Boys and the media
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BOYS AND THE MEDIA. Kris Van Gieson and Thomas Weber Hyla Middle School Sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Just Know Coalition February 28, 2012. INTRODUCTIONS AND WHY WE’RE HERE. Thomas Weber and Kris Van Gieson are educators at Hyla Middle School.

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Boys and the media


Kris Van Gieson and Thomas Weber

Hyla Middle School

Sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Just Know Coalition

February 28, 2012

Introductions and why we re here


Thomas Weber and Kris Van Gieson are educators at Hyla Middle School.

Hyla believes that nurturing the healthy social and emotional development of middle school children must go hand in hand with their academic learning. Visit

Mapping the territory

Mapping the Territory

Wide range of games available


Facebook, Chat, Skype, etc.

Social Media

Media Consumption

Websites, TV, Movies, Radio, Magazines, Online Video, Music

Media Creation

Making art, movies, music, websites, and games

Tech Skills

Media consumption has a big influence on the other spheres. Privacy and easy access to pornography are particular concerns. There is more power to create and consume independent media and more variety in media.

Mapping the territory the past

Mapping the Territory: the Past


Board games, neighborhood games,

Telephone, Lettters

Social Media

Media Consumption

TV, Movies, Radio, Magazines

Media Creation

Very limited and expensive tools

Tech Skills

A safer and simpler landscape. Less variety and less opportunity to create and share media.

Mapping the territory1

Mapping the Territory


Social Media

Media Consumption

Media Creation

Tech Skills

Cultural Shifts

Parents’ Influence

Guiding Principles

You can’t control cultural change, but you can use your values and your parenting.

Characteristics of boys

Characteristics of Boys

  • Attracted to kinetic/physical world and associated use of strategic and tactical thinking

  • Communication more direct, less verbal, more physical

  • Emotions are sublimated

  • Parallel and competitive play over collaborative play

Understanding general characteristics of boys helps to explain their attraction to video games

Act like a man box

Act Like a Man Box

















Social pressures influence boys to conform to social stereotypes.

Fears about boys use of media

Fears about Boys’ Use of Media

  • Social Media: bullying, privacy

  • Gaming: exposure to violence, addictive

  • Pornography: distorts views of sex, gender, and relationships

  • Other Media Consumption: superficial, time away from more balanced lifestyle

  • Media Creation: time intensive, can mimic hurtful media

  • Tech Skills: rule-breaking, vandalism

Positive outcomes of boys use

Positive Outcomes of Boys’ Use

Social Nurturing


  • Be a friend

  • Communicate

  • Share unseen talents

  • Overcome shyness

  • Social Skills

  • Kinesthetic

  • Strategic/Tactical

  • Trial and error

  • Mastery

  • Share interests

  • give-and-take

Positive outcomes of boys use1

Positive Outcomes of Boys’ Use

Media Consumption

Creative Process

  • less driven by corporate media

  • Enjoy great variety

  • Make music, movies, websites

  • Design games/ worlds within games

  • Tech skills

  • Write

  • Express yourself

Your guiding principles

Your Guiding Principles

  • About healthy play?

  • About relationships?

  • About use of time?

  • About good parenting?

Articulate these to yourself (and your spouse) before you engage in conversations with your son.

Parenting styles

Parenting Styles





Broad range of acceptable styles

  • Avoid the extremes or swinging from one end to the other.

  • Know that you may need to adapt styles to different personalities and different ages

  • Use guiding principles

Personality styles

Personality Styles


Internally or externally motivated?

Naturally cautious or risk-taking?

Outside or inside?

Athletic or Non-athletic?

Books or Video Games?

Look at yourself , your son, and others. Talking about personalities helps to understand and affect which parenting strategies will be most effective.

Solve it together parent child conversations

Think ahead to possible scenarios. what would you do and say and how does that convey your values?

You feel your son is wasting time on trivial computer activities.

You find your son looking at pornography.

You feel your son is addicted to gaming.

Solve it Together: Parent-Child Conversations

Some recommendations

Some Recommendations

  • Know what’s on the computer on a regular basis

    • Include time to investigate privacy controls

  • Regular conversations—limits and consequences aren’t as important as the conversations you have with them. Be wary of shutting down conversations with how you impose limits and consequences

  • 5:1 rule: listen to 5 minutes of your kid talking for every minute you talk.

  • Negotiate boundaries with your principles in mind

  • Notice how your own behavior is a model



  • Teachers, Counselors, Bainbridge Youth Services, Church Youth Groups, Just Know Coalition….

  • More about boys: two books

    • Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys

    • The Minds of Boys: Saving our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life

  • More about gaming

    • Visit the websites for each of the games.


  • More about social media

    • Works both ways--cruelty and self-esteem abound

    • Social media: the playground/neighborhood in the best sense of the term


  • A good general consumer guide for parents


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