Tag Archives: violence

What is Appropriate Viewing for Children?

Well in my opinion definitely not the latest Batman, Spiderman or Superman!

I am talking children of pre-school/reception year here, so the under-fives in particular.

Films have classifications for a reason. Even those classed as parental guidance really sometimes should not be shown to very young children.

Television as well has its division, CBeebies and Milkshake for the under sixes and CBBC and CITV as older counterparts. I know that with the 500 million channels out there, there is also Disney Junior, Nick Jnr, etc.

But as parents we have to be responsible for what our children watch.

SC watches CBeebies, occasionally Milkshake (and even then the ads are censored, even these can be inappropriate for the age range)

The reason?

I firmly believe that children are extremely impressionable at this young age. Their imaginations work overtime and everything and anything can be used in play situations.

A firm favourite at the moment is Tree-Fu Tom. This is a harmless animated series about a little boy who has magical powers and does tree-fu (gets the children up doing basic non-violent martial art moves) whilst saving Treetopolis and his friends from some disaster.

However, SC loves the programme so much that he really believes he can do Tree-Fu magic. He went into school and started practising this magic, I hasten to add not touching any other child, just moving his arms around and making swoosh noises, but other children thought that because of the sounds and movement he was doing something menacing like trying to shoot them!

I had to explain to the teacher that (a) he has no idea what a gun is and (b) he doesn’t watch inappropriate television. I know it was all innocent, but how did these other 4 and 5 year olds know about guns and shooting and killing people? Obviously they have seen it somewhere.

After I spoke to SC, we now have a mantra before we go into school each day that he mustn’t do Tree-Fu magic, make noise or move his arms around!

He also doesn’t watch inappropriate films. Disney’s about as far as it goes in this house.

As parents we, no one else, we are responsible for what we let out children watch. Surely, if we think it something is not suitable, they do not watch it. It cares not one iota if little Jimmy in the playground watches it.

I have seen children playing who have been allowed to watch inappropriate television/films. It seems, especially boys, to make them more destructive in their play! I remember a little boy the same age as SC who had watched Spiderman, Batman, all the latest, and then watched as he took a toy and then wreaked havoc as all other children were playing, by violently hitting their toys, knocking down stuff with no care or regard for anyone else.

I know all little boys love action heroes, etc. But if you look at things, the Batman TV series of the sixties was innocent compared to the mindless violence that Hollywood shove down our throats in the latest Batman movie.

And that’s the whole point. Innocence. Life, to some degree was more innocent two or three generations ago. You only have to look at the films, TV series, lyrics to songs and pop stars. There were no (at least very few) children getting pregnant at 11. Cheesy pop the 80s may have had but you can still remember the lyrics to Karma Chameleon I’ll bet? Gyrating pelvises and scantily clad females were not shoved down your throat (for want of a better phrase), films too were gentler.

Is it since the birth of so much advanced technology – 500 million tv channels (and still nothing decent to watch), i-pods, i-phones, internet on demand everywhere and anywhere, computer games, etc that we started heading down the slippery slope of moral decline and loss of innocence?

Next time you go to the cinema, just look at the violence that each and every film has? Is it necessary?

When was the last time you saw a computer game that didn’t involve killing everyone in sight?

Children are children.

Life is tough enough as it is without ramming thoughts of violence, death and destruction into their heads from a young age. Unless we, as parents take responsibility the world is going to keep falling into the downward spiral it seems to be in.

One last thought on how impressionable children can be:

SC was at school, one little boy said that he was going to take another little boy chop him up, put him in a hole and blow him up! This child was 5! Where on earth did he get that sort of idea from if not from watching something wholly inappropriate?

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Wrath

Wrath in its purest form (according to Wikipedia) “presents with self-destructiveness, violence and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may exist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead.”

Reading that description from Wikipedia made me think of two things in particular.

