“Cha-ryut. Kukki ae Dae-ha-yo. Kyung-net,” calls out the class senior (today it is my son). Everyone comes to attention and bow to the flags of Korea and the US.
“Cha-ryut. Sabum-Nim kae. Kyung-net,” as everyone bows to the master.
As the students sit taking in deep breaths, I look around at parents that are either watching their child with pride or with heads down banging away on some device, just like me. Those with their heads down, have young children keeping themselves entertained. What do you think was keeping the attention of the younger siblings? Books? Coloring? No, the children were texting or watching Youtube on either their own iPhone or their parents. Some as young as three are already connected to web media. What does that say about us?
Access to new media is so prevalent in our society that it seems futile to force abstinence for our young tots. From streaming media access at home by progressive parents to efforts by schools of providing laptops for students, gateways to media are abundant. So it is not just a simple solution of minimizing access but rather engaging your children with the type of media being accessed. Boy that sounds familiar!
There are differences between television and new media (i.e. streaming and social web content) that changes how parents should manage access. A television is a single device that you can walk away from. New media is available on multiple platforms that can move with you. Content on television is time sensitive, new media is on demand. Due to these differences, discussion on access is centered around content and not time.
As I tell my children, I do not object when they go on the computer to search and explore, they just need to wait until I am available to guide them online. It is a wonderful shared experience, I get a peek into their social dynamic that is expressed while they are away from me and in return, I am able to teach them effective methods of finding appropriate information that they can engage. Yes it is time consuming and there are times when schedules conflict, however consistency is the key and due to the nature of the web, must be applied here.
Where I work, we are constantly looking for ways to engage our faculty and staff that can compliment the teaching model through the richness of streaming and social web media, yet at home we must show restraint at the magnitude of the content that freely flows beyond entrenched devices we are all too familiar with. The interaction our youth are experiencing is both immensely exciting and bewildering. I now understand how my parents felt about cable when they first made the switch.
Oh, it looks like the class is wrapping up:
“Ok, everyone line up,” said Master Chris.
“Cha-ryut. Sabum-Nim kae. Kyung-net,” said my son.
“Everyone face the class senior. Cha-ryut. Banjang-Nim kae. Kyung-net,” barks the second rank.
Everyone bows, “Class dismissed.”