“The public sphere is . . . a metaphorical term used to describe the virtual space where people can interact. . . . The World Wide Web, for example, is not actually a web; cyberspace is not a space; and so with the public sphere. It’s the virtual space where the citizens of a country exchange ideas and discuss issues, in order to reach agreement about ‘matters of general interest'” ([Jurgen] Habermas, 1997: 105)
Parenting and childcare is a major topic in the public sphere. How should we raise our children? How should we discipline our children? How should we teach our children? These are all common questions addressed in the public sphere. Governments are always trying to find ways to improve education and facilities for youth. There are many arguments between different groups with different ideological positions about the best parenting methods.
Blogs and Twitter are both forms of media in the public sphere. They are both platforms that allow a discussion flow between parties. There are many spaces on these platforms to discuss parenting.
Shows such as Today Tonight and A Current Affair are not part of the public sphere because they only show one side of a story, it is opinionated and it doesn’t allow a discussion or response from a different party.
Media can contribute to public sphere debates and even help form an opinion of an individual on an issue. A TV show directed by Ron Howard shows the difficulties and rewards of parenting. It contributes to the debate of parenting in the public sphere. Ironically, it’s called Parenthood.
This series shows the differences in parenting techniques in different families depending on the circumstances and situation of that family. It also shows how individuality and ideological positions changes the way some parents may choose to raise their child. Whether these differences are great or small, in the nature of reality TV, they do represent different parenting techniques in reality.
The series also shows how different children with different personalities might need to be raised differently to other children, even, perhaps, to their siblings.
The public sphere is enhanced by public views and allows people to share their opinions and experiences. These discussions can be impacted by media and I think Parenthood is a good example of how this could happen.