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To own a Tamagotchi at age nine, you were the coolest person ever. It will dangle from your backpack when you’d go to school and everyone who didn’t have one would envy you and want one, and those who did have one would flaunt it like bling. A Tamagotchi is a Japanese handheld “pet” that kids would “care” for, monitoring the life of the pet on a small screen with about three buttons below it. I had one at that age (nine) in 2003, and it was that time when games for the little ones were actually games for the little ones. Ten years later, my nine year old cousin, Isaiah, has no idea of the pleasure to care for a pet in an oval-shaped, hand-held game. Social media, entertainment, and advertisements today are very entertaining and no matter how inappropriate it is, it is exposed to the younger generation. This is a problem, for when this takes hold of a child’s thoughts and or life, things will not go very well for the child. We should monitor the access children (including teenagers) have to violent media because it is harmful to the mental and social health of the child.
Knowing it’ll be questioned how the younger generation has access to these inappropriate media and entertainment, here is the simple reason how: it is everywhere! In many forms and unexpected places you will never guess. Advertisements for vehicles, electronics, and video games are violent and are played throughout the duration of the television program, no matter what is showing and this does have an impact on the child’s life, both mentally and socially. This is an ongoing issue; here in the United States where these media is accessible, our American children are captors of the great bright lights of social media and entertainment. With the presence of these violent media and entertainment, it replaces the good that could have been in the child’s life. My nine year old cousin is a bright student but fails to express it, because of all the distraction. The most distraction is from his video games. What started from Mario Kart, to Wrestle Mania, with lightweight horse-play with his older brother and “smack down” on the couches, went to Grand Theft Auto, and now my little nine year old cousin owns Grand Theft Auto IV with the great imagination of cool is trashing a cop car and killing some random person in the street for their car is normal. After school he would turn on the television, hook up the game system X-Box 360 (a Christmas gift from his own parents) and would be glued to the screen until yelled at to go to bed late in the night. My Uncle and Aunt are clueless to what the games and media are capable of to their child. When we do confront the parents, as concerned relatives, they laugh it off and say they are still kids. But that is exactly the time someone learns right and wrong and right FROM wrong. My cousin, however, does not show any physical signs of violence (but does have extreme symptoms of becoming a brat). Well, not yet. Without the limitations set by the adult, nor the monitored access to the games, my little cousin is headed for the worst of the life he is just now starting, and soon that bright mind of his won’t be as bright.
You may be asking how do I know this, but I do because of how he performs academically. Conference after conference, his teachers pour their concern to his parents about little Isaiah and how he is in the classroom. In front of the television, watching a Disney show or playing his multiple games, Isaiah is a big, bright eyed viewer, reciting lines along with the actors and adding his own FX sound effects to the games he’s playing. In the classroom, however, he is one of the very few struggling the most. When assigning homework to Isaiah, he sure does bring it home, but fails to complete it. When forced to complete it, the little boy will not pay attention. He is squirmy, and easily distracted. His reading skills are that of a five year old, and his mentality percentage to everything else besides the television and games is a zero.
These affects are getting more and more serious for it does show up more often. Touching up on the mental harm it has on kids, this social media and entertainment also have a social harm effect on the kids exposed to it. Pat Schroeder, the former congresswoman from Colorado who now runs the Association of American Publishers argued, as Miller quotes, that the media, advertisement, entertainments, the internet, etc. “isolate individuals” in their own world of technology. “This is the beautiful family of America living the American Dream… But we need some ways to relate to each other as human beings. We need to work on getting connected.”(422). Miller readily agrees with Schroeder’s opinion on this, in which he continues to admit his desires for a future where people are still capable of having a physical encounter, connection and communion with others. Schroeder and Miller both point out that this wish of a future where actually meeting people, is being threatened by the multiple forms of cyberspace that exists today. With the computer screens, and the media occupying the time of the younger generations, the dream of this better future with get-togethers with other human beings are slowly waning away. Social life for this generation in the future isn’t looking as good from their behavior as of today.
