Sept. 18, 2012 — As a mother of a young boy, it is very important to me that he grows up to be a respectful young man. Having a foul mouth and a load of aggression are two things I will not tolerate.
Unfortunately, every parent will no doubt deal with these qualities at one point during their child’s youth — especially if you are raising a testosterone-filled boy.
As parents, we spend countless hours teaching our children the proper way to behave. We strive to help them get value out of their lives. Not every person shares the same parenting methods however, and raising a child in such a diverse society can often be difficult.
Growing up in the 20th and 21st centuries, when values seemed to be changing the most, I had the opportunity to learn from both ends of the spectrum; I was a ‘90s child and a millennium teenager.
I grew up playing games such as Barbie’s Dreamhouse, and Mario Brothers. I had a set limit on television watching and enjoyed shows such as, “Clarissa Explains It All” and “The Brady Bunch.”
Sure that wasn’t the only entertainment I was exposed to. I was not allowed to watch Power Rangers or play games like Duke Nukem. Why? Because they were violent.
The ‘90s introduced young people to many shows and games that would have caused parents in previous decades to flip their lids.
Today, violence and disrespect in entertainment is the norm, and honor and discipline have been thrown aside.
Despite the “fun” this type of entertainment offers, the effect this has had on society has not been a positive one. Take, for instance, the July 20 mass shooting during the Batman premiere at a theater in Aurora, Colo.
The shooter, a 24-year-old male who was dressed in armor and a gas mask, killed 12 people and injured 58 others. According to a story by CNN, he colored his hair red and told police officers he was “the Joker.”
In 2007, 16-year-old Daniel Petri repeatedly shot both parents, killing his mother and wounding his father, after they grounded him from the popular first-person shooter game “Halo 3.”
In 2004, a 13-year-old boy committed suicide after playing World of Warcraft (WoW) for 36 solid hours. According to Fox News, he left a suicide note saying he wanted to "join the heroes of the game he worshipped."
These are only a few examples of the horrific affects sight can have on the heart.
Eighty percent of the most popular video games are geared toward aggressiveness and violence. In 20 percent of those games, women are the targets for many violent acts.
Rick Dyer, video game creator and president of Virtual Image Productions, once said, “These are not just games anymore. These are learning machines.”
“We’re teaching kids in the most incredible manner what it’s like to pull the trigger ... What they’re not learning are the real-life consequences.”
The subject on violence in entertainment is still much in debate.
Some studies suggest those affected are already prone to violence, and outbursts cannot be attributed to the degree of violence in video games or television programming.
Other studies have shown a direct correlation between violence in entertainment and aggressive behavior in children.
In his book, “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill,” (Crown Publishers, New York, 1999), physiologist and Lt. Col. David Grossman argued the ability to kill someone is not an inherent trait, but rather, has to be taught by repeated exposure to violence. He referred to violent video games as murder simulators.
It is often said children are like sponges; they soak up everything and anything they are exposed to.
By exposing children to entertaining forms of violence, whether it is on television or in a video game, they are being conditioned to attribute violence to fun.
Just as a child develops immunity to germs and disease, a child can also develop immunity to violence and crime. With continued interaction, a violent video game can lead to desensitizing a child.
Children learn by example. Violent games and shows can send the wrong message to children and set bad examples to follow.
A study published in the March 2010 issue of the Psychological Bulletin, an American Psychological Association journal said, “Exposure to violent video games increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior in both short-term and long-term contexts. Such exposure also increases aggressive thinking and aggressive affect, and decreases pro-social behavior."
We can only shelter our children so much before they choose their own paths in life. With the amount of filth available and the easy access to it, efforts made by parents to shield their children from it are almost futile.
The threat this entertainment has posed on civilized society is daunting to say the least.
The solution to protecting our children does not lie in the flawed Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating system. In this system, as morals decrease, ratings change — even if the content remains the same.
The solution could be found if the government would take a stand against such games and provide a more reliable means to keeping them out of the hands of minors.
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