Thursday, January 28, 2016

The impact of reality Tv on our teens

this articile will raised many importants questions
August 11, 2014
Posted in: Hot TopicsTeenagers
Kim Kardashian was preparing to have her baby.
Instead of making sure she had her hospital room reserved and her bags prepared, she was instead on the phone with members of her “glam squad” to make sure they would be available to ensure her hair and makeup were perfect for the day of her delivery. Her sisters chastise her vain behavior as being “typical Kim,” and it is apparent where her values lie.
Meanwhile, on another cable channel, female socialites of Beverly Hills prepare for a dinner party. Almost as soon as the women arrive in their designer clothes, the wine, catty remarks and tears begin to flow. Throughout the booze-fueled dinner, the women accuse each other of spreading rumors, and the yelling and finger-pointing ensue. A typical dinner party for the “real” housewives.
Reality television is a huge part of our television viewing culture. It may be clear to many adults that not all is “real” in the world of reality TV. However, how do children and adolescents understand the world of reality TV? What could reality TV be teaching adolescent girls, in particular, about what is valued in the real world? And, how does it affect their attitudes, beliefs, self-image and behavior?
Research has shown that reality TV has an impact on the values of young girls and how they view real-life situations. That being the case, it’s important to take a look at some of the standards portrayed on reality TV.
What are some of the common themes in reality TV?
Physical Beauty And Sex Appeal
Many reality shows depict women idealizing beauty and thinness, giving the impression that a woman’s value is based on her appearance, and that popularity is derived from beauty. Competition shows such as America’s Next Top Modelperpetuate this ideal, as women compete with one another to gain a lucrative modeling contract. Plastic surgery shows such as Botched, as well as the former Dr. 90210 and The Swan feature people altering their appearance and becoming more satisfied with their looks and quality of life after surgery. Many cast members of other reality shows, such as The Real Housewives franchise, are very open about their numerous plastic surgeries.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians features the life of a family that spends a great deal of time and money on appearance, with a consequent rise in fame and popularity of its girls and women.  Their Instagram pages, often followed by young fans of the show, are full of “selfies,” bikini and modeling photos. Photos that feature their “ordinary” everyday lives are highly sexualized, including the pages of the youngest teenage members of the family. This practice perpetuates the notion that “real” people gain popularity and happiness by focusing on their appearance—and to be successful, personal image, even at a very young age, should be laced with sexuality.
Materialism And Excessive Partying
Other common values perpetuated by reality TV include materialism, and an idealization of a hard-partying and “celebrity” lifestyle without regard for consequences. Both Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and Shahs of Sunset feature the lives of privileged young adults living in southern California. They take extravagant trips, wear designer clothes, spend a lot of money on alcohol-fueled parties, and are rarely seen working regular jobs. The cast of The Jersey Shore spends an entire summer binge drinking to excess, participating in risky sexual behavior, engaging in physical altercations, and even being arrested. Despite their obvious poor behavior and decision-making, their popularity continues to grow.
For anyone who has seen the 2013 movie The Bling Ring, this is an extreme example of how emulation of the celebrity and reality TV lifestyle can cause issues in teens. The movie is based on the true story of a group of teenagers in southern California who were responsible for the “Hollywood Hills robberies,” in which they robbed the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Audrina Patridge and several other celebrities. The teens idealized the party and high-fashion lifestyle that is often featured in gossip magazines and reality TV, and subsequently robbed the homes of celebrities to fuel this lifestyle. Although this is an extreme case, it does demonstrate the ability of this type of media to influence the values placed on materialism and excessive partying.
Aggression And Bullying
Reality TV typically reveals inappropriate behavior within peer groups, often promoting interpersonal drama, aggression and bullying. For example, women inThe Real Housewives franchise gossip, back-stab and behave aggressively, condescending and catty toward one another. The expression of relational aggression between females seen across several reality shows gives girls the idea that gossiping is a normal part of a female relationship, that it’s in girls’ natures to be devisive and competitive with one another, and that being mean earns respect and is often necessary to get what you want.
As we try to discourage bullying, gossiping and other forms of interpersonal aggression between young girls, it’s unfortunate that reality shows often feature adults behaving in exactly this manner, all the while continuing to gain popularity in mainstream media.
Lack Of Focus On The Importance Of Intelligence And Real World Success
While reality TV seems to place emphasis on sex appeal, materialism, hard-partying and relational aggression, it does not emphasize the fact that many women on these shows are highly intelligent and successful in their real lives.
