This is Your Child's Money Brain on Media
How Entertainment is Shaping Your Child’s View of Money
It’s a character is nearly every show, a constant feature in the social influencer circuit, and a mainstay of major motion pictures. But it never gets a credit. What is it? Money. Money--getting it, spending it, and flaunting it--is as central to modern media as saving it was to generations ago.
Money Grows on Trees
Whether watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Real Housewives, or Big Brother, reality television shows a life free from responsibility and full of discretionary income. Wealth? You just have it. Spending? It’s your right. Work ethic? Unless you mean keeping up your social media profile, it’s not necessary. This mirage leaves impressionable kids and teens with the idea that finances will take care of themselves, especially if you can find fame. As a result, teens are chasing fame more than any other type of success. A recent study found that fame is the #1 value communicated to teens on TV. It’s no wonder our children want a taste of it.
Fake it Till You Make It
Some savvy kids may understand that not everyone can be rich and famous. So what’s a wannabe to do? According to those who have their attention, fake it till you make it. After rapper Bow Wow posted an Instagram of the private jet that was supposedly flying him to a media appearance, a keen-eyed passenger on Southwest Airlines spotted him flying coach (and checking his feed, no less.) The gaffe revealed what most of us know that few care to admit: much of the life our kids chase isn’t a life at all. It’s a mirage.
Spending is Power
When the reality cameras aren’t focused on a celebrity lounging on a couch while scrolling their Twitter or Instagram feeds, chances are they’ll following in tow while the stars shop. And shop. And shop. Five- and six-figure cash register totals aren’t uncommon, nor are the impressions they leave. The message? When you’re bored, spend. To spend time with your friends, spend. And when you’re broke, reach for the plastic.
What’s a parent to do?
The impact is clear: reality television and social media are forcing our kids to compare their life’s behind-the-scenes footage with the highlight reel of their idols. So how’s a parent to combat the messages pop culture churns out by the truckload? Encourage your child to follow and learn from those famous for impact rather than fame itself. In other words, to value those who create rather than consume. Entrepreneurs, writers, and industry leaders didn’t get where they were without hard work. We can all learn from them. Want a good place to start? Look no further than the six Emmy-winning seasons of Biz Kid$ on public television stations and online.