> Raising children thoughtfully in a media-saturated world
DS is 3.5 and we've been looking for pre-k schools for him. Non-violence is a value that we hold quite dear in our home, and we've talked a lot with prospective schools about their views on violent play, etc. DS doesn't watch TV or videos and we are definitely careful about what he reads and comes into contact with. I wonder, though, about navigating a larger social situation (he's in a small family daycare now and this has yet to be an issue) where he'll bump up against other children's play that might include ideas from TV, video games, etc that are violent. I know this is a reality that we're likely to encounter, and I'm not so much interested in debating whether or not other parents should let their children see these things but how to support my child if/when he comes home playing Star Wars, for example. I know that we can reinforce that we don't use weapons or do violent play in our family, but I think there are bigger conversations here too. Or just bigger things to think about. I know this will be a long-term challenge. I also know that DS is wonderful at being non-violent in his play, to a large extent. But, I'd just love to hear about how others think about these kinds of issues, how you navigate/negotiate them, etc.
One thing that I've tried to do is talk about media issues, and the discrepancy between media and real life, from an early age. Whether it's violence, or marketing, or stereotypes, or whatever else, I think the key is to discuss openly and emphasize over and over again that media is a distorted view of reality, even "factual" media like news.
Of course, that's my perspective from an open-to-media household; I'm sure you'll get good responses from media-free people too. I think whichever way you go on this issue, it's a good idea to teach media awareness, because, as you mention, they will be exposed to it at some point in some way or another, hear other kids talking about it, etc. So with the violence issue, you might talk about the idea that violence is funny and cool, but in reality, it's not, and things like that.