For instance, Adrienne Maloof, a former cast member on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, is a successful entrepreneur as a co-owner of several business ventures that include Maloof Productions and the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. However, it was her divorce and disputes with other female cast members that were her main focus on the show. Married to Medicine, a show featuring the lives of doctor’s wives and female physicians, focuses primarily on the conflicts among the women, not on their successful medical practices.
How To Talk With Your Children And Adolescents About Reality TV
It’s important to know how to talk to your kids about the blurred line between reality and reality TV. Since reality TV has such a strong foothold in American pop culture, it is likely not going anywhere or changing its content any time soon. However, parents can learn how to help their children critically appraise what they see in the media.
Tips for critical appraisal of the media:1  
  1. Watch one or more reality TV shows with your teenager: First, ask what shows your teen is watching, and then determine which shows are appropriate for the age and maturity of your child. It might be that you decide that a young teen, like a 13-year-old, should not watch certain shows that a 16-year-old teen would be permitted. If you introduce “TV rules” such as these in your home, you might consider viewing the shows alone first before determining which are appropriate for your child. When watching a show with your child, feel free to make the statements or ask the questions posed in the tips below.
  2. Make a clear statement about the reality of reality TV shows: This is important, since kids need to know that while reality TV appears to be “reality,” it is a sensationalized reality of the television world. Nevertheless, it has an impact, and like many TV shows, can serve as a foundation for imitation.Example: “You know these shows are NOT REAL. They look like real life but are written just like other shows.”
  3. Find out what your child thinks is real: Start a conversation to gauge how your child views reality TV. There is no way of knowing what she thinks unless you ask. You can pose these questions about reality TV in general, or about a specific show that your child is watching. Examples: Ask her to describe what is going on in the show to get a sense for how she thinks people look and act. What is good or bad about some of the behavior you are watching together? Does she think people act in real life as they do on reality TV? If so, what has she seen among her peers or adults that resembles what she is seeing on reality TV?
  4. Find out if TV images affect your child’s self image and values: Reality TV and popular culture can dictate what is “cool,” and what it means to be accepted. Find out if your child is emulating values portrayed on reality TV.Examples: Does she envy the lifestyle of the charchters? Is there anything she would change about herself or wish she could do after seeing a particular show? What values are being displayed in the show? What are her values?
  5. Talk to your child about why she likes certain characters: It may be enlightening to find out why your child likes or dislikes certain characters. This can indicate what values your child may or may not be reflecting.Examples:What connections is she making between herself and the reality TV characters? Why does your child find certain characters appealing? Explore if that character is truly admirable, or is there something else that makes her or him seem cool. Does that character make a good role model?  Would she like to behave similarly to that character? Who does make a good role model?
  6. Ask your teenager about what her friends are watching: Most kids watch the same shows, as it gives them common ground for conversation. Ask about her friends’ reactions to certain shows, episodes and/or behaviors. Examples:What do her friends think is cool? Would her friends want her to act like the characters in the show? Would she want her friends to act in certain ways?
  7. Help your child develop critical responses to what she observes on reality TV: Talking to the television and commenting when something seems unreal or scripted can help your child develop these critical skills. Use commercial breaks to discuss these elements or pause the show when you want to take a break and talk. Examples: Ask your child, “What is going on here? What is the message in this part of the show?” If your child cannot come up with answers, you can say, “I see people being really self-centered and vain, or nasty to a friend.” Your commentary may help initiate a conversation about the content of the show at any given point.
Although the programming of reality TV can be highly entertaining, it’s important to be aware of the messages and values that these shows often portray. More importantly, it’s essential to be aware of what our children are watching so that we can teach them how to recognize and process the skewed values of television reality. This is tricky, as this programming easily deceives viewers into believing it is a true reflection of the real world.
However, by following the tips above, your child can ultimately learn not to accept what is portrayed on reality TV as the truth, but rather to think more critically about what the characters are doing, and why they are behaving in certain ways. This knowledge will give your child the tools to develop stronger values, and a more solid self-esteem that is free from the influences of reality TV.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

