Through the last few generations as we’ve relaxed our parental controls and seen a decline in moral behavior is it any wonder our children are taking things to the next level. A recently released study from the Parents Television Council found that female and male anatomical terms are used eight times more frequently now then during the 2002 television viewing season. The use of this language isn’t just on cable and it isn’t dominated by one network over another. CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC all have prime-time shows moving further in this direction. Shows use the terms sparingly, if at all, at one time for shock value. Now the terms are used for humor on comedy shows and to encourage ratings. Mainstream TV is pushing for even looser reins on language and nudity. We’ve all bought into the saying that sex sells, so to sell more you’ve got to add more sex. Without greater control or at least a toning down is it any wonder kids are hooked on sexting through their cell phones and using their computers to distribute explicit information about themselves and others.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the young teen in Sanford, Florida gunned down by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer. More details will be forth coming as to the true events that took place that fateful day, but the events that resulted in the tragic death of the 15 year old still revolve around the fear of youthful activities and something as common place and innocent as a “Hoodie” sweatshirt. Regardless of whether the events were the result of a misunderstanding, an unlawful shooting or an act of self defense they were put into motion by the current affairs of the day. Those types of events are going to become more common place as children show up in schools with guns, acting out their frustrations in public and become what they see, hear and are exposed to through our multi-media environment.
I would prefer not to editorialize or rant about such dark issues that play on readers emotions, but if we don’t start displaying some outrage and demand a return to civility I fear we will only see more of these events in our future and even closer to home. In the grand scheme of things, these events, I hope somewhere in the future, will appear as a minor speed bump during a tumultuous period of time, but if we don’t begin to react today things will get worse before they get better.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org