Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review: Media Meltdown

When I was a kid, I don't know exactly what age, maybe 10, my dad had a conversation with me about interpreting the news. I don't remember exactly what precipitated it, I think it was a newspaper headline that he didn't agree with. He asked me to think about who might have written the story and why, what they were trying to get me to beleive, and whether there might be another point of view. I don't remember the subject of the piece, but the conversation itself was pivotal for me, and I always questioned media messages after that.

In recent years, I've wondered at what age I should be having that same conversation with my own kids. The twins are 6 now and they are certainly exposed to a lot. I've heard Tom telling his sister that "batteries are not included" with a toy, or that she might not be able to buy something because "supplies are limited" (shudder).

I don't think it's something that you specifically sit them down for a talk ("Now kids, let me grab my pipe and slippers and talk you about the birds and the bees") but rather plant seeds of questions for them to ask themselves as they consume media, play with toys and games, etc.

Given that I've been asking myself these questions in recent months, my ears perked up when I caught wind of the following book:

Media Meltdown is a comic book adventure about some small-town kids that witness a crime and attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice. Along the way, they learn about media, advertising, and how it is changing with the advent of the Internet. It's a short, fun comic that I'd highly recommending adding to any 8-15 year old's diet.

I'm going to see if the twins like it. I fear it may be a little too complicated for them just now. I'll post an update on how its received.

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