About sexting

An interesting article was post in the New York Times about Sexting. It is asking some important question about this new practice which become ordinary for some may be more than we think...

Is this a new phenomena? not really.
What is new and scary is the "no right to forget" aspect of it as much as how a picture or any post can become viral and have uncontrollable consequences...
Words fly away, writings remain.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Superficial, atrociously stupid Scream Queens started on Fox

So the new Fox series is supposed to be an horror-comedy?
This totally poorly written carrying all the superficial value of any teen series those days + a copy-paste cheap recipe from basic horror movie without the development of character.

The worse is that teen may not dare to see and say how unhealthy and annoying the series is because it is so advertised that it looks that this the TV show every teen has to watch

Those teens are as usual obsessed by popularity, looks, fashion... and let's not forget seduction and sex.

Add to that recipe gore and violence and you get a show that any middle-schooler could shoot with his smartphone.

In case they wanted to play a caricature, this is a total failure.

I agree with Kristi Turnquist in :
"Scream Queens": New horror-comedy from Ryan Murphy ("American Horror Story") and his team, about a cursed sorority and a serial killer on a college campus. The two-hour pilot is supposed to be a bloody hoot, with Emma Roberts as the mean-girl head of the sorority, making insulting remarks about minorities, and anyone who doesn't conform to the sorority's standards of beauty. Instead, it's just distasteful. The eclectic cast – which includes Keke Palmer, Lea Michele, and Nick Jonas – are a lively group, but the opener drags.  Jamie Lee Curtis is the only bright spot, and even her role – as a college dean with her own secrets – seems like a rewrite of the Sue Sylvester character from "Glee."

I totally disagree with critics who find that show hilarious with its insane hyper-reality. there is no subtlety there, everything is heavy, gross, easy, cliche. 

I guess that TV writers those days should watch some of the you-tuber who seems much more inspired and certainly funnier than them. 

Friday, May 08, 2015

10 places where anyone can learn to code

Posted by: 

I choose to share this article I just read as I agree completly with the difference between using and making:

