I won’t talk too long. I am enjoying watching the baseball game, too. I will celebrate with everyone in Boston, if we win. Many of us love watching athletes win for our own town. And, I will talk for one moment. Families were put in an impossible dilemma tonight. Do I let my child enjoy seeing their team competing for the World Series Title or protect them from graphic violence?
Many families were willing to let their kids give up a few hours of sleep. It is only one day. Well, Halloween might make it two late nights but in our area we have Friday off from school for an in-service anyway. I am going to guess, however, that many families would NOT have actively chosen to have their age children watch the commercials tonight.
Yes, we expect the car commercials; and, it was nice not to see a ton of alcohol commercials. BUT, there was a very disturbing sequence of ads throughout the game for graphic and violent video games from wars and deaths to childish violence with cartoon characters. There were also ads for mixed marital arts fighting -that was one of the earliest commercials. What were the advertisers thinking? “Let’s be careful not exclude those 5 through 8 year olds that might not be exposed to adults fighting violently in mock realism. We will lose our corner of the market!”
I wish we did not need laws for adults who organize events and sell stuff to make common sense decisions. This invasion of violence in our homes tonight all happened within days of research being released to show that very very young children are spending even more time with electronic media. Not even physicians are adhering to their own advice and social and developmental science. See the link to work done by Common Sense Media presented by NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/10/29/228125739/what-to-know-about-babies-and-screen-time-kids-screens-electronics. We need the laws to keep those of us who do protect our kids from being forced to see this stuff. We don’t have the common sense laws. Many of the laws that we did have to protect children from adult sales pitches have been dismantled. If you are curious spend some time at the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.
The vivid images of assaults and death and explosions that were forced before our children’s eyes and our eyes without warning bother me a lot. Can you imagine the public outrage if a fight like the one on the screen in your living room actually happened at Fenway? We would all react but when it is on a device, it is all different. Well, not really. We have decades of creative, careful, and strong research to show that for children, youth, and even adults exposure to violence — even make believe violence has negative consequences. Adults are just better at negotiating the harm.
Be horrified. Be clear with your children. Stop the media from turning violence into entertainment with your wallet and with your time.
I will be back soon! The holidays are approaching. We need to talk about play and toys.