Now that I have made the point of Miller and Schroeder, why should you care after these points I’ve made? Why do I care? Well, with the absence of social encounters with other people, the social skills one will really have will be very small and unlikely to get any place without that experience of talking to another person. To ask directions to somewhere you’ve never been, will take some courage and humility to admit that you’re lost and need help. Now someone who is comfortable with the confined walls of their homes, the bright screen in front of them, it’ll be very hard to muster a single word to find their way around. These skills of social encounters are very important for the younger generation for them to practice and exceed for the sake of their future and where ever life takes them and to succeed in a future career. Where these kids end up in life affects us as well, for when we grow old and retired, these very kids, these game addicts and cyberholics are going to run the nation and be taking care of our retired butts. Now would you trust your life in a kid who never has mingled at a coffee shop with friends? Or a kid whose vision of a better tomorrow is to fill every inch of America with loaded guns, weak cops, freedom to commit crime, and extra lives? That every day is another day in a video game? I highly doubt so.
Solving a problem one way is to take steps towards the better of the issue, to make it an issue no longer. Now with problems a bit more complicated like the issue we have at hand, it isn’t that simple. How do parents and/or guardians monitor the access their children have to these medias? It is very hard, especially now that kids own their own cellular device as young as twelve years old, and parents are getting more and more incompetent and it just isn’t traceable what kids are prone to do with an electronic and the internet. Sure we can take away their phones, cut off the internet access at home, and throw away their games and television sets. But is that really necessary? Will that help at all? I’d say they can access the internet at any public place, like a library, and they can play those very games you threw out, at a friend’s house, and can buy their own cell phone anywhere for cell phones are not hard to find, nor too expensive for a teenager to purchase with no more than $50.00. Now you might be thinking, well I’m screwed! Well, almost.
There are companies and manufacturers who supply and create these things, that you do not like and you do not want your kid to access it without your permission and unfortunately they do supply, year-round, constantly with higher demand and more flow in, as well as out. These manufacturers do provide the very violence, the very materials that have your kids hooked on their product and what can you do? Should these companies face court and be fined? What their concern is money, but your concern is the health of your child; and the health of your kid isn’t getting any better now that it is exposed to such violence and such products that is booming in business and that are threats to the likelihood of your kids’ future. Remember, to run the world, you’d need skills. Skills, video games cannot provide nor can fund. What DO you do about this?
However, amongst all of these very, very un-good affects media and social entertainment have on this younger generation, there is a slight exception of media that plays in our lives. Media and social entertainment, I have to admit, is not all bad. For with technology evolving, life is getting easier to go about, with the help of these advancements. Thanks to social media and entertainment, it can make work easier as well as school, and we can communicate overseas, to those we simply cannot see in person in a few minutes, people who are across the country or world. We also do connect over social media with loved ones across the globe and we do need that. My parents for instance, are on the other side of the world. They are on an island in the South Pacific Ocean, namely the Kingdom of Tonga, and I owe the social entertainment and media for the ability to connect to them whenever I want. Media does have its ups and downs, and this argument I do have to give in to, for I do use the social media for personal use.
Above all, monitoring our children’s media access is not all we need to do. This is still not working for us, there are still shootings going on, like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Boston Marathon shooting, what can prevent these? Since the Columbine shootings, gun control was taken up a notch but last year these occurrences still happened, lives were still lost from violent behavior and violent media, is still an issue for now violence IS entertainment, violence IS what runs through media, broadcasting wars, shootings and tragedies around the nation. Social media do aid in a daily manner, yet is destructive. The social skills kids miss out on, due to the cyberspace and the mental gaps that are filled in with instead nonsense on television sets will not be made better than a lawsuit or breaking a few game controllers. What is it that we should do, for it seems like there isn’t anything to do, for no matter what we do, it all ends violently and unsuccessful? What is there to change, in the world we are in today so that this can end?
The change should take place in the very living room the child grows his/her childhood. The upbringing of one’s lifestyle can surely change its course immediately from nowhere to somewhere, and somewhere important. For the parents/guardians to give in to their children like that is not right. Some say that’s how they show their love for them, yet little do they know, that this love they give is nothing but fake graphics, poor intelligence put in to the whole, and throwing away their future along with the bullet shells they shed in their world of games. Guardians are preparing the children for what’s ahead in life, to greet life head on and not back down or hide behind the screen for cover. Parents remember! What you show and give your kids today is what they will use on you tomorrow in your old age, and they will hurt you twice as more as they hurt themselves and the people around them. Trust and believe it’ll be a nightmare if I wake tomorrow and my high school class is running the world, and we’re all above nineteen! Imagine you little nine or ten year old giving the task of running the U.S government or even arranging your nursing home. Think about that for change, or at least a step closer to it.
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