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COMPREHENSION EXERCISE: “How the Media influence children”

March 11, 2009

Hi!  As agreed in class, it’s my turn to start the publishing of texts and preparing questions about it.  I am sure it will be a very good way of practising our reading and also keepting up to date with what is happening around us. This text is related to the topic we are delaing with in class, so I hope you like it.

Read the text, think about it and answer the questions. Cheer up!

1. Are the media a useful tool for  children’s education?

2. Are the media a reliable reflection of life?

3. What is the main influence of the media on children?

4. Can  parents counteract the media’s influence?

5. What does Dr. Brown think about the media as sexual educators?

6. Now, II’d like your opinion about the text. Do you agree with the writer? Can the media influence the children so strongly?

7. Finally, which new words have you learnt? Make a list.

Well done, classmates!


” At an early age books, movies, television, and the Internet influence how our children think and act in a variety of ways. As children grow these media influences become even more powerful. The media influences on children is not always a good influence and parents need to counteract this influence by discussing and monitoring what their children are exposed to.

The media often stereotypes people and races. Most children’s programming deals in absolutes reinforcing the idea that people are good or bad, stupid or smart and because of their inexperience children will latch onto stereotypes that they see.

Parents can counteract this stereotyping by commenting when a group is portrayed inaccurately. Let your children know for example that every blond isn’t stupid, and wearing black doesn’t make you a bad guy. Point out that everyone has good and bad traits.
So, often in the media a character is either good or bad, but in real life this is not the case.

The media uses its influence on children to market items and influence your child’s desires making them think that they need certain items to be popular or cool. My children often comment on things that they saw in commercials. The other day my son told me that I should get a kitchen chopper, because it can cut things up so much faster than I can using a knife. I replied that I don’t need a kitchen chopper because a knife works just fine.

Every year children influence their parents spending by convincing them to buy things that the media has portrayed as “cool”. Children recognize name-brand products at an early age because they see them in the media. My children recognized the McDonalds sign by age three even though we never eat there, because they saw commercials on television.

Counteract the marketing by pointing out the faulty logic in commercials. Ask your child if they really think having the latest toy will make them more popular or happy. Children often don’t realize that a Barbie won’t move around like it does on the commercials or that the elaborate set doesn’t come with the toy. Parents can teach their children that things do not equal happiness. Try rewarding with praise and time instead of objects. My children know that they don’t get what they see on television and they rarely ask.

Life on many television shows and movies is far from normal. They often glamorize potentially destructive behaviors like drinking, drugs, affairs, and intimate teen relationships.

As a parent you can counteract the media’s influence by pointing out how the actions of the people on screen are potentially dangerous. Alcohol commercials never show the hangovers the next day. Rarely does a teenage girl get pregnant or someone contract a sexually transmitted disease in the media.

Research done by both RAND and the University of North Carolina also shows that teenagers who are exposed to more sex talk and acts in the media are more likely to engage in those same behaviors themselves. Dr. Brown, one of the researchers says, “Teens are defaulting to entertainment media for sexual information because they aren’t getting this information in other places. Unfortunately, the media aren’t the best sex educators. The media tend to leave out the crucial three C’s: commitment, contraception and consequences.” The study on media influence on children also pointed out that parents could have a greater impact on their teen’s sexual behavior than the media when they talk about it.

Taking the time to discuss the things that our children view in the media will ensure that they are learning the things that we want them to and not the lessons that the media might be teaching thus avoiding negative influence of media.”

By Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff  (

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Mario permalink
    March 25, 2009 11:39 pm

    In my opinion, media are a useful tool for children’s education, provided that it is overviewed by parents. They must be aware of what’s on TV in order to choose the best programs for their children. In spite of this, i still think media may be a wonderful tool for children’s eduaction.

    The second question is quite a cunning one. I would say it depends on the program itself. There are many of them which are very interesting and educative. Many documentary films are great in reflecting our current ages. Of course, there are loads of programs that can be call just rubbish or even worst. Is because of that that the parental advice and monitoring practise is so important.

    According to the text, the main influence is related with brands, such as Nike, McDonalds, Adidas, Nokia,… and these kind of items.

