In recent class discussions of how much to protect our kids, I made the point that I believe kids need to be inoculated against the culture in order to give our own values a fighting chance against it.
Marketers of all kinds are seeking to sell to our kids 24/7-- be it the latest Happy Meal movie tie-in or what constitutes norms in sexual behaviour (thank you Rihanna and Britney for your brave stand on S&M).
So--we can choose to cut off completely from the culture and try to shield our kids from TV, movies, social media, advertising etc--
but to what end? In a way it's leaving them defenseless. When they finally are exposed to it-- as they will be eventually-- they won't know how to discern quality from garbage.
Meanwhile, all their friends and peers will have been swimming in that polluted community pool. Without consistent input from parents, they will likely have accepted most if not all of it's notions of right and wrong, good and bad, value and void.
I think we're better off exposing our kids to small amounts of it, with very certain limits, and making sure that our point of view is thoughtfully presented.
This "discussion method" entails the challenge of communicating our values without coming across as pedantic bores. We do need to acknowledge our kids native likes and dislikes, which may be different from our own. But making the most of those the teaching moments helps us to clarify our own point of view. If we can stay focused and consistent, our values will ultimately trump the influence of the culture.
What are you doing with your kids? I'd love to hear about other approaches...