Facebook Repost 12/19/2012 – We Need Responsibility, Not Bans, With Violent/Graphic Media

This is a repost from Facebook on 12/19/2012.  It may be edited to fix spelling or grammatical errors.  It was used to post a link:  http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/video-games-violence-generation-blames-latest-media-expert/story?id=18009898#.UNGVhORQV8F

“I knew it was only a matter of time before THIS discussion showed up on some news channel…

I’ve had a lot of thought on this topic, as well as a lot of debate, over the years, and in some ways I’ve mellowed a little. I think, when you enjoy certain types of media, any thing saying something may be wrong with it is considered an offense and we go into attack mode. It’s also easy, until we look at other people, to forget how while the majority of people can handle things under normal circumstances, not everyone is capable of handling certain normalities in society. It’s also easy to ignore how many things that are unhealthy for our bodies and our minds have grown exponentially, or to look past how we’ve become not only as a society, but as individuals.

In spite of all of this, I can’t help but to stress the importance of what I’ve felt all along. You can only shelter your kids so much – some people simply lack the understanding or consideration not to play harmful stuff, such as movies, music and video games, in front of others It’s not yours or the government’s place to dictate stuff like that, as much as you may dislike it.

However, as more of us are becoming or have become parents, we have responsibilities to our kids, to raise them to be better, smarter, and more responsible as adults. This goes beyond those that have kids, as well – while it is okay to do as you please inside your home, anytime there’s kids present we should be conscious about what we enjoy and interact with in front of them. That doesn’t mean hiding everything – some things, like this shooting, children should know as much of the truth as they can understand. It does mean, though, that we probably shouldn’t let our 3-year-olds watch the news when they get graphic in descriptions of the events.

Violent or graphic media – gangsta rap, fighting/first-person-shooter games, horror movies – should not be banned, taxed or restricted because of some crazy people having a harmful effect to it, any more so than alcohol, cigarettes or food be banned because of the harmful effects they have on people. The same principle does apply to usage, though: there’s a difference between use and abuse. If you’re forcing your kid to eat apples and celery instead of Twinkies and McDonald’s, and you’re forcing them to either go outside or do homework before TV and Video Games, you probably are aware of this: Your 7-year-old probably is not ready to go from nursery rhymes to Tupac, your 10-year-old probably is not ready for “Call of Duty:Black Ops II”, and your 12-year-old might not be ready for the “Saw” series or “Schindler’s List”. I say “might” on the last one because if you’re lucky to have a perfectly healthy and stable kid, they might also be mature enough to handle both the blood and gore, as well as the adult content, of the series or film.

I can’t stress this enough: responsible parenting, not bans and restrictions, will make our society better, and will help to stop these sort of events. I’m adding, however, that this extends beyond the reach of the parent, to all adults: All of our actions are observed by kids, whether we like or want them to, whether we’re related or connected to them. What you do in the privacy of your home is with you – If you want to watch “Dirty Sluts on Parade in Nazi Land” in the privacy of your bedroom or after the kids go to bed, that’s fine. What you do in front of, or allow your kids to do, is a different matter.

You can’t control everyone else, but you can control what you do.”

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