Parents as Media Educators

Media content is often meant for adults or older children. It’s not – suitable for children without filtering. Small children always need support in their media use.

In this video, professor and neuroscientist Minna Huotilainen discusses the parent’s role as a media educator and the parent’s duty to regulate children’s media use.

Children cannot regulate their media use

Content is carefully designed to keep us focused as long as possible – on the media. They want to get and keep our attention. We’re bad at handling the small rewards.

We can compare this to sweets. We know how candy works in families. It has a specific hiding place – and mom may grab a sweet now and then. When “candy day” arrives – children can have sweets as well.

If we treated candy like we often treat media – we would have 4,000 opened candy bags sprinkled around the house. Then we would tell children: “You shouldn’t have too much candy. You can only have a few.” We know that it won’t work with children.

Don’t put children in a situation where they have access to all media – and then forbid their use. We, the adults, are responsible. A small child isn’t accountable.

How should adults know what is appropriate media use?

That is where a parent knows their child best. They’re the experts – who monitor the child and their actions and then make decisions accordingly.

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