We don’t live in this world anymore, but many people continue to believe in this ideology. In fact, a 2017 study by Rebecca M. Horne, Matthew D. Johnson, Nancy L. Galambos, & Harvey J. Krahn found that women still do more housework than men at all stages of life, even when both husband and wife work. Despite your upbringing or past examples, the first major flaw in this ideology that must be addressed is the idea that the responsibility to care for the kids is solely the mothers.

Being a father is much more than just taking care of your family financially. Sociologist David Popenoe said, “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.” In my life I have found I can address issues in a different way than my wife. Sometimes, because my children have similar traits as I did when I was a child, they are able to better understand my perspective. As my wife and I work together, each focusing on our strengths, our children are the beneficiaries of a happier home.

Here are a couple of tips I have found extremely helpful for becoming a more active dad in my children’s lives:

  • First and foremost, the way you treat your wife is the example you’re setting for your kids. Therefore, don’t be a jerk! Treat your wife the same way you did when you were dating her; bring her flowers occasionally, court her, make sure she knows you love her, and make sure your kids know you love her!
  • Next, love, respect, and protect your kids. It can be hard to remember at times, but kids are people with their own likes and dislikes and with different opinions than yours. Your children should know through your thoughts, words, and actions that no matter what choices, mistakes, or decisions they make, you love them and will always love them.
  • Even though we show unconditional love, we have to establish rules and boundaries and model how to live within the guidelines. These rules and boundaries can be anything from showing respect for adults such as using sir or mam to basic household rules such as everyone cleaning up their own messes and helping with household chores. It is essential to discuss the rules and consequences for breaking the rules with your wife before you implement them, and make sure you support each other in upholding the rules you have set.
  • It is also important to get involved in conversations with your kids, even the ones that might make you uncomfortable like sex and puberty talks. Generally speaking, dads talk to sons and moms talk to daughters when it comes to sex and puberty. This doesn’t have to be the case. Dads can give daughters and sons a different perspective on subjects like these, but they have to choose to actively participate. Check out 30 Days of Sex Talks and 30 Days to a Stronger Child for some advice on these conversations.
  • Model the behaviors you want your kids to have–especially online. If you don’t want your kids to be bullies, then make sure you aren’t a bully. If you don’t want your kids spending all of their free time on their phones, then don’t do it either. It may seem small and simple, but your kids will do what they see you do.
  • Become more involved in what your kids like. A majority of kids in society today enjoy video games, TV shows, movies, and other forms of technology. Therefore, make sure your kids know your standards and only use technology in ways that are appropriate. You have to be the one who teaches them what is and isn’t appropriate! A great book about teaching your kids how to use technology for good is Noah’s New Phone.

There are many things we can do as dads to step it up and help our kids. Having a desire to do better is where we all start. I personally believe many dads can do a little better than they have in the past because I have been there, and I am trying to improve my abilities as a father everyday. We can do it; just get off the sidelines and get in the game!

 

Spencer Loyd is the father of four amazing children under the age of 10. He attended Brigham Young University-Idaho and studied Marriage and Family Studies, and he currently works as a substance abuse counselor at a correctional facility. Spencer has a passion for music, especially creating his own with his family, and binge watching scary movies with his brothers. He also enjoys helping others succeed and seeing the joy this brings.  

Citations:

Horne, R. M., Johnson, M. D., Galambos, N. L., & Krahn, H. J. (2017). Time, Money, or Gender? Predictors of the Division of Household Labour Across Life Stages. Sex Roles. doi:10.1007/s11199-017-0832-1

Stanton, G. (2004). The Involved Father. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/parenting-roles/the-involved-father/fathers-matter

5 Ways to Become a More Media-Savvy Parent

5 Ways to Become a More Media-Savvy Parent

 

By Rachelle Motte

My 10 year old couldn’t sleep the other night because she saw a scary picture in my Facebook feed. An actor I know who specializes in the grotesque shared a picture of himself in stage makeup. Fortunately, I was able to help dispel her fears. I told her about my actor friend, about how much he made me laugh once at dinner, and about how delighted my college roommate was when he gave her his autograph.

Because I knew how to interpret the picture (“there’s Doug in stage makeup!”), I was able to help her place it in its proper context and begin to move past her fear.

That solved the sleep problem. But what about next time?

I need to know how to put difficult images in context for myself if I’m going to help my daughter interpret them, deal with the feelings they evoke, and move on with her life. In other words, I need to work on my own media literacy.

This skill doesn’t come automatically, especially if your school days (like mine) came before the internet exploded. You and I grew up in a culture formed around the written word, but times have changed.

Word and Image

“Images and icons are fast displacing words as the dominant communication system of our culture,” writes former advertising account planner Shane Hipps. (Hipps, 2009, p. 17) “Images have an incredible capacity to generate needs in humans that don’t naturally exist. Every part of our lives is influenced and shaped by the power of the photograph.” (Hipps, 2009, p.75)

As if one major cultural shift weren’t enough, we spend more and more hours per day viewing these images on screens. Harvard Magazine noted in July, 2012, “Kids between 8 and 18 are spending more than seven hours a day on screens, often using more than one media platform at a time.” (Brown, 2012, p. 58)

These shifts from words to images, from paper to screens, have changed more than just our media habits: “The flickering mosaic of pixilated light re-patterns neural pathways in the brain,” writes Hipps. “These new pathways are simply opposed to the pathways required for reading, writing, and sustained concentration.” (Hipps, 2009, p. 78)

Be Intentional

There is good news. If you’re aware of these issues and committed to examining and discussing them with your kids, then the growing importance of images and screens needn’t spell doom for your family.

