Apply the rules you would apply to your child. If my children are not conducting themselves properly even after being told and warned, I would think of harsh measures to amend the situation. I would probably take away their privileges one by one, from grounding to cutting allowances, and put them under pressure to realize the mistake they are committing. This is what most parents would do in the interest of their children.
If these rules are good for your kids, who are most dear to you, they are definitely good for people who are selling violent media content to your kid/s.
The issue is to discover what is dear to Johnny and to take away those privileges. Don’t ever forget that Johnny is enjoying these privileges in the first place because you gave it to him. As long as you support him, he is in control. Without your support, financial and viewing, he would cease to exist. He is there because you recognize him. And it is tragic that we never bothered to exercise our power to rectify the situation and the time to do that is now.
Let us see how we can execute this and let us look at television, the maximum time snatcher of our kids.
The official starting date for television in the United States was 1939 when the Federal Communications Commission issued the first broadcast license on July 1, 1941. The first licenses were issued for commercial television stations (not public broadcasting) to sell goods and service, while providing entertainment. The primary thrust of the TV medium in United States was to sell advertisement rather than being a vehicle for informing, enlightening or broadening horizons. The United States is the only industrialized country spending as little as $1.09 per person on public broadcasting compared to Japan $17.71, Canada $32.15 and United Kingdom $38.56.
So the commercial stations rule in United States. Their sole aim is to maximize the return on investment (ROI). And a major source of their revenue is advertisement. The only way to generate and multiply the revenue is to keep the audiences glued to their programs. And that is achieved through violence and sex in promos and programs. What impact it has on kids or how it would hurt them, what moral or ethical values it will impart is of no consequence to the people who produce and exhibit it. The only objective is to generate cash flow and earn profits.
Don’t these people understand that it is not the right thing to do? Yes, they do understand. Some of them are parents too. They know what they are churning out is garbage and full of immoral values, but their first loyalty lies with their jobs. They are paid to sell and generate revenue and profits for the company they work for. They are concerned about the program ratings, sponsors and related ad revenue. They are concerned about selling and selling it aggressively. They are not concerned about what adverse impact it has on the physical/mental health or social and moral fabric of the young and growing minds.
At the end of the day it all boils down to Cash Flow.
Let me go back to the airline industry example I gave you earlier. After the September 11 tragedy, we were scared of traveling by air. We looked at alternate transport to reach our destinations or postponed our trips. With this decision, we practically brought down the passenger airline industry across the country. Let me explain how this is related to cash flow:
Most of us stopped buying air tickets because we were scared to travel by air;
Airline operators could not sell bulk of the air tickets and ran into cash crunch situation;
But they had obligations to meet periodic commitments – such as Payroll, lease payments, loan repayments, interest, maintenance and other costs;
Whatever cash they had dried up soon and financial institutions and banks were not willing to advance them because they were not sure when the passengers would return;
The airline industry had no choice but to look for government support to stay afloat;
Airline operators, who were unable to get government or bankers support, could not stay in business;
All this because we refused to fly and did not part with our cash to airline operators for roughly a month;
As we stopped parting our cash (airfare) they ran into no cash flow situation and could not operate.
Although the above was not a conscious decision made by consumers, we can make a conscious choice in the case of violence in media and implement a similar drop in takings.
Tell your kids that they are not watching any violent content on the tube and that they should switch it off at the first sign of violence. If they don’t do it, turn it off for them.
If we switch off the violent programs targeted at children, the program would have fewer viewers. Without reasonable viewers there would be no sponsors for the program. That means no ad revenue for the broadcasters. Broadcasters would not touch a program if it had no viewers. There would be no investment on the programs they cannot sell. Producers eventually will have no choice but to change their approach or stop producing programs with violent content targeted at children.
Spend your time evaluating the games your kids are buying/renting. Look for rating and read the literature or watch with your kids the first time. If you think it is too violent, return it for a refund and make it a rule that your kids cannot buy/rent such videogames even with their own money. Implement a total ban on violent videogames. Accept no arguments, particularly with violent videogames.
Refuse to pay for movies targeted at children with violent content. You have to put your foot down if they are spending their own money on such movies.
Refuse to buy/rent violent video (including violent music videos). The same rule as above applies. They cannot use their own money to buy/rent it. Period.
Internet: Declare that they cannot use Internet for free violent games, music video and movies. Configure content safety levels on your computer with password. Watch them, watch them and watch them.
If we can do this we have hurt the cash flow of people who are in to the game of producing violent media content. They would have no choice but to change their approach.
Don’t budge and buckle on the issue with your kid/s in implementing above. Don’t ever think you are harsh to your kid/s. You are doing the right thing. Never have any doubts that you could be wrong. You are not. If you have any doubts, please re-read Part I.
We can make no progress on this without parents’ participation. Remember you are the only person in this world who can make this change. Your kid/s needs help and only you can help them. Your willingness to deliver this solution would make a BIG difference to your children in keeping their physical and mental health untarnished.