Teens, tweens and kids are often referred to as “digital natives.” Having grown up with the Internet, smartphones and tablets, they’re often extraordinarily adept at interacting with digital technology. But Mitch Resnick, who spoke at TEDxBeaconStreet, is skeptical of this descriptor. Sure, young people can text and chat and play games, he says, “but that doesn’t really make you fluent.”
Fluency, Resnick proposes in this TED Talk, comes not through interacting with new technologies, but through creating them. The former is like reading, while the latter is like writing. He means this figuratively — that creating new technologies, like writing a book, requires creative expression — but also literally: to make new computer programs, you actually must write the code.
The point isn’t to create a generation of programmers, Resnick argues. Rather, it’s that coding is a gateway to broader learning. “When you learn to read, you can then read to learn. And it’s the same thing with coding: If you learn to code, you can code to learn,” he says. Learning to code means learning how to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively. And these skills are applicable to any profession — as well as to expressing yourself in your personal life, too.
In his talk, Resnick describes Scratch, the programming software that he and a research group at MIT Media Lab developed to allow people to easily create and share their own interactive games and animations. Below, find 10 more places you can learn to code, incorporating Resnick’s suggestions and our own.
  1. At Codecademy, you can take lessons on writing simple commands in JavaScript, HTML and CSS, Python and Ruby. (See this New York Times piece on Codecademy and other code-teaching sites, for a sense of the landscape.)
  2. One of many programs geared toward females who want to code, Girl Develop It is an international nonprofit that provides mentorship and instruction. “We are committed to making sure women of all ages, races, education levels, income, and upbringing can build confidence in their skill set to develop web and mobile applications,” their website reads. “By teaching women around the world from diverse backgrounds to learn software development, we can help women improve their careers and confidence in their everyday lives.”
  3. Stanford University’s Udacity is one of many sites that make college courses—includingIntroduction to Computer Science—available online for free. (See our post on free online courses for more ideas.)
  4. If college courses seem a little slow, consider Code Racer, a “multi-player live coding game.” Newbies can learn to build a website using HTML and CSS, while the more experienced can test their adeptness at coding.
  5. The Computer Clubhouse, which Resnick co-founded, works to “help young people from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies,” as he describes. According to Clubhouse estimates, more than 25,000 kids work with mentors through the program every year.
  6. Through CoderDojo’s volunteer-led sessions, young people can learn to code, go on tours of tech companies and hear guest speakers. (Know how to code? You can set up your own CoderDojo!)
  7. Code School offers online courses in a wide range of programming languages, design and web tools.
  8. Similarly, Treehouse (the parent site of Code Racer) provides online video courses and exercises to help you learn technology skills.
  9. Girls Who Code, geared specifically toward 13- to 17-year-old girls, pairs instruction and mentorship to “educate, inspire and equip” students to pursue their engineering and tech dreams. “Today, just 3.6% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women, and less than 10% of venture capital-backed companies have female founders. Yet females use the internet 17% more than their male counterparts,” the website notes.
  10. Through workshops for young girls of color, Black Girls Code aims to help address the “dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions,” founder Kimberly Bryant writes, and build “a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.”
While we’re at it: bonus! General Assembly offers a variety of coding courses at their campuses across the globe. Additionally, their free online platform, Dash, teaches HTML, CSS and Javascript through fun projects on a simple interface that is accessible from your web browser.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What kind of message our kids are getting in television series about school?

Did you watch some television series about school? Do you remember the one you were watching as a kid?
Let's speak about some that are considered as the best one or/and the most successful one.

The Wonder years (1988-1993)
This serie set in the 1960s narrated the adventures through middle-school and high-school of Kevin Arnold.
Let's give a close look at the first episode.

Kevin arrives in Middle-school and you already have there all the stereotypes. What are the center of interest of middle-schooler?

Kevin first thinking on the first day of school is "what am I going to wear?"
The second subject of interest is girls! Already on both side, boys and girls are really concerned by the way they look and the way others look at them.

The third point of concern are the teachers, the supervisors and with them, rules and authority.

The key scene in this first episode is when Kevin and his friend arrive in the cafeteria, here is what the voice of grown-up Kevin is saying "a suburban junior high school cafeteria is like a microcosms of the world, the goal is to protect yourself, and safety comes in group.You have the cool kids, you have the smart kids, you have the greasers, and on those days of course you had the hippies. In effect is that in junior high-school who you are is define less by who you are than by who is the person sitting next to you."

As you can see, at no moment we hear about the interest in learning, the quality of the teacher and how much this would concern the student. So in this first episode the "rule" set that individual  would be defined not through what he thinks, what his opinion and interest may be but by with who he is hanging out.
So if we believe what we are seeing there, middle-schooler have little interest in learning, they are rather so concern by their image that they do not hesitate to get in trouble just to preserve it. Kevin act in a very disrespectful way just by getting angry at his older brother and his parents are called in the principal office.

Another older show is "Degrassi Junior high"
In the first episode,Stephanie asks her young brother, Arthur, to pretend that he does not know her! why? because it does not look cool to have a young brother and as a 8 grader she needs to look cool. She also changes clothes as soon as she gets in the school, from a long skirt and blouse outfit to a very provocative and rather sexy look without forgetting to put make-up.
Arthur get already teased by a 8 grader boy, a player who want to lead.
Stephanie do not hesitate to betray her best friend  and manipulate all the boys in order to be elected as school president.

