Back In the Day…

So, in this article called Violent Media Is Good for Kids by Gerard Jones, he talks about how the benefits of media violence outweigh the negative aspects. He gives various examples to back up his claim, but there was one that caught my eye. I specifically wanted to focus on the theory of psychologist Melanie Moore PhD in regards to violent entertainment. She states “ Fear, greed, power-hunger, rage: these are aspects of ourselves that we try not to experience in our lives but often want, even need, to experience vicariously through stories of others. Children need violent entertainment in order to explore the inescapable feelings that they’ve been taught to deny, and to reintegrate those feelings into a more whole, more complex, more resilient selfhood.”

Personally, I could not agree with her more. As a kid, I would be drawn to the TV for hours on end just watching shows like Dragonball Z, Samurai Jack, TMNT, Power Ranger, etc. day in and day out. The main thing that all of these shows have in common is the obscene amount of violence in them. And when I wasn’t watching TV, I was out with my friends reenacting scenes and pretending to be characters from these shows. That was our chance to be a superhero, our excuse to roughhouse, and our means of relieving all of the hyped up energy that any young child has. Honestly, I feel bad for all of the kids who grew up after me and didn’t get to experience these shows. Instead, they get shows that are starting to be a lot more open from a sexual aspect among other things. I mean, come on. Watch some episodes of cartoons like SpongeBob and see how many innuendos are actually in the script. And on top of that, they have role models like Miley Cyrus and SpringBreaker’s Selena Gomez. But I digress. My point is children need some exposure to violence so they can learn how to deal with it. If they’ve never seen violence, were never taught how to deal with it, and have to bottle it up; one day that bottle will shatter hard.

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6 thoughts on “Back In the Day…

  1. It’s funny how you state that you “feel sorry” for the children growing up behind you, as the cartoons these days have become more and more immoral, I thought the same thing after my generation of cartoons (Looney Toons, Smurfs, My Little Pony, Scooby Doo, etc.). I say the same thing in regards to the cartoons that you mentioned; my children have grown up on those, and I cringe every time I am able to sit and watch with them. When it becomes too over-rated, I must admit, I have to draw the line and send them outside or to a good book. With all this being said, if you really think about, even the “good” cartoons we considered to be once wholesome, or somewhat okay, encamped these same tendencies and “innuendos”; the difference is that now they are more noticeable because society as a whole has embraced the culture of “no holds barred”.

  2. You threw a sentence in there I was wondering if you could expand on… You said, “…they get shows that are starting to be a lot more open from a sexual aspect among other things” Is this a bad thing? You are taking the stance that providing kids with violence on TV is good so they can ‘get it out of their system’, Do you not see sex in the same light? Is this not also way to let people ‘get something out of their system’? (I guess if kids start acting it out in their back yard that that could lead to a whole other set of problems… but…) I’m curious what your take on this is. Where and by who’s morals do we draw the line?

  3. I agree with a lot of what you said. Children do need an outlet for emotions like rage and violence. With life being a tough and often complex thing to maneuver through anger is a common occurrence. I will say however that I feel the choice of which shows kids watch also has a strong tie to what their personal preferences are. I loved violent shows like Power Rangers and TMNT but I also chose to watch shows that made me laugh which were largely harmless like Scooby Doo, Spongebob and The Rugrats. When I was young all the sexual innuendos and violent messages went right over my head. I saw a clip from Jimmy Neutron the other day where his dad said, “When I was young I sat on a banana…and of course that changed my life”. It wasn’t till seeing the show at a much older age that I actually understood the joke. As a child I simply laughed and thought nothing of what the joke actually meant; I thought his father was being silly. I feel that people nowadays take the jokes made in TV Shows too seriously and that in reality the children absorb and take in far less than they think. