Monday, February 4, 2013

Allowing Media Influence To Be The Death Of Responsibility: My Take

   Every once in a while I get some backlash from other people --sometimes parents, sometimes not -- about what I allow my daughter to watch, read, and play.
   "That's a bad influence" or "Aren't you worried about how that's going to affect her?" Um.... If I was would I let her be doing it? This really comes up especially about the gaming she does. She is a hardcore gamer. But here's the thing; she is also in advanced classes. She has tested for reading levels in Post-High School levels and she is in the 5th grade. She is above average in math as well. There are no discipline problems in school and she loves school. Absolutely loves it, which to me is mind-boggling, but don't think that I am arguing her out of that inclination. She was speaking in full-out sentences at the age of 2 and has continued to be a bright, eager-to-learn, engaging child. She is very social and has a lot of friends. So why should I start taking away privileges? Because the TV might take over her mind and make her commit random acts of violence? That is not how it works, people.
   Oh, I know, there are some of you shaking your heads and envisioning the horrors that are yet to come, but the thing is, even though blaming the media for undue influence on everything in our lives that is bad has become the thing to do, I never bought into that crap. And that's just what it is: it's crap. I watched plenty of cartoon violence, and let me tell you, I have yet to drop an anvil on somebody's unsuspecting head. I game and own all the gaming systems, and I have never been charged with any type of assault, or any other crime for that matter. I am also a zombie nut, and I read, watch, and play zombie themed media, and I haven't eaten any of you yet, nor do I consider people to be fine dining. You're all gross and I'm not hungry if you are what's on the menu. And you know what  -- every time Marilyn Manson's The Beautiful People song comes on -- I crank that shit up and sing along. Because you do not have to have a good singing voice (and I don't) to sing that shit and I can really rock out to that song.
   I know that this is tricky, because I can't deny that the media does have some influence on society, but people take this too far and start blaming the media for every bad thing they have ever done. Forget responsibility; the TV made me do it. We are allowing for a whole generation of shiftless blame-mongers who don't know how to take responsibility and accept the consequences for their actions.
   For example, I am a fluffy girl. Some people would just come out and say fat, but I like fluffy better. But am I that way because I watched to much Sesame Street and took the Cookie Monster as a role model? No; I'm that way because I decided food is delicious and I would rather eat more than I should than be skinny. That's on me. That's not on the damn TV, or the books I read, or the games I play, or the songs I listen to. (And I am actually happy with the way I look, so no work-out advice or health tips. You love you and I'll love me, and we're all good.)
   So do I worry that my daughter is going to go insane and do something terrible because of media influence? No. My daughter shows no signs of mental illness, and shows no tendency to violent actions, and if she ever does something horrible, I am going to be heartbroken, and sobbing buckets, as I drag her to the police station and turn her ass in. And I'll visit her on every day that I am allowed, but she will pay the consequences. Because people are responsible for their actions, and we have forgotten this. If you mess up, you pay your dues and take your punishment. And the blame is on you. Not someone who sang a song, or wrote a book, or made a game, or played a part on a TV show or movie.
    And you can bet that my daughter knows all this. We have had this talk. Because I am dead-serious, and blaming the media is the norm, and she needed to know that I don't buy that crap. I started teaching my daughter about responsibility at a young age, because although taking the responsibility for some of my own bad choices has included some of the hardest things I have ever faced, I have also become a better, stronger, and wiser person for paying my dues and making things right. By allowing the blame to be placed on everything and everyone but the person who makes the mistake, we are denying them the chance to learn and grow. And isn't learning and growing one of the points of life?