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Personal Best Karate

Media safety during the dog days of summer

Posted: May 17, 2019

By Master Christopher Rappold:

     Did you know the American child spends an average of 44.5 hours per week in front of some form of media? 
Did you also know they see an average of 40,000 commercials annually and that by the time they are in middle 
school they have seen 8,000 murders and over 100,000 acts of violence on TV alone? 

     All this adds up to a mountain of input that studies have shown is not positively contributing to their social 
emotional and physical well being. So what is a parent to do? The first step is to fully embrace the fact that 
TV, the internet and cell phones may have as much or more influence over their behavior as their peers do and 
that all of those exposures are contributors to their overall well-being. 

     To take some positive steps forward, think about the role you play with your child when it comes to junk food. 
Rarely do you let them eat all they want. Generally a child will come home and ask for a snack. What if you 
started developing the habit of your child asking to go on the internet or watch TV? I know many children 
who consider TV and media a given during the summer. They turn it on without even thinking. By gradually 
developing the habit of your child asking for permission, it provides you a measure of control of both content 
and appropriateness, because now you are involved.

     Be aware that what they view in pop culture as appealing is probably not going to be your taste. If the show is age appropriate, be careful not to knock it simply because the content is not your preference. It’s important for you to stay in tune with what your child and others his or her age are watching. You want to always be perceived as at familiar with their world. This will pay you back tenfold in giving your child a feeling that they can communicate with you when problems in their life arise. Children are far less likely to share their feelings with parents whom they feel are out of touch.

     The same rules can apply to safety on the internet, which of course now extends to their cell phones. At a 
minimum, be sure your child knows the basics, which would be never giving their name or personal information 
and never agreeing to meet someone they are introduced to online. Beyond the basics, parents can keep their 
children protected by taking the time to show the sites that are acceptable and allowed to be visited. Make sure 
that your child understands if they ever see something on line that looks inappropriate, to immediately get you. 
Also, specifically regarding cell phones it is probably a good idea to have a time each night that the phones 
are turned off. Too many teens are sleeping with their phones that continue to beep with texts throughout the 
night, continually depriving your child of a restful sleep. If you have concerns regarding what your child may 
be seeing or listening to when you are not there, there are some very inexpensive software programs available 
that can serve as a filtering mechanism for safe internet travels. It may be worth your peace of mind to do some 
simple investigation. 

     Taken together the TV, internet and cell phone use will be playing an ever increasing role in your child’s life. 
As we certainly know they can be a very positive experience by providing them with information and answers 
that we didn’t have access to when we were younger. With common sense, communication and a watchful eye 
you will ensure your child receives all of the benefits without any negative parental fear.

If you would like to have your child try our award-winning character based martial arts program that will reinforce family value and teach mental and physical skills to ensure they are safe, please go to the registration page to sign up today. I promise you that our team of highly-skilled martial arts teachers and mentors will make you and your family feel right at home.