Parents: Who Should Teach Digital Media Literacy Skills❓

My high school friend calls the other day explaining that she caught her eleven year old in his room looking at pornography online. I nearly busted out laughing but of course in my grandiose kindness I decided not to, although it probably would have been fine at this point in our lives. I expressed empathy and that for me it was really difficult to accept, when I stumbled across a similar situation, which immediately opened the floodgates of a very long discussion of what to do and all that mom, parent stuff that is very boring I promise. Unless of course, you are experiencing this same thing, if so please check out other posts that may be useful in my blog.

Back to friend, she is hysterical at this point, blaming herself, and that she isn’t a man, and has no idea what to do and so on. We began discussing digital medical literacy skills, or should I say, I began discussing such skills because at that time she was not excited about such tasks that she would be responsible for even though “we didn’t sign up for this.

Although the study does not prove a conclusive link between sexual behavior and sexually oriented media, researchers concluded that media acted as an influential source of information about sex for these youth groups (Dohney, 2006).

Creative Commons, 2017

She knows me quite well, so our conversation went something like this, “well honey, you just took my phrase, what do you need me for?” We continued our conversation about a variety of ways to protect him, hold him accountable and discuss this current event that will likely not be the last. Why, because we must continue to teach our children to be literate and savvy when it comes to media in all forms and the intent of the content even more important, and even more important, how to navigate the digital world we live in (Creative Commons, 2017).

The mind map below gives you an idea, and this is by far no where inclusive of all the forms of digital media to instruct young people on.

Mind Map of Thoughts of Digital Media, Michelle Hampton

With school age children, like the 10 year old above, parents must step up. For those whose hands are already in the messy game of pre-teen/young teen rearing years, keep making the connections between the evil side of digital media and how it relates to their “real life.” Media in various forms intends to persuade and use their audience to exploit and often times, “media messages can range from overt statements to vague expressions of cultural values…and that the United States—in contrast to other nations where media are held in check—has encouraged an independent commercial press and thus given the powers of propaganda and persuasion to the public (Starr, 2004)” (Creative Commons, 2017).

Yet like any form of communication the impression, viewpoint, feeling toward communication, whether true or not, good or bad, can result in communication that hurts or helps, that provides useful information or uses deception to create fear, and is a form of bullying.

Bullying remains and will likely remain a way for those hurting to attempt to channel their anger towards those who serve a victim role. These roles can be interchangeable and formed in the home – victimizer or victim. Put well, being a victim is commonly seen as the antecedent to becoming victimizer (U.S.D.O.J. website).

B.A.D. Media – Monster on the Other Side

As we shift our focus and understanding to the role we each play in our realm of influence, we must take into consideration the shift in media and the ways media has influenced society throughout the decades, how the roles have changed, and who has the real power.

First, to begin, the real power can rest in the parents hands, we can use our hands to build our house as an old Proverb puts it rather than our hands tear it down. Take a look at some of the differences today (Creative Commons, 2017).

For example, and put well by Jolls & WIlson (2014), “we shifted from ’talk about media’ to ‘experience production’ with tape recorders), printers, varied tools” (p.), to now, and in comparison, there is a matrix, literally, of information at our fingertips.

Then: Interactive Experience

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com

Now: Digital Media Skills a Must

Photo by Ola Dapo on Pexels.com

Practically speaking the dominant role that digital media has on society and culture is here to stay. The power and influence will continue to evolve and will look different with respect to each people group and government or agency. Second, in comparison to the former role of media, as a more interactive experience, rather, digital medial, especially, requires less interaction and is completely dependent on the end user.

In today’s digital age you can be whatever role you want. In the case of my friends son, this momma just needs to know here stuff and be literate but also provide the instruction and information her son needs to make logical decisions that consider others and himself, whatever that would like for that family.

Theoretically, parents spend the most time with their child/children and have more opportunity for “teachable moments” than do educators, especially on a one-on-one basis (Scheibe & Rogow, 2011). Certainly, we are familiar with the idea, teachable moments help learners see the connection between the logical and the humanity. They are moments you grab when they happen, and in that very moment, teach the value, moral, characteristic or personal life lesson that connects to the way the learner is influenced by media, and especially social forms. of media that our young peoples’ fingers touch everyday, all day! Catch them when they are 10!

