Imagine the following situation...
You come home after work exhausted, and as soon as you step into the house, your eight-year-old child runs to meet you carrying a mobile phone larger than his hand. All excited, your son shows you his photo on Instagram, without you ever being aware that your son was using it. And in the photo – it’s your naked child. Finally, for the knockout punch, there comes a completely logical question – Mom, Mom! Am I going to be on TV now, like Jelena Karleuša?
And now you’re thinking who to blame for this situation. Your son? Jelena Karleuša? Or a journalist who promoted her on TV? Or maybe... yourself? Yes, yourself, as it was you who did it all.
We live in a time in which the media plays the roles of father and mother and kindergarten and school for some children.
Why is this a problem?
Have you ever thought about the way in which media heroes influence children?
Based on a recent survey conducted by UNICEF and AEM, 57% of the children surveyed say they imitate their media heroes – by having a similar hairstyle, wearing similar clothes, or doing similar things...
When a child aged 7, 8, 10 or 13 sees something or someone on TV or the internet, they interpret content intended for people aged 40, 30 or 20 differently. If there is nobody around to talk to that child and to explain what it is and how it should be seen, the odds are high that the child will absorb everything unconditionally. Absorb and, most often, imitate.
This is why it is important for parents to choose the media content consumed by their children, as well as to talk to them about that content and to help them develop critical thinking and media literacy.
Simple questions such as – who created the media content, for whom, for what reason, in which manner, why exactly and with whose funds – would improve the media literacy of every parent and every child.
Today and here, not tomorrow and there. Not in the future, because children are not the future. I am nobody’s future. I am the present. I live now. I change myself and the world now. I create the future now.
Somebody once said that your country is as good as your media is (for children), and I compliment this by saying that your children are as good as your country is. Then, by simple mathematical operations, we can conclude that our children are as good as our media is. Children are not only a reflection of their parents. Children are also a reflection of the media. Think about it, it doesn’t cost anything.
Balša Božović is an 18-year-old student from Podgorica, Montenegro. He is in his final year of school and is very active in sports. He has been training in basketball for 7 years, and currently, he is training in water polo. He finished his first Olympic triathlon when he was 17. He launched a campaign of "osvijesti.me", which deals with ecology and the environment. Balsa is a member of the first team of 'UNICEF Volunteers - Young Reporters' formed in 2018 within the media literacy campaign 'Let's Choose What We Watch'