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Dear Reader,

Welcome to July’s Media Moment! This month, Julie Polvinen, our Children’s at Home Program Coordinator, shares a moment (or as she writes, ‘epiphany’) when she came to terms with the role media play in her life, both as a creator and consumer. These stories are meant to help create a village square of commiserating and co-celebrating the many ways media intersect with the lives of children. Please comment and even submit your own ‘Moment’ to share with your fellow readers.

Enjoy your media and use them wisely,
The Mediatrician®

 Media Moment: Realizing What Media Mean to Me

Media, media, let me in! Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin!

Once upon a time… well… now, actually… CUT!!  Take 2!

I create media for a living. And as for many of us, I also need media to do my job, connect with others, and feel in touch with the world.

Back in the day, the media I remember getting engrossed in as a child were movies and TV shows like Kimba the White Lion, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Cool Hand Luke, and The Carol Burnett Show. It was entertainment that moved me, and moving kids and adults is what I strive to do with the work I create. Being a producer of media and an occasional consumer leaves me with mixed emotions about my relationship with media and thoughts around why and how I use it. Some days, I don’t like media at all, especially when they are overused. I feel that they distract from genuine experiences with others. My media moment is a moment of realization, my epiphany.

I have to admit, I love new media gadgets and their endless creative possibilities. I love that media keeps me in the loop of friends and family so I can lend support when they need it. I love feeling that I have the world at my fingertips when I want to learn something. Am I a media junkie? Should I Ask the Mediatrician? Yet there are days when I am an avid opponent of media because of what I feel they take away from me.

As many people do when figuring out if something is beneficial for them (namely when they feel internal struggle), I do a cost/benefit analysis or weigh the pros and cons. Well, math isn’t my strong suit and as someone who would rather be in the garden :) , I can always come up with more cons to media’s presence in my life. In the end I approach things from a feelings perspective—it’s what works for me. So I ask myself, “How do I feel when I consume media?” and “How do I feel when I don’t?” Easy right? … Not so much.

I feel good connecting to a cousin in another country on Facebook, but I feel sad that I’ve never met her in person. I feel good sending someone an email that elicits laughter and reinforces a friendship but sad that I’m not laughing with her in person as she takes in my fantastic sense of humor :). I’m happy when someone “likes” my posts, but the feeling is fleeting and I feel pressure to set the bar higher next time. Two friends recently passed away, and my online presence reconnected me to their families and old friends as I lent support through the newly formed online communities. I was grateful for the internet as it allowed me to see photos and read stories people shared, yet again I was sad that I didn’t spend more time with my friends in person.

All I know is I wanted a simple life; looks like I’ll have to wait for the next one. I know media do not define me or my relationships and I feel more authentic connecting to someone in person than I do online. I know that I love using my hands in the garden more than on an App and in the final analysis… I know I feel anxious and stifled the more time I spend with media, yet creating media is my way of self-expression and the antithesis of those feelings for me.

My epiphany: I feel the most me, unlimited, and imaginative creating media that positively affects people.

Media—whether I love them or loathe them, I am learning to manage them. I am reducing my media use and presence online for in-person and less virtual experiences. I want to be more present and mindful about how I spend my time and who I spend it with. Still, I can value media and their ability to capture moments and influence feelings. My photographs and videos help me re-live experiences, hold onto memories, and keep me connected to those who have passed.

Media, media, I’ll let you in. You allow me an extended reach of life’s emotions, and I treasure you when you hold sentiment. Though you are not the human experience, you sure can come close. Remember, I only allow you to fool me when I want you to, especially when we are friends.

~Julie Polvinen

 “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination, living there you’ll be free, if you truly wish to be”. – Roald Dahl

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