Monday, November 30, 2009

Kick a Ginger Day Horror

red hair After reading Kick a Ginger Day: One Mom’s Horrifying Account and seeing news accounts on TV, I was also horrified. For some reason I couldn’t get it off my mind. Of course, this leads to a discussion of sorts with my husband over breakfast which really is more of a rant.

Apparently a group on Facebook who was inspired by a South Park episode encouraged kids to beat up others who had red hair and freckles. At one school a 12 year old boy was surrounded by a group of 15 others (some were even his classmates) like a pack of wild animals and attacked him. They took him down and kicked him repeatedly.

This is just more evidence on how what our children watch can influence them. There is so much violence and profanity on television now that I think our children are desensitized to it. They think it is so cool to do these kinds of things. Even worse, many of these shows are showing that the “bad guy” gets away with it.

I have watched an episode of South Park once and swore that I would never watch that again. But apparently enough people watch this so they get advertising and continue to broadcast. I was horrified with the disrespect these characters use to interact with others. How can parents allow their children to watch this garbage?

At first I thought that this type of stuff should be banned from the airwaves! Of course my husband disagreed (amazing that we got married since we don’t agree on a lot of things but I guess after 30 years of togetherness, I should be glad we agreed on the important things!). He felt that censorship is “big brother-ish.” When I calmed down, I had to agree but something needs to be done. Parents need to monitor what their children are watching. If people don’t watch certain programs, their ratings go down, advertisers won’t pay for advertising and these programs will go away.

What happened to those great family shows? They don’t seem to make them anymore. I remember my children watching Little House on the Prairie, Eight is Enough, Our House, and Touched By An Angel. Those were great wholesome shows that a family could watch together and even talk about. Even now I tend to watch the Hallmark channel a lot because those shows just make me feel good about the world and others.

I watch a lot of TV shows now that my children are grown up but I don’t think I would have watched these shows with them. There is so much violence and blood in shows like CSI, Law and Order SVU, NCIS, and other shows like this. I didn’t let my children see those horror movies that “everyone else” got to see. I didn’t let them watch TV shows that “everyone else” got to watch. Maybe I was a fuddy-duddy (do they still use that phrase?) but I felt it was my responsibility as a parent to set these limits.

I hope some of these parents with young children will start to wake up and realize that they have a responsibility. It is time to say no to these movies and shows. It’s time to tell our children no. They do not need to watch these shows and encourage their continuing influence. They do not need to do what “everyone else” does because, let’s face it, not “everyone else” really does it!

Okay, I will get off my soapbox now. I just got so upset with this story and it all boiled over. Now, tell me what do you think? Do you let your children watch these types of things? If so, convince me why I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m not sure you can but I’ll keep an open mind.

Original image: 'Little Redheaded Boy at the Atlanta Zoo' by: Steven List


GingerLewman said...

On the other side of the coin (which is where I guess I reside most days), my parents never let me watch shows like, and in particular, Little House on the Prairie. They felt that the shows were preaching morals at us and they didn't feel that was the job of the TV.

But the point is still there: they didn't let us watch shows they disagreed with.

I think too many parents allow kids to grow up with Disney as the baby sitter and just transfer it over to regular TV as the kids get older. The fault lies with parenting, not with the TV shows. I for one have watched many, many episodes of South Park and have never gone to kick a red-headed kid because I'm an adult and know better. Those shows are *not intended* for kids.

Don't blame the TV. We can get even worse online. Blame the poor parenting skills.

Lisa Parisi said...

I totally agree, Ginger. I do let my daughter watch just about anything. But we talk about it. Of course she tells me she is not dumb enough to do what they do on tv and I should stop lecturing her about it but I keep going anyway.

It is all about the parenting. And how awful that 15 kids weren't taught to stand up for someone being attacked.

Mike Rush said...

Hey Pat,
I'm saddened and appalled, but I'm also right there with you. The breakdown of the family includes neglect to filter television and maybe everything else.

I'm also with the first two responders. Humans raise children and teach core values. That's where the problem lies. do we combat this at school? We certainly can't ignore it. Thanks for posting this.

Mike Teacher Food

Bill Gaskins said...

I was sad and appalled when heard the story and now after reading your post. Parents have to be the gatekeeper of what our kids hear, do, and watch. As parents our senses have to be on guard no matter how tired we are.

No doubt media influences our kids and the fact media is not part of the school curriculum. Digital literacy and other literacies continue to be ignored by public education.

I could go on.....


Rob Parsons said...

I'm in complete agreement about parental responsibility, and about teaching children to be savvy media watchers. And we all need to take responsibility for the bystander reaction - it's not just children who do that.

I'm not convinced about how much the media influence us though. It's undoubtedly complex, and not all one way. A good way to look at it is to reverse things. back in the days when we were watching the Waltons, Little House, the Dick van Dyke Show, Bewitched and all that saccharine stuff - I'm going back to the sixties - my youth - can't speak for anyone else - there were places in the USA where black people could not sit in the front of buses, and where it was deemed acceptable to lynch *uppity niggers". Women were demeaned and patronised; men regularly got away with rape because "women really want it even when they say no they mean yes". Homosexuals went in frear of being outed, Jews were afraid of being attacked on the streets... I could go on, but you get the picture.