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Paper Topic:

Remote Control: How to Raise a Media Skeptic

Susan Douglas ' Media Paradox

Susan Douglas offers a parent 's point of view on the media in general and children 's television in particular in her article , Remote Control : How to Raise a Medic Skeptic . She comments on two important aspects of children 's programming - perpetually clueless parents and the lies broadcast in commercials . This article is an amusing take on a classic media debate , that of whether or not children should be exposed to television , and how to override the influence of persuasive commercials and silly children 's shows


' article was brilliant in its sheer honesty . She admits that she uses television as a babysitter in to perform her parental duties without having a child underfoot constantly . She states in the fifth paragraph : Moments like this prompt me to wonder whether I 'm a weak-kneed , lazy slug or , dare I say it , a hypocrite ' This is the same battle that other parents fight on a daily basis . Having done my fair share of babysitting , I wholeheartedly agree with her that television is a useful tool in taking care of children . I also agree that children 's shows tend to portray children as brilliant and crafty while their parents are always , to use Douglas ' term , dopey . They remain clueless about the exploits of their children while allowing them to talk back and ridicule them . Children often mimic what they see on television from reproducing dangerous stunts to treating their parents like the dim-witted parents on television

Gender-biased commercials have always irked me , which is why I have to agree with Douglas ' assessment of commercial inaccuracies . She points out that girl and boys are always portrayed in commercials participating in gender-specific activities . Boys play with war toys while girls enjoy makeup and dolls . Commercials don 't often show girls playing sports while the boys push a stroller in anticipation of one day becoming a father - in spite of the fact that as a father , they will most likely undertake many parenting duties , such as changing diapers , giving a baby a bottle , and choosing outfits . Douglas specifically mentions Kool-Aid commercials , which show the mother proudly presenting her child with a glass of Kool-Aid , which she has painstakingly prepared . Mothers are always shown cooking dinner for the family or having the wherewithal to a hearty dinner for her family from Kentucky Fried Chicken , while taking the family 's individual tastes into account . Rarely is the father portrayed as the homemaker , and when he does perform domestic tasks , it is always with an air of trepidation , as if he is not capable of cooking a meal , changing a diaper , or vacuuming the living room

I have one bone to pick with Susan Douglas , and that is the suggestion that television is an important tool for children to be connected with the world and to make friends in school . I had plenty of friends who didn 't watch television (there was a large Mormon population in my town and they were opposed...

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