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How The Media Affects A Child’S Development

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In today’s society, there are a number of factors that affect a child’s ability to learn. Marked with indecisiveness or a lack of morality, children are influenced by excessive amounts of peer pressure both at school and at home. Taught at birth to be dependent on human care and love, infants need parents who “…meet both physical and emotional needs.” (Klein 39). One must also remember the role that discipline plays in being a good parent. The media has set a new standard for children and they strive to embody it completely. They are no longer limited to the standards their friends and family have set for them, but are challenged daily on whether or not they shall surpass those new media standards. Kids nowadays worry more about their social rank and less about how they rank academically. One cannot be cool and skip the party to go study for midterms at the library. It is not like that and it never will be again, thanks to the media’s all-pervasive presence in a modern child’s life. In order to blend in with their peers, children must be well-liked and be well put together. The extraordinarily unrealistic expectations of the media concerning a child’s development ultimately pose a negative force on the youth of the nation, which can best be countered by good parenting. It is not about how they want to perceive the world, it is about how the world perceives them.

The media is all about control. Controlling what people wear all the way to dictating how people think. Some might find it difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the media. Some might not even agree with the fact that the media has an impact on our society let alone our way of life. But, according to an article from the Ecologist, “The media are thus unlikely…offering root cause…of the problems we face today.” (Edwards 21). Reading this paper with help people to understand how early the media affects a child’s development.

Child development begins at the source. Even while in the womb, the child learns to be dependent on his mother. He looks to her for food and he depends on her diet for his health. Every move she makes determines whether he will have a bright future beyond the pregnancy. Maintaining a balanced diet, updating doctor’s appointments, and lightly exercising each day are three parts that are imperative to prenatal development.

Once the baby is born, he interacts with the world using reflexes, or, “automatic, unlearned behaviors.” (Decker 178). One example is the rooting reflex, a reflex that helps babies search for food by turning the head and moving the mouth in response to a touch around the cheeks or mouth. Another reflex is the withdrawal reflex, in which newborns jerk or withdraw their legs when the soles of their feet are pricked. Along with food and shelter, all children need love and care in order to develop as a healthy human being. Children’s early interaction with their parents is critical. Many parents do not know that techniques like merely talking to a baby can have a big impact on his life. Studies have shown that talking to a baby helps his neurons develop while accelerating brain activity. The more the baby interacts with music, words, and sounds, the more he absorbs it into his brain. (Kennedy). This not only contributes to his personality, it affects his behavior as well. Interacting with a baby during their developmental years has shown a big increase in a child’s future and success in their years at school. Something as simple as teaching him how to count or making him laugh can have a huge impact because of the attachment being built between the baby and his or her parents. “Attachment behaviors [ensure] optimal protection against environmental threats to survival” (Kennedy). Often, children show attachment at a young age. At birth, especially, children are prone to things like separation anxiety and are sometimes faced with deprivation of the nurturance and care they need as infants. However, according to noted psychologist Mary Ainsworth, “…the indulgence of early dependence leads to independence in the future.” (Klein 41). Although early independence might seem to be beneficial to one, in the long run it is detrimental. Knowing that factor, parents must take heed to instruct and set their children on the right path. By establishing close, loving bonds with their child, parents may be able to have more influence on their child’s development than the all-pervasive media waiting patiently for a chance to influence the child.

Emotional needs are important in a child’s life. The environment a child is raised in is an enormous factor that affects the way they will end up as an adult. “[Today] children are constantly bombarded by stress at school, home, and with friends.” (Green). Between the demands of the media, their family, and their friends, children are overwhelmed about who to please. It is important to remember that love, care, and attention are three emotional needs both children and teenagers are entitled to. For children, an emotional need might be for the parent to spend time with them by reading a story or going to the park. Teenagers, however, are another story. Emotional loyalty in teenagers toward their parents is less certain and there is a reason for that; all the increasingly effective peer pressure surrounding them leads them to make poor decisions. Being at the most complex and confusing stage of their lives, teenagers use peer pressure both for and against them. This has a big impact on a child’s emotions and psychological behavior. For instance, putting pressure on one to do drugs is one of the biggest catalysts apparent in schools today. (Gibbs 41). On the other hand, peer pressure to do the right thing such as finishing a group project for extra credit is rare but still apparent in teenagers. It is all in the way one perceives it but, for the most part, peer pressure is seen as negative. And because of its importance in a child’s life, the hunger for acceptance by their peers becomes necessary for them and they are driven by it. Most of these needs have been linked to pressure at home from family members who stress the child to do better and who shelter them from the worries of the world. Though their intentions are good, parents need to realize that by making their own mistakes children are more likely to learn from them. It also helps if their parent leads by example and not by the means of uninhabited pride. However,

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