    If parents can counteract the media’s influence is a difficult question to answer. I would say they can only counteract up to a certain degree. Society is full of advertisements, everywhere, and the occidental culture is soaked in consumption, therefore out of the parents zone of inluence children are bond to be corrupted unless there is a healthy background or environment. I think the big answer will come from the way we, as a society, construct our life values. Then, the level of parents control is out of question when we think about the big issue of solving the unhealthy influences of our society has as a whole.

    By and large, i agree with the author. I think media has a strong impact in our lifes, and this impact is heavier when we talk about children. But, eventhough this strong influence, parents still have a major influence over their children. Thus, it isn’t everything lost then when it comes to the educational subject and the media influences.

    to Latch on=agarrarse, cogerse a la moda de algo

  2. María del Campo permalink
    March 30, 2009 12:39 pm

    1.- Are the media a useful tool for children education?

    As the author says, the rightful use of television, radio or newspapers causes a good influence on children’s education, but as she explains parents must monitor the information their children are exposed to, in order to let them know when this information is not as accurate as they believe.

    2.- Are the media a reliable reflection of life?

    As the text says, the media are not a reliable reflection of life because they tend to stereotype people and due to the fact that children are so easy manipulated and inexperienced they believe and trust in everything they hear at television, and so many times it would be better for them not to do it.

    3.- What is the main influence of the media on children?

    According to the text, the main influences of the media on children are, on the one hand the advertisements which make them feel that if they had some items they would be cooler and happier and on the other hand the way media generalize people and races reinforcing the stereotypes.

    4.- Can parents counteract the media’s influence?

    The author points out that, parents can counteract media’s influence by making children understand the nonsense of some ads and by commenting with their child when a group or race is stereotyped in an inaccurate way. The author encourages parents to dedicate time to their children instead of objects.

    5.- What does Dr. Brown think about the media as sexual educator?

    As Dr. Brown says, teenagers tend to look into media in order to find sexual information as a result of the lack of this kind of information they find at other sources like their parents or educators, and he points out that, media don’t pay attention to commitment, contraception or consequences.

    6.- Now I’d like your opinion about the text. Do you agree with the author? Can the media influence the children so strongly?

    As far as I am concerned I think we are manipulated by the media to a certain extent, but as adults we realize when it happens. The problem is when the media focus their attention in children and they aren’t able to notice their lives wouldn’t be better with a new toy or new name-brand clothes and they tend to feel sad.
    I agree with the author when she explains that parents must dedicate time to explain and to comment ads and news with their children and for me the essential thing is teaching children to appreciate the value of things and making them develop the ability of watching ads with a critic view.

    7.- Finally, which new words have you learnt? Make a list.

    LATCH ONTO= enterarse
    Kitchen CHOPPER= a large heavy knife or small axe.
    TO PORTRAY sth/sb as sth/sb = to describe or show sb/sth in a particular way, especially when this does not give a complete accurate impression of what they are like.
    NAME-BRAND products= marcas, productos de marca.
    LEAVE OUT = excluir, omitir, dejar al margen de
    DEFAULTING TO sth = to happen when you do not make any other choice or change.

  3. María del Campo permalink
    March 30, 2009 8:08 pm

    As far as I am concerned I must say I don’t like Penelope Cruz as an actress at all, I don’t consider her our best actress, but I have to admit that she’s the Spanish most popular one. I have watched the film this weekend and I have enjoyed it, but Penelope’s performance is too shorter to appreciate the skills I had expected. To be honest I have to admit that for me this isn’t her best role at all, her work at ‘Volver’ is miles better than the one as ‘Maria Elena’ at Allen’s film.
    I believe that working with Woody Allen is a kind of guarantee for the actress to be considered for these awards. For instance, Diane West won not only one but two Oscars working with Allen (the first one in 1986 for her role in ‘Hannah and her sisters’ and the second in 1994 with “Balas sobre Broadway”) and Mira Sorvino won the Oscar for her performance at “Poderosa Afrodita”. It seems to me that there are some directors or actors who are in some way pampered by the Academy.
    Some years ago I read an article and it was amazing because the author explained that Hollywood has a special like for tortured characters as mental, alcoholics, etc… and with the years I have realized that it’s true. For instance Tom Hanks won the Oscar in 1993 with Philadelphia for his role of AIDS infected or Nicolas Cage who won the same award at 1995 for Leaving Las Vegas.
    Finally I would like to point out that many times it seems that Oscars award the most fashionable actors instead the best performances. Perhaps, Pe’s Oscar awards not only her character but also her popularity, which is going beyond what we all expected, so many times due to her affairs but anyway we have to be proud of her because she’s the first Spanish woman who has achieve it.

