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How parents can help their children avoid negative media values
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The International Business Times reported that Tyga sent sexual images to model Mia Isabella, which means he may be cheating on his current girlfriend, Kylie Jenner. - photo by Herb Scribner
Last Wednesday morning, two of the top trending topics on Facebook were Tyga and Ariana Grande. But the two music artists didnt release new albums or music videos. Rather, both were involved in infidelity-related news stories.

The International Business Times reported that Tyga sent sexual images to model Mia Isabella, which means he may be cheating on his current girlfriend, Kylie Jenner.

Similarly, a video surfaced of Ariana Grande, whos been in an on-and-off relationship with rapper Big Sean, kissing one of her backup dancers after licking some donuts, according to the HollywoodLife website.

These two stories and their popularity show that infidelity is a popular theme in the media one that could have negative long-lasting effects on U.S. families.

Mark Bartholomew, a professor at the State University of New York College at Buffalo, said that Americans are "hard-wired" to embrace celebrities, who are often the most successful people in our society. He said Americans take social and familial cues from celebs as they raise their families.

We take our cues more from celebrities. Celebrities shape the culture, Bartholomew said. Now, they dont keep us warm and find food, but were hard-wired to listen to them. Were always watching to see what celebrities do now.

Children, too, follow in the footsteps of celebrities, Bartholomew said, which can have devestating affects on a child's future behaviors. Research has long indicated that media can influence a child's decision to engage in any immoral values they pick up from celebrities.

For example, a 2003 research paper published in Pediatrics and Child Health found that a childs exposure to television, movies and other media could make them more likely to engage in irresponsible sexual behavior. Too much exposure to negative moral values in the media can also make children more likely to partake in underage drinking, premarital sex and violence, the study found.

This has only increased with the rise of technology and media consumption. Today, children consume media from multiple screens and platforms, according to a report from Nielsen ratings. This makes it easy for them to imitate what they see from celebrities, TV shows and movies, according to Mary Renck Jalongo of scholastic.com. It's almost impossible for them to avoid immoral values, she said.

So what can parents do to help their children avoid these negative media messages? Jalonogo said families should try their best to monitor the media their children consume and counteract the medias messages with their own family values.

Dr. Jim Taylor, an adjunct faculty member at the University of San Francisco, wrote for The Huffington Post that parents should instill healthy values in their family, which will keep children from finding interest in the medias negativity.

You must express your family-value culture in all of the ways that your children can learn healthy values, Taylor wrote. Most important, you must believe deeply in and be wholly committed to your family-value culture. Values can't just be what you say, but rather you must be a walking, talking, feeling, acting, living expression of your family-value culture.

Taylor also said its important to have your child learn about values on their own. When a child does something that goes against a familys values, its good for parents to interact with their children and ask them about why they acted against the family's beliefs, Taylor wrote. It will help the children learn more about what they value in the world.

The pressure to conform and be accepted will grow substantially and your children may feel compelled to make choices based on their need for acceptance, Taylor wrote. Your best defense against this social influence is instilling positive values at an early age, so your children will recognize bad influences and unhealthy values, and not feel the need to adopt values and act in certain ways just to be accepted.