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The Opinion Driven War of the Media – Fears for my Children

The Opinion Driven War of the Media – Fears for my Children 1600 784 Jason Stadtlander

The Great Media War is underway and we are their front line.

In the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”, media giant Elliot Carver is attempting to take over the world through media (successfully I might add). Watching this back in 1997 I thought it was entertaining but found it hard to believe that anything like that could ever happen. I will also admit I never thought of the true implications that the filmmakers were making.

I’ve always considered myself open to listening to objective opinions. Especially more in recent years. I hear about a problem, I listen to the person telling me about the problem and then I seek out additional opinions or solutions and try to objectively come up with my own opinion.

Listening to (NPR) National Public Radio, Fox News and the BBC, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are no longer any objective opinions out there. Very few people are flat out stating the true facts of the world. I encourage you to stop and take a moment to listen to them. Not just your favorite news media, but all the other ones too. If you really stop and listen to what specific stories the outlets are choosing to tell you, whose opinions they are choosing to share and the tone of the reporter’s voice, it becomes quite clear – the leading that is going on. When you listen to them, does what they are saying rapidly anger you or irritate you? This is exactly what they are counting on.

This morning I tuned into NPR and listened to them talk about D-Day’s 75th anniversary (which was the one thing I was glad to hear about) as well as President Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexico. To listen to the reporters on NPR, they make it sound like the tariffs are a done deal and President Trump will be meeting with Mexico officials in D.C. to hopefully come to a resolution. Trying to decipher the truth, reading various outlets and trying to piece it all together I have found that the tariff threat at the moment is just that – a threat. To listen to Fox News the reporters are all talking about the “crisis” on the southern border. Their voices are quickened and panicked (nearly all of them). Just listening to them gets you feeling nervous.

The Real Point

My point here isn’t whether the Mexico tariffs or even immigration are indeed real threats. My point is the danger of the media itself as well as the lack of available non-opinionated facts to the public. We are living in a time when people are no longer making objective opinions based on educating themselves in the world around them. Instead, society is making ‘drop of the hat’ impulsive opinions based on a thirty second (or 280 character) blip of information. The more emotional the person stating the opinion can be on the news, in the tweet or on a Facebook post, the more they will sway public opinion. If they can even throw in some people that are in dire circumstances (and let’s face it – all over the world media can find someone in dire circumstances somewhere and convince the public that it’s related to their story), then they can garner strong opinions.

What I am most concerned with is our future as a community, a nation and ultimately a world society. How can we as a people, raise our children to come to their own opinions and objectively look at the world around them so that they can improve it? How can we encourage them to see out the real facts when they are so slyly hidden or camouflaged by those with money and power (and I’m talking about the media here, not specifically politicians)?

What can we do?

I think the most critical thing to do is to ensure that our children do not blindly follow any opinions. As parents, we need to encourage our children to listen to liberal views, conservative views, centrist views, and then read historical precedent on the issues at hand before they arrive at their own conclusion. We need to ensure that our children are reading, processing and reading again, as much as they possibly can. Because, if you look at all the opinions, the facts and compare them all together – the truth is hidden in there. It’s hidden in between the words and the emotions that are being blasted out at us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s buried under emotional outbursts and dramatic photos and videos and skewed facts. The Great Media War is underway and we are their front line. We just need to make sure that our children are well trained to see around it all.

YouTube addition with children

What Your Child is Watching on YouTube Might Surprise You

What Your Child is Watching on YouTube Might Surprise You 2124 1416 Jason Stadtlander

Tech addiction is a serious problem and any parent in today’s age is aware of this. YouTube is the drug of choice for most children. Dr. David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction explains that children (and anyone spending a lot of time on the internet) are often just “Looking for a little bit of dopamine.

If you have a child that is old enough to hold a mobile device, you most likely have a child that watches YouTube. Children are not watching television like we did growing up, they are watching their favorite YouTuber. I’m not going to go off and be an old ‘fart’ and say “when we were kids we played outside all the time and we never would have been stuck to the screen.” for two reasons, 1. It would be a partial lie. One of my favorite past times as a kid coming home from school was putting on the TV and watching HeMan or Transformers. 2. No matter how much any parent wants to admit it, times change and so does the entertainment for children – almost on a generational basis.

Whether you have a little girl or a little boy, nearly all the kids like the YouTube stars that do silly skits, funny songs or real-time video game commentary. Often times (unbeknownst to parents) the YouTube stars (especially the more amateur ones) use inappropriate language or discuss things that are outside the realm of what a child should be listening to (topics, discussions, etc.).

Now there are plenty of YouTube stars out there that are respectable and work hard to make sure that they stick to their audience. It’s very important that parents look at what YouTube shows their kids are watching and that they watch some of them on their own time (at least a few minutes). I also highly advise installing a parent monitoring software such as MobiCip that will let you see what videos your children are watching when you’re not around or that you might have missed them watching. It does cost a little bit of money but it’s a small price to pay to help keep an eye on your children’s technology.

One important note on parent monitoring apps such as MobiCip: Tell your children that you are monitoring them. My son is well aware that I can see what he views on the internet, I don’t hide that from him but I also don’t hover over him either. I respect his privacy and only if I feel he’s being sneaky or might be viewing something he should not be viewing, do I actually go look through the history.

Words of Wisdom

  • MOST IMPORTANT: Talk to your child calmly. Ask them what they are watching and why they enjoy watching it. Diving straight in and stopping them from watching any YouTube is not the answer (no matter how much you might like to do that). That will just force them to go watch something on a friends device (when you’re not around) giving you no knowledge of what they are watching.
  • Google your child’s favorite YouTube stars. You are bound to find an overview of what the YouTuber talks about, what kind of language they use and what their target audience is.
  • There are several good video blocker extensions in Chrome and Internet Explorer that can be added to block specific YouTube channels. If you if you see something your child shouldn’t be watching, block it with one of these utilities.


Coming to Terms with Our Digital Past

Coming to Terms With Our (Digital) Past

Coming to Terms With Our (Digital) Past 2000 1333 Jason Stadtlander

We all have ghosts in our closet, whether we want to admit it or not. And the digital age (the last 15-20 years) has created many new elements in our lives including the creation of massive amounts of digital photography, videos, and historic (digital paper) trails.

Hiding Under Your Nose

I recently purchased a NAS (Network Attached Storage), which is just a fancy way of saying “storage server” that holds all of my family photos, videos and every file I’ve ever created. I’m not going to go into the technical side of things with regards to this unit at the moment, but I will say that after combining all my hard drives onto this unit, I now have over 700,000 photographs. Before you freak out, understand that I’m the keeper of our family archives and there are photos going back to the year 1865 on this NAS.

This unit has facial recognition, location recognition, and several other organizational tools on it. In looking through these photos, I found images hidden to me for years (sometimes decades) and I became acutely aware of the fact that there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of pictures of awkwardness; ‘happy families’ now divorced, ex-girlfriends/boyfriends I never wanted to see again, friends that had become enemies and even photos of myself when I was clearly less than happy. I’m not talking about a ton of them, but enough that it makes me stand back and think about things for a moment.

It is incredibly tempting to select all of these photographs and hit the delete key, after all – that is another marvelous capability of the digital age. However, in doing so, I would deny three things:

  1. The ability to see other people that are still very dear to me that are also in these photos.
  2. The ability to look back and for a moment say to myself, “I may not like them, or like the relationship we (or they) now have (or do not have), but at that moment… that brief moment in my life, I was happy with them and they were important enough for me to capture that photo of.”
  3. The fact that one never knows where life will go and what doors may be opened and closed. Many years down the road, do I really want to regret having deleted a photo of this person or this situation?

Coming to Terms

No matter where we go in life from here on out, there are bound to be photos or connections in your collection, someone else’s collection, out on Facebook, on Twitter, news articles or elsewhere. Sometimes you will have the ability to delete these, but most times you won’t. You can choose to ignore these elements that show you (or others you care about) in situations you may not want to remember, but it doesn’t change the fact that they exist. It is in our nature to pretend that elements in our life don’t exist, to ignore them, to cast them aside if they hurt or cause us pain. The reality is, we are only fooling ourselves. To ignore something doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it easier for us to cope.

So I propose this; At some point, you too will go through your old photos, or you will see an article or post online that has you in it. Step back for a moment and instead of ignoring the post, the photo, the video or the connection – instead, ignore the pain. Think about the positive elements that caused you to be a part of that photo, post or article and allow simply to be. It is part of your past, and there isn’t anything you can do to re-write history. Instead, it is how you choose to deal with your past that allows you to handle the present and the future.

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