  4. janea08 permalink
    April 3, 2009 7:03 pm

    I think there are lots of attractive tools to work children skills. But you have to choose carefully. Another question is when is appropriate to begin with those tools, and which can be the tempo for its. However talking about TV and Internet the important is always the time, the selection, and the parent’s surveillance. Personally I think that too much information without criterion is a wrong way to learn.

    About media reflecting life, specialists in education remark that one of the negative consequences of massive’ consume of images by young people is they tend to mix up fiction and reality. Nevertheless media used to reflect what is up-to-the-minute, break up or uncommon. Unfortunately ordinary life is not much showed in TV or Internet for instance.

    I found the article very interesting. I agree with it about how Media could have a strong influence in children, especially if their education is not enough balanced with another source and other point of views. So parents and school have a huge task to do.
    The most important would be helping children in building a critic and free personality. To do that is absolutely vital for them to learn good principles, to build their own opinion, and to know what they truly like or want in life.

    Of course parents can counteract Media subtle and powerful messages. As a parent you must show what is under those messages, you can explain, you can play, you can be honest, etc…and finally you can also use this magic word, just saying ¡no!

    About teen going to media looking for sexual information, I think is true, and dreadful. Besides they have a huge social pressure in being sexual actives as earlier as sometimes they want. What most amazed me is that nowadays after years of sexual freedom, specialists keep saying young people don’t know much about sexuality. In general it seems that what they know is pretty superficial, and a rude reproduction of topics. I can imagine that if they are only learning from TV and Internet. Again family and school have a task to do.

    About the words I have learnt are the follows: to latch, counteract, hangovers

  5. eoimarisa permalink*
    April 4, 2009 12:22 pm

    I agree with you Enri. Parents have a vey important role to play and schools too. I think it is parents’ responsibility that their children are well informed about sexuality. It’s disgraceful that nowadays they still practice unsafe sex.

  6. April 15, 2009 4:46 pm

    My fellow on Orkut shared this link and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came to your blog.

  7. eoimarisa permalink*
    April 18, 2009 8:26 pm

    Thank you. Welcome to our blog.

  8. April 22, 2009 8:43 am

    If you want to see a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this article for four from five. Detailed info, but I have to go to that damn msn to find the missed parts. Thank you, anyway!

  9. almanusa permalink
    April 22, 2009 2:40 pm

    The media, in its different kinds of expression, is a dangerous information way for children, and parents play an important role because they are the controllers of their children daily activity. But I think we are forgetting the main people or entities in charge of it are the media which only think in their own benefit. Everyday we can watch on the TV, or read in the papers, many different kind of adverts with sexual content, series which always have sex, drugs and alcohol in their plots, programs which offer fit bodys, ….

    On the other hand, I think parents should avoid believing that their childs are being educated at schools. In my opinion, children are educated at home, by their parents, and at school the ought to learn different subjects. And this is the root of the problem, parents don’t educate their children al home, the teachers don’t have the authority they need front to their pupils, children are receiving interested information constantly, …. And we sholuldn’t forget the enormous influence of intenet in young people, and this is nearly impossible to control because there isn’t a legal regulation about the biggest information way, and the most dangerous as well. We are demanding its regulation for years but internet, as a world wide web, is the easiest way to poison everybody. Instead, internet is the most important invention and maybe the biggest information source and one of the most useful and necessary tools in many kind of jobs.

    We only should learn to do a correct use of the media and internet, and teach our children correctly as well.

  10. November 24, 2009 6:32 pm


  11. November 24, 2009 6:34 pm

    we were here x]

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