The Newest Harms Of Technology

The Newest Harms Of Technology
From television sets to computers, many original inventions have emerged from the turn of the century. Along with these fresh inventions comes a set of completely new types of danger from breaking up familial ties to easy access of drug related information. Media outlets, that were considered revolutionary a century ago, are beginning to show their harmful effects in today?s society. Parents should find new solutions to these problems instead of ignoring them because most American families own some form of media in their homes without realizing the actual danger behind them. One invention that poses a threat to kids is television because it provides people with an excuse to avoid their problems. For kids, it is often an escape from homework, and for adults it is a way to escape job pressures and family stress. It is an invention that destroys the concept behind the ?family table? because it no longer brings families together, but rather it destroys their relationships with one another. When the television was first invented it was advertised as an innovation that brought families together to spend quality time with each other. Although in present day, ?three quarters of all American families [?] own two or more sets? (Winn, 217), on which ?Mom [is] watching a drama in the kitchen, the kids [are] looking at cartoons in their bedroom, and Dad [is] taking in the ball game in the living room? (217). Television sets were also publicized as machines that provide useful information like the news and the discovery channel. Yet today only one out of every three people receiving cable, regularly watch any type of news? channel (People press).Although the television set at first glance seems to bring about a good change because of the opportunities it presents, very few today take advantage of the benefits of this invention and rather involve themselves in the negative effect of this ?mind-altering drug? (Winn 277).
As young children, we have all grown up watching ?Sesame Street? and ?Out-of-the-box,? but how many of us has grown into individuals that continue to watch these mind enhancing shows. Personally I have left the world of the History channel and have entered the planet of tnt, because they ?know drama.? It becomes very hard to detach myself from the television when my favorite episode of Charmed is over, and I often find myself staring into Scott Grimes? eyes, the enticing Doctor Morris on ?ER.? Although I do read the newspaper from time to time, and often pick up a copy of ?National Geographic,? I rarely sit down to watch cnn. This may be because of my age, but if that is true then many Americans must be stuck in the same mindset of a sixteen-year old, because almost 67% of adults that have cable do not even know what channel, ?Channel three news? is on. (People press) From my experience I gather that television is not the most successful form of media, even though it holds a lot of promise.
Another problem with typical types of media such as the internet is that children have access to all types of information. This tool can be used in good and bad ways, but the disadvantages frequently outweigh the benefits. The harm that is done by inappropriate websites or viewing the horror of real life, displayed in all its true Hollywood glory is oftentimes irreversible. Although there are methods of parental screening of various forms of media in order for it to be effective, it is necessary for parents to actively be involved with the introduction of every new website. This almost makes it virtually impossible to screen every site because so many people are able to create websites on their own. Online programs that are hard to screen such as aim and msn chat-rooms have provided opportunities for stalkers and sexual harassers to make advances on unsuspecting children. Another reason the computer is so harmful is because it was introduced as the ?technological messiah.? Neil Postman argues that people believe the internet solves all their problems and makes them a better person because they have access to all the knowledge the web has, but instead the attention especially of younger children often turns to video games. I do not dispute the fact that children often use the internet for research, since it is a much simpler tool to use than an encyclopedia, but I do agree with Pogo, the cartoon, when he says, ?We have met the enemy[,] and he is us? (269). In the spirit of changing tomorrow, inventors have forgotten the need to protect today.
Many authors write about how the world has changed since yesteryear; most of these changes has been facilitated by the media. One article that shows the effect of media is ?The Girls of Gen X,? by Barbara Whitehead that discusses how feminists have changed the modern girls? conception of the world. She explains how it has corrupted them, ?This shift has contributed to the demoralization of female sexuality and the decline in chastity? (Whitehead 447). Newspapers and magazines emphasize commercial ads that are harmful, along with their everyday news, leaving the reader to decipher the knowledge from the rest. Many of these readers are younger people looking for some news, and they are often not trained in ignoring the harmful advertisements, which is one of the causes in loss of innocence in children.
There are many solutions to these problems that the media presents. One of the most common is parental controls. Although it is impossible to screen every website, parents can actively try to keep small children safe from websites that are harmful and let them play on websites more like Disneychannel.com. Laura Kagel explains how the law depends on parents to play a large role in the safety of their children at home, ?Despite the severity of its enforcement measures, the Federal Department emphasizes the pedagogical role of the law. It envisions a preventive role for itself in contributing to the process by which children and adolescents learn to interact responsibly with media by making information available and increasing public sensitivity to the role of media in children?s lives.? Another good way to solve this problem would be to find a safer method of using programs like aim, such as entering specific passwords to friend someone or something personal that would make it only possible to add someone with their explicit consent. Finally the best method of preventing more mature children from exploring harmful websites is keeping them informed. If the children?s curiosity is not sparked, they will have no incentive to go looking for trouble. This way parents also have some leverage over what their children know about a specific conflict in current events. Most of these matters also affect these children as well, which is often the reason children go looking for answers.
Basically the answer to harmful media is to deal with it headfirst. People that deal with the problems as they happen often get shortchanged because they cannot reverse the effects of harmful media. There will always be a race to invent new inventions that are spurred only by competition if nothing else, which makes new innovations a pretty dependable concept. In order to stay one step ahead of the game though parents must be careful of the products they buy, and be aware of the possible consequences. The solution to media harms is based on being aware of what is going on, and making a choice to inform their children of what is going on and keeping them blissfully unaware of the dangerous world they live in.

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