Look At ME....I'm Famous

Virtues: 

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"Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character."

Horace Greeley

Our society is being fed the values of fame, popularity and wealth in ever-growing proportions. One of the reasons for this is that we, as Americans, are plugged in constantly. Statistics reveal that the average American spends 11 hours a day plugged in to electronic media. For our young people (ages 8-18) that statistic is almost identical with our average youth spending 10 hours and 45 minutes plugged in to electronic media. That's almost half the 24-hour day!

And most of us are eating what that electronic media is feeding us.

 
social media guard

CLICK ON IMAGE: to view Coca-Cola's commercial on social media addiction.

 

Many of us adults rationalize that all this on-line availability is good for us. We can do so much more, experience so much more, learn so much more about the world around us. Yet, have we really considered what most of us learning?

50% of teens admit to being bullied on-line.

49% of teens admit to bullying others on-line.

93% of teens admit they've witnessed inappropriate talk on-line.

Are we learning that it's ok to be disrespectful to each other? Are we learning it's cool to make fun of other people, to laugh at them? Are we learning that the best way to communicate is in cyber space and NOT person to person in the real physical world?

 

Maybe what is most scary is how the values of our culture are being affected because of this new great technology. Below is an article written in 2012 that describes the new emerging values of so many of our young people:

Kids Want Fame More Than Anything 
Posted: 01/19/2012 by Yalda Uhis: The Huffington Post

"This is America, where everyone has the right to life, love and the pursuit of fame." _ 
-- Ryan Seacrest, American Idol, 2010_

In the new millennium, people face messages highlighting the significance of fame everywhere they look. Not only in reality television shows such as "Keeping up with the Kardashians" and "American Idol", but also in popular fictional TV shows, even those targeted to children. After watching some of these shows with my then 9-year-old daughter, I grumbled about the drastic change in "values." Worried that I was becoming one of those predictable adults who lament that things were much better in the past, I decided to test my hypothesis.

I conducted a study with Dr. Patricia Greenfield at the UCLA campus of the Children's Digital Media Center@LA, which was published in Cyberpsychology last summer. We found that in 2007, fame was the number one value communicated to preteens on popular TV. In every other year, fame ranked towards the bottom of a list of 16 values, coming in at number 15 or 16. Interestingly enough, community feeling (to be part of a group) ranked number 11 in 2007, while in every other year it came in at number one or number two.

We next examined whether tweens were picking up on these messages, and that research was just published in Developmental Psychology. We wondered if the synergy between the fame-oriented content of popular TV shows and the opportunity to post online videos and status updates for "friends" and strangers created the perfect storm for a desire for fame. In our discussions, we asked preteens what they wanted in their future. Their number one choice? Fame.

"My friends and I are making a YouTube Channel... Our goal is to try and get a million subscribers."

The above quote came from an 11-year-old boy who wasn't interested in showcasing a talent -- his only interest seemed to be in getting a huge number of YouTube subscribers. Given that these digital media invite you to broadcast yourself, share your life, and then hope for attention that is counted by number of views, likes, or comments, can you blame him?

These days, it's easy to see the phenomenal success of teenagers who achieved fame, such as Justin Bieber, or infamy, such as Rebecca Black. Kids, already focused on popularity and status, crave the virtual audience that they see bring so much attention to others. And the inexperience to think that fame comes easily, without a connection to talent or hard work.

"First, I'm gonna take it seriously, play, um, travel basketball, and, um, I'm going (to) college for one year, see if I'm really good, and, I wanna be on a really bad team, so, I can be like the star."

Anyone else see a flaw in this sixth grade boy's logic? Of course, these kids will get older and realize fame is not that simple to achieve. But what will they have given up in the meantime? This same boy later told us he didn't care about school. Psychological research has shown that a focus on extrinsic rewards, outside of oneself, can reduce achievement motivation. Fame may be the ultimate extrinsic reward.

In the 21st century, TV content socializes children more than at any other point in its history. Even though children today have a myriad of media choices, they still watch television an average of 4 1/2 hours a day. If the messages kids see on TV are about young people achieving great success and renown, it's only natural for kids to start wanting this for themselves. Moreover with the rapid growth of digital media, children can now showcase themselves to an audience beyond their immediate community, using the tools at their fingertips to enact fame. Nevertheless, the pursuit of fame is embedded in the fabric of our society, in America -- every person, no matter where they come from, is supposed to have the opportunity to become successful and achieve to their fullest extent. This is one of the strengths of our society, as long as it is connected to hard work, talent and persistence.

 

What are we to do as educators for our children? SportsLeader contends that for all of us we need to push virtue, character and leadership by real-life example and real-life mentoring. We must demand our young people's attention by providing meaning in real-life; rolling up up sleeves and committing ourselves to the vital task at hand, giving our children VALUES that last. And since, our electronic media won't go away anytime soon, let's use it to educate WITH our kids instead of falling into the illusion that they can handle its messages on their own. Indeed, there are great examples for us to see on-line but it will never replace real human interaction between living, breathing people. Like Zac Stacy in the video below, let's take his advice and be the example to love and serve the real-life people in our midst...no matter the sacrifice.

More Than A Coach....SportsLeader!!

 
zac stacy

CLICK ON IMAGE: to view video of NFL'er Zac Stacy and his brother Justin who has Down's Syndrome.

 
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