Growing Up With Media
Week 1: Mass Communication
by Jadhalyn Le
Growing up in the digital age, I find myself constantly wandering around all sorts of media such as books, newspapers, magazines, movies, recordings, radio, television and of course, the internet. If I were to remove all of my experience from media from my aspect of life, I don’t see myself as the resourceful person I am today. I take pride in knowing a little to a lot of everything media has to offer to us all and the enjoyment that comes from learning something new. As years went by, I have experienced the things I appreciate in media and the other things where I am not content with. Media is very flexible, changes occur extremely often since we, imperfect people, are the ones running this knowledge. Here are my experiences with media as I grew older.
I read more than the average kid as I grew up. I have realized that the more I read, the better I can understand others’ point of view and that I am more precise with my choice of words. Much knowledge, such as an increase in vocabulary, can come from plenty of reading without you even noticing it. I used to hate the thought about reading as a young girl. Today I see myself reading all sorts of things for everyday life such as the signs on the streets or the “now hiring” sheets taped to the glass windows of restaurants. I couldn’t imagine how I would make it in our active society if I didn’t know how to read.
I had many Vietnamese newspapers since childhood. The only reason why my Vietnamese is good for a second generation like me was because I was exposed by my grandfather to the language and literature since I was young. Newspapers, both in English and Vietnamese, both have a lot of advertisements. There are times my family and I would find new restaurants or a hiring job to tell an unemployed family member or friend. There are always current events all around. In Vietnamese newspapers, there are constantly topics about anti-communism and regular American news, especially in politics. I loved learning about what is happening around me. I felt like my eyes were being opened every time.
Magazines were just one of the many things my mother would never let me grab possession of. She’d ask me, “You want to buy an expensive booklet filled with trash and lies?” I have thought about what she says many times. I only see two types of magazines available for everyone. The first type would be more materialistic, celebrities, rumors, gossips, etc. The second type would be transparent, blunt news all around the world with topics such as politics, environment related, etc. I have no issues with reading either types of magazines. They are both equally interesting, bringing out different sides of my personality. An example would be as I read “Comsopolitan”, my girly side would come out and I would start to appreciate fashion choices and would likely crave makeup. If I were to read “Time” magazines, I would learn about what is wrong in our world or society today, sympathetic and critical emotions would arise in myself. These are all healthy experiences. My problem with these magazines is that I do not appreciate any lies or cover-up stories just for the sake of the audience. It’s so easy to be swayed just by what other people are thinking and I do not want to be that gullible person. I seek the truth and would prefer truths only.
The radio and television orbit around a huge part of my life. Growing up, there was always plenty of pop-music and Viet operas. I watched “Teletubbies” and “Sesame Street” constantly. I listened to plenty of “KOIT” radio station every morning as my parents drove me to school. We had many cassettes lying around the house. My grandfather would play a lot of Vietnamese dramas. Since I watched plenty of television shows for kids, they were very educational and I was able to learn basics such as counting, differentiating colors and they all increased my vocabulary and grammar skills. Most of my English during my first few years of life came from the TV instead of my parents. (Thank you, PBS.) I was introduced to the 80’s as I listened to the radio station. In some sort of way, they awoke my senses and I became more aware of what I was being exposed to as time went on.
The internet played a huge part in my young adult life until today. I started finding my way around the computer when I was in the second grade. I started off playing “Minesweeper” and clicked on random icons on the desktop such as the blue letter “E”. I have discovered the internet. I figured out what Yahoo News was and how to use search engines. Youtube came along and I started to watch videos that everyone can view and share to. Eventually, when I was in the 6th grade, I started to join social websites such as Mypace, Facebook and Tumblr. Within 9 years of being surrounded by the internet, I became more open, creative and understanding to other persons’ point of view. I used to be stubborn with my opinions and would be slightly narrow-minded. I realized that the more I learned about other people’s arguments and their opinions realistically, I found myself more open to the idea, to be able to debate which is right or wrong. I loved that the internet matured me as a person.
I am extremely appreciative of these types of media. If I simply attended school and was never exposed to any types of media, I’d most likely be monotone. I wouldn’t be caught up with anything in the present day. I am quite resourceful, acceptably literate and open-minded to more knowledge and ideas anyone or anything can offer me. I am positive and have high hopes for media to mature us all as a society as well as maturing myself.