Once again the media has caused much commotion with the upcoming edition of Rolling Stone Magazine. I have to agree with the disapproval, at least from the perspective of a parent.
Sure I can understand why Rolling Stone has chosen this cover and piece on the Boston Bomber – it will make money. And yes, I understand people want to try to understand this man and why he acted in such a way. Perhaps society wants to confirm or disconfirm their current opinion of the event. Who knows. Ultimately though this magazine will make money. That is why they have chosen this piece.
As a parent I am once again concerned for our children and disgusted by the bombardment of glorified and glamorized violence in the media. In the eyes of a child, even a teenager, the cover of a magazine is reserved for a select group of celebrities, models and overly wealthy people. Not to mention you get paid to be photographed. To a young person this is a very prestigious position, a pedestal. How conflicting is that?
According to the American Psychological Association, violence on television has an effect:
- Children may become less sensitive to pain and suffering of others,
- Children may be more fearful of the World around them, and
- Children may behave more in more aggressive and harmful ways toward others.
This is nothing new. Studies like this began in the 60’s and have continued again and again. And now we also have video games to consider. We know violence on television, in movies and video games is desensitizing. We know children and teens model this inappropriate behavior. Yet the media persists.
This is nothing new and we shouldn’t expect it to end.
Ghandi says, “Be the change you want to see in the World.” As parents it is up to us to make a difference in our child’s life. Don’t succumb to popular media and most important, be the example. I realize I say this about most everything, but truly it most always applies. Let your values shine through your actions. Your children will notice this.
I know it can be difficult to break the habit of watching television. In our house we have started by cancelling cable. We watch movies. I feel that this give me more control over the options and when we do decide to watch a movie it is an active process and decision rather than just flipping through channels and pausing on the best option (which really isn’t always that great).
Or try some of these other ideas as an alternative to television:
- Keep things like puzzles, board games, art supplies and books easily accessible and/or out in the open to encourage use.
- Help your child find a hobby. Younger kids will need a little direction sometimes, but once they find something they are passionate about children will search it out on their own. Try coin collecting, journaling, a junk journal.
- Join a club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H.
- Learn to play an instrument.
- Have your children help with household activities like chores and cooking. My little guys love to cook!
- Invest in a few outdoor activities like a jump rope, hula hoop, badminton set.
- Or, work on some of those Pinterest projects you have pinned but not yet gotten around to.
Do you have other ideas? I’d love to know, especially with it being summer and having extra time to fill.