There is an ongoing debate about whether or not movies and TV can change the cultural features of a society, or if movies and TV merely reflect those cultural features. An example would be the level and type of violence present in media today.

If you are over the age of 35, undoubtedly you have seen things in movies and on TV that were never shown to you when you were young, as the media and society have gradually relaxed their ideas about what is considered appropriate material.

I am of two minds about this. First, I see movies and TV as the modern equivalent of the oral tradition. I appreciate the ability to explore the edges of our society in a way that is safe, and be captured and inspired by stories about the human condition.

However, I am able to do this because I know that they are just stories, and I watch them, and make up my own mind about what they mean and how they relate to my life.

Do kids today look at movies and TV the same way as I do (as stories), or do they look at them as a mirror of their own culture? Are movies and TV shaping the thought of the next generation, and creating a whole new set of values and cultural features? Or are they just stories?

asked 14 Mar '10, 21:37

Vesuvius's gravatar image


Excelent question.

(14 Sep '12, 01:34) Paulina 1
showing 0 of 1 show 1 more comments

We have four children and it turned out that most of their friends believe that TV shows are the point of reference when it comes to how you're supposed to behave, look, act......Those shows and commercials are not only entertaining them but also instilling in them principals,ethics and code of conduct.

We haven't had TV at our house for over three years now and the difference between our children and their friends is tremendous. For one, ours are more humane, kinder, and less stressed (maybe because they're spared the fear du jour concocted and sensationalized by the media). According to one of their teachers, even their analytical capabilities and approaches differ greatly, in a positive manner.

TV could have been a good tool; however, the amount of negativity in it far outweighs the little positive it does. Thanks and blessings, namaste


answered 15 Sep '10, 10:24

daniele's gravatar image


Great answer and I fully agree.

(14 Sep '12, 01:36) Paulina 1

I guess it depends how old the kids are and what developmental stage they are at. Naturally as parents we have to monitor what our kids watch and play and teach them the difference between real and pretend until they are old enough, or developed enough, to discern the difference themselves.

Without a doubt there is much more influential material available to kids today and the rapid advancement in technology has changed the face of entertainment, so I would guess that it would have to influence the culture of future generations in some way.


answered 14 Mar '10, 22:08

Michaela's gravatar image


kids should be taught not to believe everything they see and hear and kids grew up watching star wars and godzilla. so they know what is not real and we sit and talk about a films after they have watched it. and try to expose them to good cinema too ( not just godzilla ;) ) so what A child gets out of the film is really up to the parents to help them what is real and what is a"just a story"


answered 15 Mar '10, 15:26

ursixx's gravatar image


This is a very interesting question; I know that studies have shown that when kids see violent movies, they often go out and mirror that violence in their own way.

Kids need to play! In their play, they work out the difficulties of their lives, and try to come to grips with things that scare them. If a parent watches (covertly) their children at play, they will get a good idea if the children are able to handle what is going on in their lives. I saw in my own children a tendency to have to work out tension after seeing something that was a little over their heads, and that is what made me turn off the TV and encourage them to seek entertainment elsewhere. I also found that if I watched a video with some violence with my kids, if they wanted to pause the movie to talk about something, we did that. I rarely just slapped a new video into the player without first knowing exactly what they were going to see.

As an example, my father gave me a copy of the movie "Ghost" a long time ago, and said it was a great movie, and the kids should see it. Well, I made the mistake of taking his word for it, and it was NOT appropriate for children- especially when people were dragged off to Hell by Demons. That scared my children to death. (It was also too sexually explicit for their ages.) I could have shaken myself for trusting my Dad's "thumbs-up" on that movie. It just wasn't a movie for little kids!

I guess what I am trying to say is that parents should be involved in the media their children see. As a final word, I watched the evening news every night while eating dinner with the kids. Suddenly, my son began having nightmares about nuclear war. I finally put two and two together and realized that even the news can scare a sensitive child! Off went the news, and I do not watch it much to this day.

Now, as to your question: I made sure my kids knew that pretend was pretend. I did not just let them make up their own minds. I watched movies with them, and would stop the movie from time to time, and ask, "Real or pretend?" I didn't just let them sit there and stare. I made them think about what they were watching. Kids need that sort of structure in regards to the media. I pre-screened movies all the time. Period. End of discussion. If I felt any anxiety, then I knew that my kids would, too. The key is this: Get involved in what your children are watching!

I have four children, and they all grew up into great students and readers. So much for the media.

Hope this helps! Blessings, Jai P.S. We are not afraid to admit that we all are Trekkers...we all had a weakness for Star Trek....


answered 16 Mar '10, 02:13

Jaianniah's gravatar image


I grew up without television, and I remember being at a friend's house and them turning on Star Wars: A New Hope. I was probably 5 years old at the time. That movie was a big turning point in my life with electronic media.

I vividly remember coming to a realization that it WAS NOT REAL. There was a period of about 15 minutes where I was horribly torn between seeing something that LOOKED real and SOUNDED real and I thought WAS real, with the realization that it ... somehow ... wasn't actually real? Those Jawas weren't ... actually ... dead? Somehow?

The worst part is that somehow I felt like it was actually happening right in front of me. Like an animal, almost, unable to mentally realize that the moving picture is fake. It was very real to me, like I was actually watching people get shot, and hurt, right in front of me.

And then I realized it couldn't possibly be real. And it was very confusing and scary.

I don't know about all kids. Probably most kids come to that realization much earlier in life, simply due to the fact that they watch more video media than I did, and probably don't remember it as an adult.

But I vividly remember that realization, more than 20 years later. Maybe some kids grow up differently, but I know for an absolute fact, from personal experience, that there is a significant period in at least some children's lives, that not only do we not know TV isn't real, but we think it is actually happening in front of us.

For me, not only did I fail to understand that it was fake, I didn't even have the concept that it was a recording, and wasn't actually happening right there, right in front of me.


answered 13 Sep '12, 15:31

cej102937's gravatar image


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