Parenting

Children and Media Influence: Sex, Violence, and Negativity Is The New Normal

Today’s generation of kids have it harder than ever. There is so much negativity in this world, and it is glorified to a point where kids are growing up thinking it’s normal to see violence, sex, profanity, drugs and other negative behavior in the every day mainstream of our society. The media influence on children is at a negative all time high, it’s not helping.

 

kids little girls on apple computer

 

And then, I watched the MTV VMA music awards. Oy.

I don’t watch very much tv, but I do occasionally enjoy watching MTV and BET awards shows for the performances. But the one last night? No. Miley Cyrus has me thinking twice about ever wanting to watch any more awards shows with my kids in the room. After her performing her own song on last nights VMA’s, she stripped down to a nude bra and panty set, appearing naked, and pranced around the stage, doing various illicit dances, crotch grabs, used a foam finger as a sexual prop, and grinding another male singer. On stage. In public. This is bedroom behavior, not for the public eye. Quite the train wreck.

And guess what? Some people were disgusted, but the audience LOVED it.

This was probably one of the better moments of the performance. I refuse to post the rest of the images:

 

Miley Cyrus MTV VMAs 2013

photo: KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE FOR MTV

 

How many parents were thinking, “Gosh, I hope her mother and father are not watching this”? Also, how many of us were thinking about turning off the show? I sure was.

I realize that Miley is now an adult, and that she’s going to do whatever she wants to. But she’s a young adult, who will learn from her choices. She has a high power of influence on other young adults, and on children as well. She was the star of a hugely popular kids’ show. “Twerking”, a way of sexually suggestive dancing, has become an epidemic amongst our youth, one of which Miley has become known for in recent years. Does she really feel that she needs so much public attention that she’s willing to get it in any way? Why? And at what point did it become acceptable for the media to televise such actions?

girl watching tv clip artLook at all of the things that matter to our youth these days: The latest popular possessions. Superficial relationships. Looking for attention in the wrong ways. Running with the crowd. How is it possible to raise our young kids in a society where fitting in is so important that people are obsessing over clothes and shoes, what celebrities are doing,  trying the latest drugs, and are overly concerned about how many people are liking their Instagram photos, the less clothes, the better? Do you think they care this much about excelling school work, sports, and other hobbies? How can we validate our kids without them feeling the need to fit in?

When I was young, it was not widely acceptable to prance around half naked and promote it for attention. You would not happily share details about your sex life to the world, nor would you see people simulating the act of sex in a public setting. Drug use was very no-no, and although we knew some people used them, it was not publicly popularized and deemed ‘ok’ among teens and young adults. I remember people bringing weed and alcohol to school when I was in 7th grade. I didn’t touch it, I knew not to. Could you imagine the amount of kids who do try it, just because someone at school had it? I feel like we are becoming a desensitized society, everything our children are being exposed to as they grow up just seems to be the “way of life”, and I am not ok with that.

How did our society get to a place where we glorify the negative? Why is it mainstream to be so sexualized, so soon? Why is it acceptable for our sexuality to be so public? People are idolizing rappers, celebrities, athletes and other popular figures who promote gangs, drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, rebellious behavior, flawless looks and a flashy lifestyle. This is not realistic for most people in every day life, yet the media promotes it as so and we strive to get there. When we can’t attain this, we feel less than. In the end, violence, vulgarity, promiscuity, divorce, and other negativity is more widely accepted, front and center, and people love it. Why do we get to a point where we care so much about what others think? The views we learn at a young age tend to carry throughout life as an adult.

Honestly, this post is not about Miley. She was merely the medium, showing us what our society has come to and what we will accept. I think that kids generally don’t want to be ‘bad’, but lots of them will fall victim to doing anything that looks fun, gains attention and seems rewarding. Also, people tend to get to a point where they want to take the easy way out of a negative situation instead of facing reality, hence the negative behavior. I want to be sure that my kids know they do not have to run with the crowd to feel accepted, no matter how enticing it may seem. The media is definitely NOT helping. There will always be a few bad seeds, I just don’t want my children to be one of them. All I can do is serve an open, active role in my kids’ lives, keeping them involved in positive activities and hope for the best.

 

How do you keep your kids in line the pressures of society and the media’s influence?

 

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2 Comments

  • I definitely monitor what my kids what and who they are around. As they get older, I’m finding more positive things for them like sports, church activities, etc to keep them busy and to teach them good morals and values. I also think with older kids it helps for us as parents to be open about some of the bad choices we made and how those choices negatively impacted our lives.

    • Yes, that’s a great approach. I monitor what my kids watch too, but we can’t keep everything in the dark. Sports and hobbies are huge to keep kids focused!

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