The Media's View of Gifted Children
Children are introduced to television at an early age. From before they can talk until adulthood, children are influenced by television.
Children as young as 5 are learning to use computers and surf the internet. What they know about the outside world is often learned through the media.
Newspapers, magazines and 24hr. a day cable and satellite channels tell them what the world is like, how to act, what to buy, what to wear, and which fast food restaurant they should eat at.
Therefore, it is not surprising that there are children depicted in many television roles. How are gifted children portrayed?
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It is not shocking then that society often gets an inaccurate idea of what it means to be gifted. Television producers and journalists need to do more to understand the unique needs and challenges of gifted children.
These children do not follow the same path as their non-gifted peers. This makes society nervous because they have no real point of reference to draw on to describe and understand these amazing children.
The perception of gifted children that society gets from television and newspapers filters into the minds of those in charge of making the laws, running the school boards and to teachers in the classroom.
An example of how the media views gifted children occurred with a man named William James Sidis(1891-1944), who was said to be highly gifted.
As a boy, journalists would hound him, taking his pictures, grabbing on to him, and asking him all sorts of question.
Later, as he graduated from Harvard university at 16, newspaper reporters wrote articles asking if he would ever live up to his potential.
From that point on, everything he did was examined and used to say that he in fact did not live up to his potential. Every job he took, reporters pointed and wrote that it proved he was a failure.
However, he did write many books, and papers, and he graduated from Harvard University. He was gifted and misunderstood.
Another example is a British documentary that follows the life of ten genius children, those who are profoundly gifted, it seems to feul the idea that the lives of all gifted children are difficult.
This is why it is important to advocate for gifted children in order get journalists, television producers and society as a whole to understand and appreciate these amazing gifted children.