We all live in a system and our systems co-exist with each other and hence, have an effect on one another. The plants, the sea, the sun, the moon, the animals and the people, we are all part of an ecological system. Even our stars and planets is part of a system and within this system, we must ensure that it is being controlled to ensure that what is status quo remains status quo and what is not, remains not.
Take for example the planetary system, it has been working the same way it has been working today for millions, perhaps billions or zillions of years and never for once has it malfunctioned because it is being controlled by GOD (if you believe in one). Imagine what would happen if we could alter how the sun or earth moves, it would be a total mess,
PERHAPS, I’m SURE.
Similarly for us living on planet earth, we live in an ecological system that needs to work hand in hand to ensure the stability and preservation of a variety of other smaller systems. Take for example, our ozone layer which has been depleting because humans have been successful at creating products without due responsibility towards the environment. AND this also dominoes to the sea and air quality as well as natural habitats of many types of other smaller systems which are inter-dependent on one another.
But I’d like to focus more on children and why we need to ensure that the ecological system that we live in is safe for our children to grow and play and live in. Recently, Suria MediaCorp has been airing a new drama series potraying less than acceptable habits of individuals, Anak Metropolitan 3. It’s a widely popular series since it was aired and has been receiving plenty of comments and whilst it’s good for the television channel and production house who produced that show, the social milieu that follows through is one that is worrying – and one which the production houses aren’t bothered about in the first place. But before I proceed further, let’s take a look at Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory:
The individual child is affected by all the systems in place, it is a domino effect and of direct influence to the child would be the Microsystem consisting of Immediate Family Members, Classroom Teachers, Peers and Siblings. Whilst the influence the individual child receives from Family Members, Siblings and Classroom Teachers can be highly and tightly controlled, much less can be said of Peer Influence because the Peer is influenced by his/her own Family and Siblings.
This then stretches out further to the Exosystem which consists of Extended Family Members, Parent’s Work Environment, School Board, Neighbourhoods and MASS MEDIA (TV, RADIO, NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET). Yes, the Microsystem made up of Family Members, Teachers and Siblings can help to sieve out the amount of information passed down via the Exosystem through tight regulations but when certain undesirable information gets through the cracks, managing the information is critical and as far as possible, the Microsystem wants to ensure that only the best kind of information is passed through because for a child between the ages of 6 – 11 (Middle and Late Childhood) and 10 – 22 (Adolescence), this is when they undergo critical changes in their body and mind which shapes the person who they turn out to be.
In Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory, during the ‘Middle and Late Childhood’ stage, children begin to develop a literacy and numeracy skills alongside and the child’s social and cultural experience increases as well as the need for achievement and increasing levels of self-control. In the ‘Adolescence’ stage, children experience a marked physical growth and sexual development, seeking independence, making choices and a growing need for privacy increases.
With how the Anak Metropolitan 3 has been successful, evidenced by trending created on Twitter every Wednesday night, this has domino-ed into our school systems as well as into the classrooms. I was mortified that during a session drama session earlier that my students were play-acting as gangsters, punching, fighting and slapping each other with much credit given to what else, ANAK METROPOLITAN 3.
How do I know? BECAUSE THEY TOLD ME and it’s unsettling because in a class of 15 who was in attendance, 12 students were playing acting scenes from the show. As much as I’m happy that they were able to act out the scenes with such emotions and movements, it is also worrying because what were the values that they took away from it watching the shows?
I understand that the entertainment channels have a need to constantly find means and ways to continue to be ‘entertaining’, but perhaps, the media also needs to understand that it also has a bigger role to play in society. It needs to know that mass media is an effective learning tool (and I will profess to this because this is why I watch HISTORY CHANNEL, DISCOVERY CHANNEL, BBC KNOWLEDGE to learn!) and the amount of influence is has, is far reaching as every household which has a Television, Cable, Radio, Internet.
I mean, if you were a parent, you’d be angry if another child beats your child up in school. How do you feel if that kid who beats your child up in school learnt it from watching a show that you helped produced and promoted?
How would you feel if your child got stabbed and died because another kid in school watched it on Anak Metropolitan 3.
You’d want to protect your own child, so why not protect others when you have the ability to?
You can push the responsibility on others to mind and educate their own child, but when it’s too late, there’s just no use crying over spilt milk.