When I was a teenager one of my main media consumption activities took place on a Friday evening at nine o’clock when BBC radio Scotland would broadcast the top 40 music chart ( a whole forty eight hours before the Radio 1 equivalent ) and I would be ready with my cassette deck, finger hovering over the pause button ready to harvest my coming weeks listening. The tape would provide my opportunity to listen to the music I liked best. I had a ninety minute tape so had to curate carefully so that I got the important tracks I needed but also had to chance capturing some of the less well known tracks at the start of show whilst avoiding running out of tape before the big hits at the end of the show.
These days if my children want to listen to their favourite songs, they simply type it’s name into a browser and listen, it’s effortless. It’s the same with TV and film, it’s at our fingertips whenever we want. Don’t get me wrong, I love the easy access to music, movies, and news but I can’t help thinking that now that no effort is required in the quest for entertainment that it is at best dulling and at worst killing the sense of curiosity in our teenagers. I’m certain that if eating, drinking and and it’s associated waste products could de digitised to the same standard as entertainment my eldest son would never leave his bed!
So how best then to encourage our children to push their digital feeds away and develop a sense of wonder and curiosity for the world outside? We could have controlled digital blackouts but this just results in our offspring fleeing to the digital oasis offered by friends. At this moment in time I’m having the best results with just standing in front of the screen, blocking the view and offering a carefully balanced mix of threats and encouragement. This gradually seems to be bearing fruit. I’m sure I’ll return to this subject soon and provide an update.