We are in the age of mass media. Globalization and the rapid growth in technology have eased an access to the mass media. Different people are being involved in the mass media, directly or indirectly. The impact of the mass media has penetrated even the remotest parts of the earth (Sullivan, 2012). It has made the flow of information from one person to the other easier. Unlike in the years before, access to electronic communication has increased. Even illiterate people have a TV or a radio. The mass media has an important player in modern development. It has penetrated our lives. Because of the influence the mass media has in our lives, it affects the relationships of people in society. It affects how men relate with women, children with parents, elders with young people, and so on. This paper focuses on the role the mass media plays in the construction/reconstruction of the child/parent relationship.
The main reason parents use mass media is as a source of information and, sometimes, entertainment. However, when parents don’t control how their children are using the mass media, it can cause serious parenting issues. Excessive use of the media by the children affects them negatively. It affects the relationship they have with their parents. It denies the parent and the child time to sit down and have a meaningful conversation. It is common nowadays to enter a house and find all family members busy watching the TV and no one is talking to the other. This lack of communication is dangerous as it weakens the bond between the child and the parent. Parents need to have time to sit down with their children and engage in a conversation. When they don’t do this, the children learn from the mass media and start taking the things being said by the media as the truth. Some of these things are harmful and dangerous to their well-being.
Parents who spend much time on the mass media are also likely to neglect their children (Jordan & Romer, 2014). When a parent spends too much time watching the television, for example, they will have less time to communicate with his/her child. Communication is important between parents and children to foster their relationship. When a child lacks the attention of parents or feels that they are ignoring him, he starts becoming rebellious. Parents should therefore be available to take care of their children. They should not allow the mass media to act as a distraction.
Children are not mature enough, and too much exposure to the media affects them negatively, as they cannot be able to make good judgments. They cannot distinguish reality from fiction (Oliver & Raney, 2014). When they become used to the mass media, they grow up having distorted views about the world. Their relationship with other people, including their parents, is based on what they have learned from the mass media. It is, therefore, becomes hard for the parents to control them. For instance, if a child is used to watching too many movies, they might grow thinking that violence is the only way of solving problems. Sometimes they even use violence against their parents. Furthermore, it makes such children leave their parents and go outside to do criminal activities, which can endanger their lives.
The use of social media that has gained popularity in recent times is a big threat to any relationships in society, including the child-parent relationship. People are spending too much time on social media, which has destroyed human interactions (Appiah, 2017). Instead of children learning from their parents and society on how to behave, they are being taught by people whom they don’t know on social media. Some information shared on social media is misleading. Children are making friends on social media who are affecting their relationships with their parents. They advise them to do bad things like smoking, drinking and partying, which their parents don’t approve of. This creates conflict between the child and the parent. Some parents have been influenced by social media, which has changed the way they relate with their children (Smith, 2018). They have listened to strangers on social media advising them on how they should bring up their children. Some of these methods have failed terribly and left a big mark on the parent-child relationship.
Although the media a lot of negative effects on the parent-child relationship, it also has a positive side. When used properly, the media can help in developing this relationship. The media has much information that children and parents can use to strengthen their relationship. For example, TV programs on parental guidance or programs targeting the children in a way that helps them to become better people.
Appiah, W., & Appiah, D. (2017). Social media: New menace to meaningful relationships. House of Change.
Jordan, A., & Romer, D. (2014). Media and the well-being of children and adolescents. Oxford University Press.
Oliver, M., & Raney, A. (2014). Media and social life. Routledge.
Smith, N. (2018). Social citizens: A positive approach to social media & parenting in a digital World (1st ed.). Calvin Simpson.
Sullivan, J. (2012). Media audiences: Effects, users, institutions, and power. SAGE Publishers.