With all the films and graphic gaming visuals available today, people have become so desensitized to violence that they consider it normal, expected and entertaining. When did we reach the point in which the degradation of our own humanity was entertaining? When did we lose touch with shows like the Brady Bunch, the Love Boat and other shows that focused on human relationships. Certainly detective shows have been around a long time, their mystery being the intrigue, the violence in detective/police shows today seems to me, over the top and completely unnecessary. Video games are fostering a real hunger for violence and a disassociation from our human capacity to feel and care for one another.
In the western world, it would be totally unacceptable to hand a child a real gun, however, a virtual one is totally acceptable. The mind knows no difference between what is real from what is not real. To it, it's all real, and so is the feeling that comes from the joy of killing someone just for fun. Is this what we want to foster in us and in our children? In my circle of friends, nine year olds have been given games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Parents justify it by saying, 'all their friends are playing it' or ' I don't want my child to be left out' or ' I've removed the blood and foul language from the game' or ' it's not real, they know it'... I've heard many excuses from parents for not standing up and being decisive. If you treat your child's mind as fertile soil, you'll see that the seeds you plant will grow. If you give them unchecked violent imagery, then you are in effect, seeding that mindset and possibly fueling aggressive behaviour.
It's your choice, as a parent to make the decisions that will impact your child. Why not make positive choices that inspire cooperation, respect and human kindness. Why not water that seed?
First, you must look at your own fertile soil. What has been planted there? Can you change the seeds and turn it into the rich ground you want it to be? Today's PG ratings were yesterday's R ratings. The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Batman, to name a few fantasy films, present story lines that aim to resolve conflicts through violence. In fact, I find it extremely difficult to find a movie to watch with my son that does not have a war theme. There are some exceptions, Happy Feet, Dolphin Tale, but these are few and most kids don't want to watch them because they lack action (violence).
In today's films, I find the plots basically the same; there is a problem, a villain (s) and a violent outcome. War, battle, are marketed as entertaining, justifiable, while other forms of resolving conflicts are not portrayed. Surely, there can exist other types of plot lines that people would enjoy? Hollywood considers this the recipe for good entertainment. But have they surveyed the population to know this or do they base it on box office results? Where are the alternative plots from which we can choose from? I checked the movie listings today I found these titles: A Good Day to Die Hard, Argo, Beautiful Creatures and Escape from Planet Earth. All these movies share a the common theme involving action and violence. Through these constant and prevalent messages, young children are being taught to disregard the rights of others and accepts violence as justifiable and necessary.
It is time to change these messages, and it is imperative that as a civilization we stop supporting these violent methods of resolving conflict. It is through cooperation and problem solving that we are going to evolve as a species. When do we begin to teach ourselves and our children that conflicts aren't resolved by blowing someone's head off? We need to begin to recognize violence as an addiction which needs to be healed. Make the right choice, choose to see movies like Revolution, The Lorax, and Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown. Look at YouTube and use key words such as 'awakening, consciousness, ancient history to name a few themes. Only by awakening yourself, will you be able to awaken others. Reduce TV watching (if not eliminate it altogether). Here are some suggestions to overcome the power of addictive media violence:
• Stop watching the news (It favours violent news over anything else. Find alternative news channels online. All mainstream news stations are owned by 5 companies)
• Choose movies that convey important messages ie: see Mother Nature Network
• Refuse to watch movies that depict violence as a form of conflict resolution
• Foster a healthy perspective on viewing the world by discussing the movie afterwards; challenge the way problems were resolved in the film
• Engage in more real life activities. (Building things is healing and stimulating)
• Create art pieces, post them in the home, dance, play games... celebrate creativity
Understand the power the media has over the mind, how it hypnotizes, lures and influences. Save your most precious commodity, your mind. Feed it healthy ideas and see yourself and the ones you love blossom into more happier and peaceful human beings.