Posted by gtchatmod
It’s no secret to the gifted community that popular culture perpetuates stereotypes about gifted children. They are viewed as socially inept and geniuses with little or no consideration of reality. Furthermore, it’s common for popular culture to pit various segments of the population against each other; athletes, artists, academics.
Negative portrayals of gifted children in the media can have a profound impact on a child’s self-concept. Gifted kids often feel they can’t live up to society’s expectations; that all children identified as gifted are intellectually flawless. This can also lead to them bullying in school when they do display academic achievement or talent.
The media’s influence in a child’s life is well recognized and there needs to be a sense of responsibility on its part. Recently, Hollywood and television have been doing a better job, but needs to understand the risks of undermining intellectual ability.
Teachers and school counselors need to be aware of the social-emotional needs of gifted children (Colangelo 2003). School personnel should be understanding of exceptional developmental issues and appropriate approaches to address needs.
Parents should consider asynchronous development, emotional sensitivity, and perfectionism as related to popular culture. They need to be alert to the possibility that their child may attempt to camouflage abilities to ‘fit in’ with age-peers. Parents should learn the signs of underachievement and seek professional help if deemed necessary.
To see what chat participants felt were the best and worst representations of gifted children in the media, check out the transcript of the chat at Storify.
Indecent Exposure: Does the Media Exploit Highly Gifted Children? (pdf p.28) Gifted Education Communicator
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad