So often I hear about confrontations between parents and their teens about video games, movies, TV shows and music. The parents are always telling their kids not to watch or listen to certain things. However, this is for everyone, these rules shouldn’t only apply to the teens.
During a conversation about this issue, where we were debating the merits / effects of watching and listening to certain material I was asked the following question. ‘If someone was being raped in your living room would you watch it for entertainment?”
At first I was shocked at the question, but almost immediately it made me consider what we watch for entertainment in a completely different light. Now, I know some of you are going to say, c’mon Tim, it isn’t real, it’s only a movie, a video game and TV show or a song, get over it already!
In some capacity I would agree with you, BUT in today’s world the violence, sex and situations are becoming more real, graphic and frequent all the time. Before we know it we can be exposed to a non stop stream of negative images: animation, TV shows, movies, music, video games and the news all provide an almost limitless source of these influences. I’m not saying there is never any merit in watching something the contains violence or other potentially disturbing situations. It is a reality of the world we live in. However, the questions to ask yourself are: why are you watching it, what is entertaining you and how will it affect you?
Do you realize that once we see an image or hear something we cannot erase it from our minds. It is there, it has made a foot print in our minds. Seeing / hearing something once may not leave a lasting impact, like footprints in the sand, the one set of tracks may fade and eventually be barely noticeable (if you’re lucky). However, if you continually expose yourself to violent, sexual or other disturbing materials the foot prints they leave behind will become like a well worn path. No longer will they easily fade from your mind but instead will leave a path easy for you to find and follow.
Watching and listening to violent, sexual or other negative things DOES affect your attitude. The negative influences are so continuous it makes the behavior more acceptable. It doesn’t matter if it is: a show where friends and family constantly disrespect each other; a song with violence or sexual content or violent movies and video games. Don’t believe that because it isn’t “real” that it won’t affect you. The more you watch and listen to something the more acceptable it becomes to you. Garbage in…garbage out.
Here’s something to think about.
Why is this entertainment? Killing for the sake of killing. Being rude, mean and disrespectful to each other. Watching images of violence and gore. Would it be entertainment for you to sit in your living room and have these things really happening to real people right in front of you? Parents, if you wouldn’t let your kids watch it why are you watching it? Kids, if it were real, would you think it is funny, acceptable or the right thing?
You’re Not Alone!