Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

The Elements Way: Empowering Parents, Educators, and Mentors in the Age of New Media

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

The Elements Way: Empowering Parents, Educators, and Mentors in the Age of New Media

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Children nowadays are exposed to a wide variety of information sources and channels, and this exposure makes them scatter-brained and generates great confusion, focus and concentration difficulties, attention and adjustment problems, and a blurring of boundaries and values. The abundance of information sources and channels forces us, more than ever, to be attentive to children, help them, and support them. What are the "keys" to openness, development, goal achievement, and transformation in our work with these "screen kids"? How can we empower them and their coping abilities? How can we create openness and cooperation that will make them listen to us? How can we support them to cope with the complex reality that characterizes our age? How can we use our knowledge and authority so that they do not weaken our children and, instead, empower and strengthen them?

The Elements Way, an innovative method for working with children in our age, will help us help children, teach them to deal successfully with the new reality, and empower them and empower ourselves as meaningful parents, educators, and adults. Positive communication, acceptance, and connecting to one's powers and free will are the tools we possess for educating our children. When we say "educate a child" we really mean "mentor the child," help children develop their own powers and face difficulties, while relating to their free will and finding the balance that is appropriate for them. The main goal is to empower parents, educators, and mentor, thus empowering their encounter with the children, so that they can support the children, and be there for them whatever they face.

CHILDREN AND NEW MEDIA

Studies of children and media--children and television, children and social networks, etc.,--have revealed that, on the one hand, children feel that media--of all varieties--is an additional compensating sphere where their needs are met. On the other hand, they are exposed to greater complexities with which they have to deal, and these complexities are greater than ever before. They are exposed to the blurring of boundaries between private and public, intimacy and sharing, and between adjustment to environmental norms and autonomous choice. Children watch television because they find that the programs provided an additional--at times alternative--source for understanding the society in which they live and the process of socialization they are supposed to experience. Television is the arena on which there are many permanent and transient characters with whom the child creates parasocial interactions; these "like social" interactions provide children with an opportunity to examine "how to behave" in various situations. For children, television programs provide essential social learning and present models for each and every social role, without exposing children to criticism or feedback that could make them feel attacked or exposed. Television broadens children's horizons, and they feel that the media open new horizons for their development (Bickham & Rich, 2006; Leung, 2013; McQuail, 2010; Rideout, Foehr & Roberts, 2010; Vandewater, Bickham & Lee, 2006; West &

Turner, 2007; Zilka, 2014, 2016a). Children feel that social networks expand their ability to form communication with others and empower a sense of social connection. The networks provide a feeling of belonging, the experience of close friendships, and of being socially accepted, as opposed to feelings of loneliness and alienation. For children, such interactions create a sense of self-worth and being needed and of being a major contributor to their environment. They also provide them with an opportunity to express their skills and receive feedback and appreciation from their surroundings. Children feel that social networks expand their adjustment skills and help them develop skill that are appropriate to the new surroundings and the society in which they live (Duerager & Livingstone, 2012; Livingstone, 2015; Livingstone, Marsh, Plowman, Ottovordemgentschenfelde, & FletcherWatson, 2015; Ofcom, 2006, 2007; Zilka, 2014, 2016b). …

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