Children are the world's best imitators, but we often forget that when it comes to choosing the media our children watch, listen to and interact with.
From television shows to songs on the radio, what our children are exposed to soaks in and is often regurgitated in one way or another.
As you consider what your allow your children to watch, listen to and interact with, use these questions to evaluate if the media is appropriate for your child.
1. What's the moral message? Media sends a message to our children. Is the message cooperation is important? Violence is acceptable? Does the moral message line up with your family's values?
2. Is there advertising? Consider how much of the video, show or song focuses on advertising a product. Consider if you want your child exposed to the products advertised.
3. Are their stereotypes? Does the media portray a certain people group or gender in a poor light? Are their stereotypes you don't agree with?
4. Can your child comprehend the content? Will he understand if the story is real or pretend? Young children have a hard time distinguishing between what is real and what is not. Be sure that that the media you choose doesn't scare or confuse your child.
5. How long is it? Consider your child's attention span and see if lines up with the length of the media.
6. What is the rating? What age is the media recommended for? Consider the labels when choosing media for your children. They are there to help you make educated choices.
Before allowing your child to tune into something new, listen to the music, play the game or watch the show first. Notice if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, angry, uneasy or embarrassed. If so, it's probably a good idea to pass on the selection.
Watching television or movies, listening to music and playing games together can also help ensure that your child gets the right media message. By being available to talk about what you see or hear, you can help convey the message you want your child to respond to.
How do you choose what your child watches, listens to or plays? Do you prescreen new media? Share your thoughts on how you choose appropriate media choices for your child.