Friday, January 25, 2013

Let's STOP - for all that is Good

I can't look at the violent ads for movies since Newtown. I turn away, and I turn the channel. But I swear they are present during every break. Often I wonder just why such an ad is on screen during a weekend afternoon when children can be exposed to its crude message. (I should ask the same about Super Bowl ads.)

As has been pointed out in a different arena lately, all these stars who stand up for gun control have no problem shooting it up in ultra-violent, "realistic" film scenes for a fat paycheck. Some would say this is not hypocrisy, but it absolutely is.

They are not the primary ones who contribute to our culture of violence, however. Every selfish and/or ignorant parent who takes their five-, eight-, or ten-year-old to a movie meant for adults, because they don't want to pay for a babysitter or make entertainment sacrifices for their kids' well being (Believe me, I have seen tiny kids dragged into PG-13 and R movies) is culpable. Every parent who lets their teenage son play violently graphic, and often pornographic, video games shares blame. And, heck, never mind the teenagers, my 10-year-old son has shared the titles of games his peers are allowed to play, and it is discouraging.

A long time ago a mother reached out on Facebook to ask advice. Her son wanted to buy a rated M game with his own money. Should she let him do it? She had reservations, but he certainly wasn't a little kid anymore.

I liked my sister's response to that question. She replied that her 17-year-old son was not even allowed to play rated M games, that games for teenagers were almost all off limits, too.

People might scoff at that (he's a teenager, for crying out loud), but I think we'd all be better off if our youth were not exposed to simulated battle with weaponry, crime and sex. If 10-year-old's are playing war games or games with morally reprehensible titles and themes, my friends, society has a lasting problem. Kids gain a skewed view of life and its value.

It's harder as kids get older. I get it. I've made mistakes. A huge one was letting my eldest boy read all the Harry Potter books and then watch the movies. My husband just stared at my during one of the movies to communicate, What the hell were you thinking? My fast-forwarding of certain scenes didn't alter my Man's disapproval. And my boy's teacher let us know she thought it was a little early for him to read the whole series. She was right, but, foolishly, I had agreed to let Berto read the first book, and it snowballed. Berto was already a reader like his Aunt Vinca or Uncle Nate, seeming to devour rather than read books, and I made my mistake.

And I worry in the evening when our oldest two have reading time that they can hear the cop/detective shows my husband and I are watching in the other room. "Turn it down a little. Turn it down a little..." I say. Maybe in our small home with our small children, we should give up these shows and their "good guys" with questionable methods for defeating the bad guys.


Let's stop patronizing movies filled with horror and brutality. Let's stop sending our kids off to play video games that corrupt their minds and their view of mankind and sexuality. Let's stop allowing our kids to watch so-called "children's cartoons" that are mindless, vulgar, obnoxious, have bizarre characters and no educational value in basic or social skills. Let's stop watching adult programming with our kids, thinking, oh, it's just a show - a funny show, a good show and start realizing that media can shift their moral compass. Let's stop saying anything goes in the name of ART! and ENTERTAINMENT! Let's boycott this sale of our collective conscience.

Let's talk to our kids more. Eat dinner at the table with no media whatsoever. Take them into nature alot more often. Teach them about God. Teach them how to be social animals face-to-face instead of screen-to-screen. Get back to the promise land of programming like PBS. Let us communicate our family values.

Let's try, for all that is good in the human race, so that when they see evil, crime and horror, our kids can cry; they can feel it deeply and want to combat it with love, light and justice.

Come on. We can do it. It may be damn hard, but I believe in us. I have hope. And so do you.

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