Protect Our Children by Limiting Media Exposure
Protecting your children is a parent's primary responsibility. Unfortunately many parents do not realize that they need to protect their children from the media. The television is a wonderful invention, but the things that are shown on it are not appropriate for many children. Even if the TV show itself is fine, the commercials bring up topics and show things that are not age appropriate for many children watching.
Think back to your childhood. The chances are good that you did not see people sleeping together or getting killed in commercials during your favorite football team's Saturday afternoon game. I don't need my seven year old asking what erectile dysfunction is when we are trying to watch a baseball game on TV. I don't want to have to explain to my five year old what birth control pills are and I don't want my eleven year old watching a murder play out in a commercial right before he goes to bed. Half the battle is in the advertising I have found.
I remember sitting with my oldest son a few years ago in the lunchroom during first grade. The boy next to him turned to his friend and said he wanted to have sex with a girl in his class. These kids were six year old! It turns out his parents watched "Sex in the City" each week with him in the room. He was exposed to a lot of things he shouldn't have been at age six. Parents please be careful what you watch on TV when your kids are around. When I watch TV I hold the remote and when commercials come on I change the station so they don't see the bad ones. I find frequently that even though the show is appropriate, the commercials are not.
Ratings are there for a reason. As parents it is our responsibility to adhere to them. I have seen toddlers in R-rated movies. Kids are very impressionable and seeing rated R things and hearing bad words does affect them and the way they behave. They are too young to understand it all, but they do know how to copy things they see and hear.
Many of my oldest son's friends are youngest children. This area gets sticky, even for me. While my oldest can handle something, his younger siblings certainly can't. But so many families let their youngest children do whatever it is their oldest children are doing, regardless of their age or what the video game is rated. Call of Duty Modern Warfare is rated mature for a reason. Do not let your young children play this. It plants the seeds of violence and killing at an age where they are too young to understand that this is not how real life is.
I realize that each child is different and some 12 year olds might be able to handle Call of Duty. That is up to the parent to make the decision of course, but please don't just automatically assume everything is fine. Find some good review sites and consider all the facts about the movie, television show or video game. Then consider your child and his mental development. Then make the best decision for your child. Keep in mind though the other children in the house. As my oldest has gotten older we have had to reserve certain things for when the other children are in bed at night. It is a juggling act at times, but protecting my children is my job.
It seems every year our kids grow up faster and faster in regards to what they are exposed to. Let's change this and start really paying attention to the media that our kids are watching and listening to. I bet you would be shocked at some of the stuff that kids these days are watching too.