Ones again, the social interaction and the appearance are the main subject of the show. The interest of studying have no place at all in those series. We are far from inspirational movies like "Dead poet society".

In the series "Popular" it was mean girls acts who were somewhat glorified. Basically you had on one side the popular kids and on the other side the unpopular one and stories which make you think that student were more interested by battling each other than studying.

Did you ever check out the "Monster High" series?
This is an animated serie extremely popular with a huge merchandising success. But what are the value carried there?
Well, ones again, appearance is at the center of interest of the students who are totally superficial. The rivalry between those girl is atrocious and can be totally depressing to any girls watching it. The standard seems to concentrate on having a group of so-called friends who will fight with you for the same goal which always cause suffering in others. Friendship is totally twisted there.

I believe that it is time for parents to look closely to those teen series and not only speak about them with their kids but also let producers know what type of message they would appreciate to see in them.
Teenage and college are already a difficult time as puberty strike and society became more and more materialistic, selfcenter and egoistic. Role model on television does encourage teenager in a totally superficial direction which is source of anxiety and agressivity.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

great program, step 3: second grade.

It is interesting to speak about the Brighton film school with Georges Albert Smith and James Williamson and to show some of their shorts: 
As seen through a telescope, with probably the first close-up of the cinema.
Grandma's reading glasses for more close-up and make the student talk about the use of this type of plan with question like why do he use this close-up for? What does he want to say?

Then we will show the student the film by James Williamson "the big swallow" and make them remark the size of each shot as the gentleman is walking toward the camera. Williamson's use of action continuity across multiple shots established the basic grammar of film.
From there, it will be nice to have them do a collage where they will actually identified the size of the plans.

Then we will continue in the Silent film era with Max Linder.

Max Linder, Gabriel-Maximilien Leuvielle, is the first comedian and first international Movie star. He was Charles Chaplin Mentor. In fact Chaplin got not only inspired by Max Linder but he even copy him in many ways which become obvious when watching Max Linder movies.

This is the silent film Era and there is not so many movies of Max Linder who survived all those years. It will be nice to show as many of those Max Linder to the children as it may be the only occasion for many of them to see them.
They will be able later to recognize what Chaplin copy from Max Linder.

We will show the student some Chaplin Movies as well as some Buster Keaton Movies from the silent Era.

it would be interesting to set up a few little silent comedies for them to play and to videotape. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Great program. Step 2: First Grade

Let's continue our program with first grader, some review would be fun, with some still images observations game, cartoon screening and commercial making again.
Then we can now start with some history class, cinema history for sure.
I like to start by the beginning at it makes more sense to explain to the children how we got there, in the images based world.

So I will start with Emile Reynaud, showing them the "praxinoscope"  and early animation made with it.
Then I will show them his optical theater and one of his projection:

This class that introduce history of cinema is constructed around visual experiences. there is no lesson to learn there, only being exposed to what was done and share feeling and thinking with their pair. The brain will do the rest. Debate is higly encouraged.

After the Praxinoscope should come Edison and his Kinetoscope and some of his film should be screened. 

The Lumiere brother should follow with the screening of  "the arrival of a train at La Ciotat" without forgetting to explain to the kids that people were scared when watching that movie for the first time, scared that the train would run on them. 
Children are usually very receptive to the history of cinema, it is also fun for them to hear that adult were scared by a train on a screen.

Children particularly appreciate Georges Melies 's movies. I like to show them a few of those. "A trip to the Moon" is fascinating, even for those who are watching too much TV. It is important to set up the ambiance when showing those old movies, to make them feel how it was at that time.

Melies is a lot of fun, and children will laugh at his movies, it is interesting to learn about some of the special effect he used as he is the precursor. Eventually the children could reproduce and experiment some of his trick, like the disparition of a person or an object. It will be wise to get a video camera and to realize some short videos with the children at that point,