One “Romeo and Juliet”. We know that the Montagues and Capulets were sworn enemies, but we don’t know (unless my memory is playing tricks, it’s a fair few years since I read Romeo & Juliet) how long they were enemies. So it could have been a family feud that had been going on for centuries – what we do know however, that the outcome of this feuding was the deaths of 2 young people, who did nothing more than fall in love.

The second was the world. Just the three feelings – self-destructiveness, violence and hate. To me the world we are living in right now is angry.

Man is self-destructing.

And how?

We are destroying the very planet we live on by ravaging it – you only have to look at the destruction oil-drilling in the Arctic region has done. Tearing down trees and ripping up countryside to build tower blocks. Pouring waste into the oceans. I could go on.

It’s not global warming that will kill the planet but man’s greed.

Nowhere is safe anymore. Violence seems to be a by-word for life these days. Not a day goes by when there is some horror story emerging about the violence done to one human being by another. What is everyone so angry about? Why can’t we live peacefully and not be afraid that if we go out we might be subjected to a violent assault on our person which would lead to injury and/or death. This is not the way to treat each other.

Violence doesn’t solve anything. It escalates out of control. For example, you hit me, I hit you, you retaliate and hit me with a stick, I find a bigger stick, you get something worse, I get something worse, etc, etc, etc, until someone gets killed!

Violence breeds hate. Or is it hate breeds violence?

What do we hate?

Do we hate each other? Why? Why hate someone you don’t know? How do we learn to hate? Why can’t we learn to love and get along rather than hate? Surely that would make the world a nicer place to live in.

You can’t hate someone just because they have a better job than you, or they support a different football team, or they pray to a different God, or even because they are a different colour. That is wrong in so many ways I can’t begin to express it.

If someone has a better job than you, don’t hate them, aim to get a better job yourself!

If someone supports a different football team, don’t hate them, feel sorry for them by all means, but seriously everyone’s entitled to their own opinions!

If they pray to a different God, don’t hate them, after all, all religion is about love and understanding and above all peace on earth.

At the end of the day though, can we save the world from ourselves and our wrath?

I believe we can, if we take it one step at a time.

If we can maybe, just maybe we can make the world a better place for our children and our children’s children!

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West Side Story…

… is as relevant today as it was when it first burst onto Broadway.

This Leonard Bernstein musical based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet hits the right social and cultural issues, and makes you think. That’s why I believe every teenager should watch it.

Primarily, the rivalry is transferred from between 2 families to between 2 gangs. And as we all know gang warfare is rife on streets in cities today, just as much, if not more than it was in the 1950s. Barely a week goes by without some teenager being killed, by whatever means, by someone from a rival gang.

Over the years nothing has been learned, it seems.

As a mum to a small boy, I’m already fretting over his teenage years, which at the moment seem a lifetime away, but in reality will be upon me sooner than I can blink an eye.

What is ever gained by fighting, physically?

Why do people physically fight over the most trivial of things?

Where does it end?

SC has just started school and not a week has gone by where some charming child hasn’t physically attacked him. I don’t believe violence solves anything. So I tell him to walk away. No matter what, just walk away.

Mr Wrong No. 1 had the other approach with regard to tackling this issue with his son – he told him to fight back!

Now, my stance is if they fight back, where will it end?

I hit you, you hit me.

I hit you harder, you hit me harder.

I hit you with a stick, you hit me with a bigger stick.

I get a knife.

You get a gun.

Violence grows and no one wins!

That in essence is the crux of the whole musical. Maria (aka Juliet) says at the end of the show that she can kill now because she now hates.

Is that what all this gang warfare is about?

How can you hate someone just because they ‘hang with a different crowd’ or wear a different type trainer? You can’t really hate someone you don’t personally know, can you?

West Side Story shows that, at the end of the day, no one wins with violence or hatred, and that we need to learn tolerance and effectively ‘love thy neighbour’.

I don’t hate. For sure there have been people I have met in my life that I don’t like, but hate? No.

We’re all born different, be it hair colour, eye colour, taste in clothes, hobbies, etc. We all have good points and bad points. These should be embraced, not used as a reason for attack.

Can society change?

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