Friday, November 8, 2013

The Importance of Being Prudent

Parenting is a contact sport. You don't get a second opportunity to shape your children into creative, independent, law-abiding adults. The old idiom you can't unring a bell is especially true with our youth. Once they have been exposed to a word, an image, a situation, they can't un-see it.

I can't begin to estimate the number of  books I've read,  TV shows and movies I've previewed, and  video games I've researched with this in mind. While I've come away from this experience with a healthy appreciation for toilet humor, and YA fiction--Minecraft still baffles me, even though I find it very clever (no hate mail, please)--I have also come to a sobering, albeit not unexpected, conclusion: Not all entertainment geared toward children is actually appropriate for them.

No, I'm not naïve enough to believe everyone shares my standards, especially those responsible for rating books, television, games, and movies for our children. If there is anything wrong with our society, it stems from the absolute lack of outrage over this. I find that most people really don't care, for example, that sexual content is being pushed on today's youth at the pre-teen level (ages 9-12).

I recently read the first three books in a popular YA series-turned-movie-franchise. While the books are clearly geared to the YA market, the movie appeals to a much younger audience, which, as any self-respecting Harry Potter fan knows, generates an interest in the books. Hunger Games is a good example of this. While the movie might be deemed appropriate for a pre-teen (It certainly appeals to my pre-teen), the books are, in my opinion, too violent for a ten-year-old.

The series I just previewed with this in mind, is chock full of sexual innuendo and situations, which are too mature for the children to whom this movie is being marketed, whether intentionally or not. Books and movies are not always interchangeable.

My point is this: parents had better be careful about what their children are absorbing. Violence and blatant sexuality are slippery slopes for pre-teens, which can lead to violent and inappropriate behavior. It is time for parents to go back to being parents and guard their children's hearts and minds while their sphere of influence still surrounds them. I promise they will thank you for it in the end.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Melissa

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