Here are 5 ways you can become a more media-savvy parent:

1) Pay attention to the kinds of media you and your family use. Most adults spend, on average, about 9 hours a day looking at screens. (Wallace, 2016) Do you use these screens actively, or passively? Do you use your tablet out of habit, or would something else fit your needs better? Do those earbuds keep you from building relationships with the other people in the room? (For more great discussions about media and using tech for good, check our Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good.)

2) Take a closer look at advertising. My kids and I like to “rank” each billboard we drive past. What’s it really selling—a product, or an experience? Next time you see an ad, stop and think for a moment. How does it make you feel? Do you need the product, or do you want that feeling?

3) Become an active movie viewer. Next time your family sees a movie together, commit to spending 15 minutes or so talking about it afterward. What did the movie tell you about the filmmaker’s beliefs? Did the film’s message line up with your own beliefs and values? How can you tell? (For more great discussion questions like this, check out Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure.)

4) Look at great art. You see thousands of images each day—in magazines, online, and on TV, just for starters. What might happen if you also looked at a beautiful piece of art for a few moments each day? Try it for a week and see what you think.

5) Become an early adopter. Don’t wait for your teen to find the next biggest app on her own; get there first, and talk with her about how to use it responsibly. Check back here often for news and updates that will help you stay on top of it all.

Repeat these steps often as your child grows. She’ll ask different questions at 12 than she does at 10. She’s growing up in a world that’s very different from the one in which you and I did. My daughter and I will both need to grow our media literacy skills if we’re going to thrive in this world—and so will you.

For an amazing opportunity to teach your kids how to read images, advertising, social media, fake news, and other media in our culture, check out our new children’s book, Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure. Available on Amazon.

 

There are affiliate links in the blog post. When you use them to make purchases, we thank you for supporting Educate and Empower Kids!

Rachel Motte is a freelance writer, journalist, and editor whose writing has appeared at CNN.com, in Eagle Forum’s Education Reporter, at EvangelicalOutpost.com, in Jonah Goldberg’s 2010 anthology, Proud to be Right, and in numerous other print and internet publications. She is an alumna of Biola University, the Torrey Honors Institute, The Leadership Institute, and the World Journalism Institute. 

Citations:

Hipps, Shane, (2009). Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith. Zondervan.

Brown, Nell Porter. (2012, July) The Whistle: An Entrepreneur’s Multimedia ESPN for Kids, “The next generation of sports fans” Harvard Magazine. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from http://harvardmag.com/pdf/2012/07-pdfs/0712-HarvardMag.pdf

Wallace, Kelly. (2016, December 6). How Much Time Do Parents Spend on Screens? As Much as Their Teens. CNN.com. Retrieved December 13, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/06/health/parents-screen-use-attitudes-tweens-teens/

Introducing: Petra’s Power to See

Introducing: Petra’s Power to See

EEK Releases New Book Teaching Kids How to READ Images and Media

 

By Dina Alexander, MS

As my kids’ ages have entered double digits, certain messages in media have been brutal on them. Every time they pick up a phone or open a laptop they are confronted with images of men, women, and teens who are filtered and staged–often in physically unattainable ways–and whose lifestyle taunts at something better, something cooler than my kids can get in “real life.” And I haven’t even started talking about the damage of TV or online ads:

I’m only talking about their social media feeds.

As I think about my kids and the inescapable messages all around them, I realize that most of us parents are waiting too long to start talking about media messages in advertising, music, books, magazines, news stories, games, apps, websites, video clips, and elsewhere.

Although I have talked with my kids about these influences many times, I find myself wishing I had started talking about media literacy with them when they were young enough to be influenced by Disney movies or Hot Wheels commercials instead of Instagram or YouTube.

In the last couple of years, my kids and I have started discussing various media and learning together to deconstruct the hidden and overt messages around us in apps, movies, videos and elsewhere. It has not only been a fascinating experience, but it has also empowered us to see through many of the confusing and harmful messages in media.

And now I want to help you teach your kids to be more media savvy! And not just with advertisements, but with their interactions in social media, gaming, and news–real or fake.

What would you give for your kids to be able to read and decipher the real messages in images and media in our culture?  

If you would like to start building these habits within your family then you’ll want to check out Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure . The story centers around a girl named Petra as she ventures through the city to learn about the media messages all around her. She and her dad come face to face with clear and hidden messages in different media such as advertising, social media, movies, and fake news.  

As with all of our books, Petra’s Power to See provides tools for you to create simple discussions that educate your kids about the world around them and truly empower them to be better consumers of media.

By taking a positive, yet realistic view of media, this book helps kids to see that while there are many forms of wonderful, healthy media in our culture, there are also useless and harmful messages out there.

Petra’s Power to See also helps kids to not be fearful of media, but to be critical and deliberate in their consumption and perhaps a little more understanding of why their parents have rules aboutmedia and tech use.

To further assist parents, we have included a helpful chapter on sensitive topics like pornography and violent media. There is also a workbook with discussions and activities and a Media Guideline that families can use to create rules and boundaries together. 

Living in an image-based culture, where we get most of our information from video and photographs (versus our parents who received most of their information in a written form), it is so important for kids, both young and old, to become truly literate: media literate. 

Try this book. It is a great opportunity to have excellent discussions, learn together, and be more media savvy. Together we can do this!

From Petra’s Power to See

 

 

 

Dina Alexander is the founder and CEO of Educate and Empower Kids (educateempowerkids.org), an organization determined to strengthen families by teaching digital citizenship, media literacy, and healthy sexuality education—including education about the dangers of online porn. She is the creator of Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good, Messages About Me: A Journey to Healthy Body Image, How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, and the 30 Days of Sex Talks and 30 Days to a Stronger Child programs. She received her master’s degree in recreation therapy from the University of Utah and her bachelors from Brigham Young University. She is an amazing mom and loves spending time with her husband and three kids. Together, they live in Texas.