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ParentingPanicButton » parenting advice, parenting help, parenting teens, Uncategorized » Parenting Your Teens and Media-Part 3

Parenting Your Teens and Media-Part 3

Marshall Mckluen, the ‘60s visionary who wrote and lectured on the assets and liabilities of media and particularly television, pointed out that every new invention creates the possibility of making what preceded it obsolete.

It depends on the conscious and unconscious intention.

Power screwdrivers have been a great time and effort saver, yet we still find uses for a conventional screwdriver.  Cars are a daily necessity, and yet we still ride bikes and walk.  E-books and audio books offer incredible choices in keeping well-read, and we still buy books.  We can hear and see any kind of music in the world with audio devices, and yet we still pay high prices for live concerts.  In Mcluen’s illustration of the invention and subsequent societal saturation with the car, he suggests that we must acknowledge that this changed our relationship with walking.   Before cars, walking was mandatory, and imbedded in it was a natural form of exercise.  After cars, walking became optional, and now we must decide and intend to walk, if we are to do it more than from house to car door.

Mcluen was not saying we should not use cars, just that we should use them and not have them dominate us. Rudolf Steiner , father of Waldorf Education indicates in his response to the Industrial Revolution his assertion that while the organic elements in the forest seem to emulate a “soul” essence, the taking apart of those elements and “manufacturing” them into a random machine leaves that machine “soul-less” making it incumbent on the human behind the machine to make moral and ethical decisions.  As is indicated in the ancient texts of the Jewish Talmud, a knife is neutral; it can heal, or kill.  A human will dictate that outcome.

The Compromise

The wheels of technology will never stop turning.

Just as we are finished managing and mastering a new technology, another new one will pop up.  We face the future issues of genetic engineering, artificial everything, “chipping’ of children, euthanasia, and virtual travel with excitement and trepidation.

We as the adults and parents of this time model daily the conveniences and usage of all kinds of technological gadgets.  Our children see what we do, and rarely hear what we say. As long as we are on our laptops, using cell phones, texting, watching TV, and wearing ear buds, so will our children follow that “tribal” custom, and we will initiate them into that world.

The solution, I believe, does not lie in the realm of rules, restrictions and control. It lies in the realm of understanding, modeling, guiding and supervising in the process of parenting.  Neither fundamental authority nor permissive license will inspire young people to make good decisions and choices, and develop strong will and self-determination.

We must cultivate in the home and in the family unit the understandings, agreements and mindfulness that will pave the way for our children in their future independence.  We cannot control what happens outside of the home, in schools, at friends’ houses and in the world.  We can grow a community in which are schools model the idea of “teaching kids how to think, not what to think.”  We can communicate and form an alliance with the parents of our kids” friends.  We can be an example of mindful intention in all the moments of the day.

How are we managing it?  What are our habits?

Inventory your own technology habits, family time, how much time you spend with your kids.  (Hyperlink to page)

How do we expect our kids to manage it without it being a forbidden fruit?

Rick Concoff c2012

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