doesn't mince words in her critique of the growing influence of media on the lives of families and children. NOISE
is a manifesto of sorts, designed to help us criticially evaluate our use of television, movies, music, and the Internet. Tomeo argues that the gradual encroachment of media has desensitized us to the coarseness of popular culture, influenced our political discourse in ways we may not realize, and erected barriers between family members who exist in separate states of "plugged-in-ness."
Tomeo writes from experience, as she is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who started her own communications firm several years ago to address the needs of Catholics wanting to better understand the influence, benefits, and drawbacks of various forms of media. In NOISE, she outlines nine dominant forms of media and explains why parents should be concerned about each one, providing concrete suggestions for how parents can initiate conversations with their children about media usage and how to set appropriate limits.
Tomeo argues that the influence of media is so pervasive that we would be foolish to ignore it:
"If it feels good, it is good" is the common message being streamed from the likes of TV, music, movies, and various Internet sites. The message is aimed at each of us: children, teens, young adults, and older adults....the purpose is to appeal to our self-centered nature. Directly or indirectly, the media mantra advises us to set aside principles that might inhibit our pursuit of self. Is it any wonder that we see a continuing breakdown of the family?
While it's debatable how much of the breakdown of the family is a symptom of media influence rather than a cause, Tomeo's arguments for monitoring what we watch, read, and listen to are persuasive. She writes from a firmly conservative perspective but many of her suggestions for speaking out against the explicit sexuality, violence, and consumerism in popular culture would appeal to readers across the political spectrum.
Ultimately, decisions about how to engage media should rest with each individual, but Tomeo's book is thought-provoking and asks us to consider how we pass our time and how to maintain strong family structures in a 21st-century household. She advocates becoming media-savvy rather than just unplugging from all television, radio, etc. and this is probably a more realistic approach for most families.
You can purchase this book here