Since you last saw this column, there were two events that were dominant within the entertainment industry: the release of Grand Theft Auto IV and the publication of Miley Cyrus’ Vanity Fair photographs. My point is not to talk up Grand Theft Auto (though I could easily turn this into a weekly GTA blotter) or to judge Miley Cyrus. Rather, I see both these events as the perfect example as to why parents need reformed control over what their children see.
Many parents are outraged that the 15-year old Cyrus could be taking pictures like these. How dare their children be exposed to such racy trash. Grand Theft Auto is a given, as its potential violence alone can send a parent up a wall. But wait a minute, why is the child being exposed to this in the first place? Grand Theft Auto didn’t sprout legs and walk into your home. Nor did the television turn itself on to TMZ or the computer to Perez Hilton to show children Cyrus’ pictures.
While I will not argue that neither are the best examples for children, I have an issue with children being allowed to see such things yet parents not admitting that they are part of the problem. Granted, many reading this are not parents, but parental guidance is something people of our generation will be dealing with in the years to come.
This isn’t to say that all parents now are not putting forth effort to regulate what their children are exposed to. It’s just that the ones that are most vocal about it are complaining about their children seeing these sorts of things, which parents can easily block out if they give a little effort.
The media has changed quite a bit, so most parents are facing new issues. Videogame violence was not really an issue when they were younger (unless you’re an extremist that thinks Pac Man was some sort of barbarian), and while celebrity gossip was around, it certainly never reached the levels of today. But our generation is so involved with what’s going on today that it should be easier for us to weed out what our future children will see and not see.
For now, the parents of today just need to get a bit more involved. Parents don’t necessarily need to start gaming with their children, nor do they have to like what they are looking into. But if parents look into this stuff instead of simple hearsay, it would be beneficial. Explaining to a child why they can’t play this game or why they can’t see this picture will give better results than an outright ban “because I said so.” It’s all about the education of the issues rather than assumptions.
Our generation is learning now. Things may be a little different by the time we’re parents, and we’ll have to adapt. But for now, I think our generation has the best opportunity to take what we’re living through right now and apply our knowledge of it when trying to screen what our future children see. The more you know, the easier it is to deal with it.