By Jyesha Johnson
Media has changed during my life. I can still remember in kindergarten when my mom had a flip-phone, and how I enjoyed listening to her ringtones. I even got in trouble for putting her phone in the water with my toy, which was Angelica from the “Rugrats.” I find it amazing that you can fast-forward today and see the changes.
The cell phone has evolved, and so has media. You can use cell phones today in countless ways, such as listening to music, finding a location, posting to social media, and even getting help with homework. Some cell phones are even waterproof, which would have helped me as a child.
My fondest memory involving media is dancing in front of the television. My favorite show was “106 and Park on BET.” It came on every weekday at the same time. “106 and Park” was the perfect collaboration of music, culture, news and fashion. I remember when Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat” video first aired. It was my favorite.
Sadly, “106 and Park’s” last episode aired in 2014. I was crushed. I can imagine that my mother and father felt the same way when the last episode of “Soul Train” aired. I can envision my mother in front of the television as an adolescent copying dances from the “Soul Train” line. “106 and Park” and “Soul Train” differed tremendously, but they are also comparable. Both were a platform for the latest music.
Today, most kids go on YouTube to listen to the latest music rather than watch it “106 and Park” or “Soul Train.” That means the internet is slowly taking over. As a youth, television took up more of my time than the internet. Internet was still on the rise, and if I did use the computer, it was to play solitaire or use Yahoo to research homework.
Now, most kids’ lives are consumed by the internet. The first thing they ask you when they see your cell phone is, “Do you have games on your phone?” They spend their childhood exploring different aspects of media. There are a lot of toddlers and young kids with social media ran by their parents. Young kids are exposed to media before they get a chance to really understand it. A parent sitting their child in front of a television is comparable to a parent creating an Instagram page for their child.
The difference is the form of media. When I was growing up, television was the most prominent form of media. Now, social media has taken its place. Instead of your television being presented to your child, your child is being presented to social media.
The media has more power today than it did when I was a child, and it is constantly evolving. The need for social media is growing every day. People are becoming more drawn to it, and it is becoming a norm. Your first picture may be in a picture frame on your grandma’s wall, while your child’s first picture may be posted on the newsfeed of Facebook.