In a world long ago, it was relatively easy to turn off the TV if you wanted your children to do another activity. But now it can feel nearly impossible to get kids to unplug from their various media devices even for a few minutes.
Rebecca Randall, a social worker by training, is this week's guest on Shaping Families, a radio program produced by Third Way Media. She is vice-president of education for Common Sense Media, which she joined when she saw the impact that media was having on her kids as they grew older. Randall will discuss how to monitor and connect with children and youth in their media use, looking at both the negative and positive aspects. "When I was growing up, it was really just pretty passive and you know, you sort of sat there and you took it all in. Now kids have the opportunity to interact, they have the world at their fingertips. They’re connecting, they’re collaborating, and they’re networking, which are really important 21st century skills," Randall says.
Third Way Media has long had involvement in media literacy for consumers, having offered Television Awareness Training workshops in the late 70s and 80s which many Mennonite churches participated in. It also produced two popular small group discussion videos on the topic now available on one DVD, Beyond the News: TV Violence.
Shaping Families radio program airs each weekend on 17 local radio stations and online at www.ShapingFamilies.com. Also featured at the website is a weekly blog by host Burton Buller, a weekly recipe from Shaping Families staff and contributors, a study guide useable by small groups and Sunday school classes and many additional resources. Third Way Media is a department of Mennonite Mission Network.