I used to think that parents who used the television as a babysitter were the vilest things in the world.
Then summer holiday came, the electricity bill went up and up and the food bill went even higher and I was slowly metamorphasising into one of those parents.
‘Just go and watch TV and keep quiet.’
‘Sit down and watch TV and stop humbugging me.’
‘Go and watch TV and keep out the way.’
I had to step back. And it was on one of those occasions that my daughter wanted to go out in the sun and run around that I sat and watched TV. Being advertised on the channel she was watching was a show by the name Degrassi. I made it a point to watch it the evening and I was floored.
Sex, homosexuality, deceit, cheating, crime, this thing was like something from the underworld. We watch television together now.
I say all that so you don’t get the impression that I am preaching, because I am not and the trap I stepped into is easy for anyone to step in as well, but we have inadvertently, I believe, desensitized a generation to violence and crime.
Some say that television is not to blame solely but it is a contributing factor. For years we have been feeding our children a healthy and steady diet of violence and crime. We had a prime minister who used it as a catch phrase and so accustomed were we, we poked fun at him and laughed it off.
We had Steven Seagal, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Expendables, Romeo Must Die and many other films which were impregnated with violence.
Just last week two mature friends from the UK put me on to a film which was released in the 1970’s (before I was born) A Clockwork Orange. So violent was this film that after its completion, producer Stanley Kubrick banned it because of the level of violence. It was released after his death.
But that is television for you. Television pushes two things, sex and violence. Subliminally and intentionally.
Then there are the video games. In almost every video game you have to kill something to advance to the next level. From Mortal Kombat to Super Mario, killing in the name of the game.
Yet without batting an eye we put these games into the hands of our children and let them go off into their own virtual worlds to zap and stomp and shrink and vaporise the enemy.
But I am not blaming TV at all. I am blaming the people who leave children unsupervised with this rapist, murderer, paedophile, crook and fraud we call technology. When unsupervised it can change the child you entrust to it. Unsupervised television, video games and internet use has the very real potential to foster and bring out the worse in the most innocent of children from I dear say, the most Christian of homes.
But the supervision doesn’t always help; even the way we speak to each other leaves a lot to be desired sometimes.
It was not uncommon for me to hear a mother telling a child she would knock off his head, or slap the taste out of his mouth.
But we now seem to have a generation who either cannot differentiate between real life and the TV or video game world or are desensitized to violence – it seems ok.
I am not going to any scientist or psychologist, these are things we see every day, young people are not horrified by violence they love it.
Even in my time at secondary school which is now past its 15th anniversary, when you heard fight, you ran in the direction of that cry because you wanted to see the action.
When we see acts of violence we do not shout in disgust and plead for the brawlers to stop, we whip out our cell phones and blast the scenes to every corner of our global village.
Violence has been fed to us from the time we could walk. We tell children to hit back other children hard and then go to the teacher. Boys are not suppose dto cry and complain because that mean they are sissies, or wusses; they are to fight and represent.
Suddenly we are shocked and appalled by the level of violence that seem to be chomping away at our society. Violence is devouring us because for generations we have consumed violence.
We need to stop saying how bad the youth are and how immoral the society is and realise that it will get worse and more immoral because of the lifestyles we live. We are to blame. We have created a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah and we enjoy it for what it is worth until the flies from the rotting fruit of the Hollywood Tree come to our homes.