Parents: What Role Will You Play ❓

Literacy in digital media is no longer an option for parents; and in my professional and personal opinion any community member, as much as it depends on us, and when presented with a teachable moment. In conclusion, it is clear that we are imperfectly perfect parents for our given child/children in whatever capacity. In fact, we did sign up for this, we signed up for this when we became Mom or Dad, respectively. If you were wondering about my friend and her son, her son is a successful, married, father who survived the teen years and his digitally illiterate mother. In conclusion, the call to action is what role will you play?

By: A Dogs Life – Adobe Stock

References

B.A.D. Media. You Tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCpDyEtoWgY&list=LL&index=10

Creative Commons. (2017). Understanding media and culture: An introduction to mass communication. University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing: Online.

Jolls, T., & Wilson, C. (2014). The Core Concepts: Fundamental to Media Literacy Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6(2), 68-78. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/jmle/vol6/iss2/6

Scheibe, C. L., & Rogow, F. (2011). The teacher’s guide to media literacy: Critical thinking in a multimedia world. SAGE Publications.

United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/interchangeable-roles-victim-and-victimizer

The No Caller ID Phone Call

If I thought the call on my screen were a bill collector I would just let it go to voicemail but unfortunately, I had seen this “no caller id” call a few other times and ignored so I figured I would answer it today in the car coming home from an errand. I am glad I did.

I answer, “this is Michelle,” my phone serving as both my personal and business cell. Hello, she says, I am calling to ask a few questions, I pause and think I know she doesn’t think she can start talking without telling me who she is.

She proceeds to tell me, “I am (the man’s name) wife. And I just had a baby! I literally could not breathe. This man is a pastor, we had great conversations, we have known each other a few years now, dare I call him one of my best friends that is a guy.

Sometimes the conversations go into what it would be like to be together, but nothing real serious. Last week (when his wife was giving birth) he told me his sister was in the hospital and had to be moved to ICU. Like wow, he asked me to pray for his sick sister in ICU to cover for what is really happening – HIS WIFE GIVING BIRTH!

Over the last three years, we (I say we but really it is “I”) have shared the ups and downs, pains and sorrows since I have known him. He knows two of my children well and has a special name for one of them even, and they know of him. I mean seriously they just think he is some cool guy that just happens to be pastor.

As I still sit in shock, I find it hard to focus on what I need to do, I am trying to find something good in this. I decided to make something good out of it by sharing it with the world. In sharing my hope is to perhaps move another woman to ask some hard questions, especially if you are single and have male friendships with potential, considering marriage, etc., in whatever case, if something just doesn’t feel right, LISTEN! The more he flirted with suggestive remarks about our relationship, the more I felt uncomfortable, at times, but recently the red flags were clearer or am I “woke” as they say! The louder the inside voice the more I pressed him recently about his life and future.

About a year ago, I became angry at his games and some of what he would share about his family life that sounded out of pocket to me, I never gave him my new number. Eventually we were back in touch after I called him to let him know I would be in town and by this time I was no longer dating someone. After about 6 months of an occasional phone call or hello, he called. We caught up and picked up where we left off.

During my travels, I would ask to meet up, but it seemed it was more comfortable for him to visit me then me going to him, another red flag. Considering too many red flags presenting themselves, I decided to tell him that we would discuss the future of our relationship after his sister was better.

Meanwhile, his wife is supposed to call me back and according to her, we were going to support each other. Um, no sweetie, we are not. Instead, I would highly recommend a therapist and not a pastor! A licensed therapist! I will also maintain that having been in a dysfunctional marriage, at best, for most of the 17 years I was married, that is likely the direction of their marriage given all this and many other concerns he and I discussed. It was all too very familiar to me. I am starting to grow very weary of the familiar!

Listen to yourself, what you need is within, just listen, perhaps we just don’t listen because most of the time we want what we want, this blinds and binds us.

