Childhood obesity mounts as junk food purveyors bombard children with advertising, even at school. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study reports that children spend more hours engaging with various electronic media — TV, games, videos and other online entertainments — than they spend in school. Much of what children watch involves violent, sexual imagery, and yet children’s media remain largely unregulated. Attempts to curb excesses — like California’s ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors — have been struck down by courts as free speech violations.
As a maternal-child nurse and clinical social worker I am concerned about child welfare. I found this editorial particularly disturbing.
The United States has had a history of protecting children …but the age of multi-media access poses an entirely new problem when it comes to child protection. Child protection in New York was first linked to the laws that protected ‘animal cruelty’. Because children were considered “animals” it was felt that they also needed to be protected by laws preventing abuse.
It seems absurd, but that is how child advocates convinced lawmakers to establish child protective services in New York City.
In today’s society, children are constantly bombarded with corporate advertising, enticing them to eat certain foods and purchase certain products. We have seen an enormous rise in childhood obesity…this is particularly disturbing.
Corporate America does not seem to worry that these children will suffer medical consequences from obesity which will eventually effect the corporate ‘bottom line’ in the future.
Children are exposed to media violence like never before.
Teenagers watch reality television believing that it is real, when in fact, the fighting, excessive drinking and sex are all encouraged by the producers to increase viewers, ratings and income.
I am convinced attention to child welfare goes far beyond what has traditionally been considered a good home environment.
The question is how do we monitor child welfare in the age of social media and media in general.
I am not sure I know all the answers but close supervision of what children view on television and what they view on their computers is one way to begin.
Good communication between children and parents is essential …once you lose this, in my opinion it all but over.
So, dinners together and any opportunities to engage in conversation…such as time in the car together should not be lost. These are the times that can make a huge difference how a child views and engages in the world around them.