We must accept on a certain level the strange new world in which we live: one in which young people spend more time planted in front of machines that deliver many, many ambiguous messages to them, instead of with friends and parents.
The dual subjects of gun control and media violence have been debated extensively and then mysteriously slipped from sight. We would do well to take a step back and review the basic facts about media violence and what professionals in the area of child medicine, psychiatry, and psychology have concluded.
An astonishing new phenomenon is now sweeping the nation: the turning of toddlers and preschoolers into consumers of media gadgets. Though many parents are major players in this social trend, there are good reasons for them to pause and contemplate what they are doing.
Young American females grow up in a kind of cultural vise. Immersion in the media is playing a crucial role in the childhood obesity epidemic. At the same time, the "ideal" body type thrown constantly before their eyes is that of the thin, almost gaunt female—an ideal hopelessly out of reach for most.
In a real sense, the zeitgeist in the early 21st century whispers to our kids to take care of themselves and ignore the community at large. We are living in changing times, an era of a poorly studied morality shift.
Modern sentiment regarding the holiday season still relies on the three virtues at the core of the ancient holiday spirit—giving, hope, and the innocent awe of the child—but moves them in troubling directions.
Why does the problem of daily gun deaths in America seeming so acceptable? Is it the centrality that violence plays in the American identity? We tend to see violence as a solution to problems. In fact many of our greatest heroes wield guns with epic precision.
With the recent avalanche of reporting after the death of the Australian baseball player out jogging on a residential road in Oklahoma and the arrest of one white and two black teenagers, we were quickly greeted with a media hysteria regarding an innocent white boy murdered by two blacks out of “boredom..."
Early exposure to sexually laden content and dangers—porn, predators, and propositions by prostitutes—are now common and easily accessible. Since all youths are curious about sex and yet their judgment is far from well-formed, there are reasons for deep concern on the part of both parents and the society as a whole.
Text messaging, Facebook and email are all working to elbow aside usual human communications. Because human relations are intense, confusing, demanding and ambiguous, humans may prefer connections wherein a certain polite distance is retained.
Over the past few decades, we’ve seen the media permeate deeply into children’s lives. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report sets the amount of media exposure for an average American child at eight hours per day, more time than with family or in school.
On Super Bowl Sunday in late January, millions of Americans gather in living rooms and family rooms, at bars and at local hangouts. They mingle, laugh and imbibe while a TV in their midst hums out the details of a football game, bifurcated by an entertainment extravaganza at half time, and punctuated by snappy commercials.
When parents try, often with my facilitation, to set limits on their kids’ access to the Internet, the children resist, usually mightily, even deviously. Pitched family battles break out, and threats and counter-threats ensue.
In my work with children and adolescents, I have seen a growing number of kids drifting into excessive absorption in the Internet. Though this behavior is not usually the primary reason for their first coming to see me, it soon surfaces as a nettling and contentious one.
The holidays have evolved to become synonymous with material consumption, especially by kids. Unsurprisingly, the situation often goes awry, with parents running up big bills, buying both their children and themselves lavish presents, which only forment in their kids unreasonable expectations.
Is it just a coincidence that the alleged Aurora theater shooter lived a life so inundated with violent media imagery? Or is there a causal connection? What is the link between the media and the alleged murders?