It seems the best place to end is, to repeat as I repeat to myself, listen to yourself, all that we need is within. Perhaps we don’t listen because we want we want and or our issues blind us. My eyes are open, but my heart still trusts until I am shown otherwise and clearly the two don’t mix at times. There are times to bypass the emotions straight to thinking and logic. I am grateful that I am not as blind as I used to be. I am grateful that what happens in the dark is brought to the light…eventually…and if not in this life well that’s another blog post.

My take-aways –

I have no idea what to say! Maybe only that it is not a woman’s job to uphold a man to honor. I am not responsible for his actions. This is not a reflection on me. However, I am learning the law of attraction and attachments. (more on this later).

Notes to Self for 2015

I know we’re already in 2015 but that’s why I think my timing to write this is ideal because all the New Years resolution blog posts, status updates and tweets about new goals has decreased so now is the perfect time to reflect on the remainder of 2015.

First note to self: The greatest things come from the hardest places. And as much as I hate acknowledging this, its certainly easier to acknowledge in the quieter, sweeter times. Most of the hardest places in my life are being restored into beautiful places that I wouldn’t change for anything!

I am going to be in the present starting today is my second note to self. I just witnessed Xaviar (my first born, adult son) propose to his girlfriend on January 1st actually! When I think of all the ups and downs this quote from one of my favorite rappers (yep you heard it right, I listen to rap!) comes to mind: “it takes a moment to make a memory but a lifetime to forget it.” Whether good or bad, every moment is made up of choices. The marriage commitment was never intended to be broken, rather intended to demonstrate the greatest of loves. So I will be their biggest fan as they journey into new and exciting ground.  But while remaining committed to the future, I am learning this past year that being in the today is so cliche we forget it.

My third note to self comes from the experience of buying my first house: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:10) I get that to some people this is the American dream we chase but for me it was representative of another place that God restored to me (more on this but for another time). Certainly I don’t put my hope in the house, or don’t think I am so hung up on earthly treasures that I am not willing to walk away from my “dream come true.”

It is true that you will NEVER go wrong waiting on God.

Words of wisdom from one of my mentors during a dark time: “walking though hard places with hard people demands holy resignation” is my fourth note to self. Waiting on a persons stubborn, hard heart to come around is so painful.

Forgiveness

Resigning alone is not godly. Love is proactive and intentional. But when resigning is holy I would say its where in submission we say, “Lord, I am not in control of when that person comes around or what that person does, I am angry and hurt, yes, but only you can turn their heart of stone into a heart of fleshI am going to carry on with my day knowing what I am responsible for and wait on you to convict and change that person’s heart.” 

One more thing to add to this, love and especially in the context of a difficult marriage, but any relationship really, I don’t think always means quietness. Loving confrontation is necessary. In order to break unhealthy, patterns and cycles, we have to be willing to see and call the baggage what it is. Sometimes, everyone involved is not so willing.

Perfect place for the fifth and final note to self: I am only responsible for how I respond. This has been a long learning process for me, one which I am pretty sure I am still working on. Growing up, somewhere along the way, I internalized I was on my own and the world and everyone in it was against me. I had to carry my own and as a result shut down mostly and resisted love in every way. The sick part is that I actually wanted to be loved. And it is Love that softens and restores us back to who we are.

In this process, I resented love, feared man, and controlled everything and everyone around me in order to keep everything at a safe distance. I made judgments using words like never and always. I will never let someone…, I always let…, I always have to…, They never…

Eventually, through the hardest places, I would discover that God uses people to love us, and that created in his image we are relational at our core – created for intimacy with people and him. Love is sincere, I had to be real about what I felt, what hurt, and my view or perspective along with the choices I made because I am responsible for how I respond to life – no excuses. Even though some of it may be the result of a difficult childhood, I am an adult now, I am responsible for what I do with what happened then and what is happening now.

When what happens now is the result of what happened then, I must own that fact or hurt I am faced with, and do something about it, if its in my power to do so. If not then I must espouse the holy resignation attitude and wait on the Lord to work out his perfect plans and purposes.

Quote of the Day!

IMG00032-20110108-2047

As Xaviar expressed his relationship dilemmas, we will call them, Abram piped in: “that’s why I don’t like girls, they don’t give you space.”

I just had to share in light of my earlier post about boys – this is proof that we have to keep the real little boy alive to raise him up to be a man!