Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TV VIOLENCE AND YOUR CHILDREN

By: Tony Fowler

I remember the days when the violence controversy on TV was Wiley Coyote getting blown-up, flattened and buried over and over again as he unsuccessfully tried to make the Roadrunner his dinner.

Surprisingly enough, I have heard people use violence on cartoons as a reason to downplay the current violence on TV. It's crazy, but we'll use illogical arguments if they help relieve our own conscience.

So what is the big deal about violence on TV? It's just make-believe. Most kids know it is all make-believe. Sure there are rare examples of kids copying the violence they see and hurting other people.

Photographer: Ian Britton, Freetfoto.com


However, a case could be made that those troubled kids would have acted violently with or without exposure to violence on TV.

I'm not a psychologist. If you want psychological proof, there are plenty of studies that show that violence on TV negatively affects our children.

However, I am a parent and common sense tells me there is a problem with the level of violence on TV today.

Our brains take pictures of everything we see. Once we see it, it's there forever. We may forget it way back in our subconscious but its there. Remember the horror movies you've seen. Close your eyes and picture the violent scenes. Does that bring back happy memories? Are those the thoughts you want prancing through your head as you go to sleep tonight?

The problem is that the violence on TV does much more than leave your child with scary pictures and nightmares. It makes your child immune to the tragedy of violence, which leads to the loss of compassion for the real violence in this world. If I'm not a psychologist, how do I know this? Because it happened to me.

Growing up I watched just about anything I wanted. Violence on the news was just as artificial to me as violence on my favorite TV shows. My heart did not break when I saw tragedy around me. It was as surreal as prime-time TV.

A couple of years ago we made a decision to not have any TV (cable, satellite or network) in our house. You can kid yourself as a parent but the truth is that if you have cable TV, your kids are going to watch shows you do not want them to watch.

My wife and I have noticed now that we are much more sensitive to tragedy in the news and the plight of those in our world not sheltered like we are in suburbia. Our heart breaks more for those in need. Real life has become more real.

This is what TV can steal from your children. Not just with violence but with sex and off-color humor as well. If your children are immersed in pseudo life-like make believe, they'll lose their heart to care for reality.

Let's not fill our children's minds with what is violent and hurtful. Let's fill our children's minds with what is true, honorable, just, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


About the author:

Tony Fowler of Seeking Things Above, works as an executive in a large computer company. He is married to a wonderful woman and has 4 "awesome kids".

I was enchanted of how he described himself so I decided to copy an excerpt instead of his "about me" page from his blog:

Start of excerpt:

"Now you know everything you need, right?



Let me dig a little deeper and see if I can stretch my machismo a bit and give you little more. After all, on most of these blog pages I’m bearing my soul; why not provide a little more insight on the famous “About Me” page.

My name is Tony but then I already told you that. I’m an executive of a large private computer company. I don’t do any programming (hence the struggles with finding a good blog template and no clue how to get Google to see my blog) but I do get to help think of really cool stuff for our programmers to work on.

I try to make God the priority in my life. I often fail miserably at this but I pick myself up and keep on seeking. I have a beautiful wife and I don’t mind if I told you that twice now. We’re going on 12 years of marriage and I love her more each year. She’s a great Christian sister as well and we work to keep each other accountable.

Our kids are all less than two years apart in age. Three of them are home-schooled with the fourth ready to start next year. I don’t know if we will home-school all the way through high school for each of them. We’ll be counting on God to guide us on this as we go.

I’m an Aggie (Texas A&M former student for those of you outside of this great state). This means I love Aggie football which means I usually have my share of heartaches each fall. However, each year I bounce back ready to give it another go.

I’ve felt called to write biblical social commentaries on the net since the internet first became popular. However, until the advent and popularity of blogging and social networking I never had the time or technical know-how to make it happen."

I don’t know if God will use my blogs to touch anyone. However, that’s not my concern to worry about. I’ll just blog and let God take care of the rest."

End of excerpt:

Well said Tony, I am highly appreciative of Tony 's desire to contribute his article to this blog.

People like him are gems on the face of the earth. Men who deeply care about others and who have a burning desire to spread the good word. May your tribe increase, Tony!

Accept my heartfelt gratitude.

4 comments:

Jenaisle said...

Tony, I guess, I will have to initiate the comments. It is a very well written post. I like most especially your last statement about how God will do the rest. Let's just be patient. Patience is a virtue. I'm sure several readers have notice your article.

Happy blogging!

Jenaisle said...

I mean: HAVE NOTICED , your article.

tashabud said...

I agree with Jena, this is a well written post. It really touched on the human core values being affected. Constant exposure to TV sex and violence do make us immuned to actual tragedies. I take myself, for example. There was a short period in my life when seeing tragedies after tragedies of any sort on tv, made me not care as much as I used to. How can I care any more or less, say, for the plight of the earthquake victims in China, hurricane Katrina victims in Louisiana, warring victims in Darfur, and so on and on. Each one of those is so tragic, but seeing them on tv all the time, I felt less sensitive and start thinking that well, it's part of our lives; we just have to deal with them or they just have to deal with them. I can't help all of them, and so I closed my eyes and just entrusted their fates to God. The personal accounts coming out from all the victims are the same. The victims in Darfur are no more or less in bad situations as the ones in Myanmar, for example. I know I went off the main talking points, but I believe that the analogy is the same. In conclusion, I do agree with Tony Fowler's assessment that seeing too much violence on tv makes us immuned, less sensitive, and less caring people. I haven't been watching too much tv lately. So now, when I heard the tragic news about the flooding in Iowa and the murder of two innocent girls, they affected me deeply. I don't know if this is a very good idea, since I'm a very sensitive and caring person by nature.

Jenaisle said...

Thanks Tasha for taking the time to comment and for supporting our campaign.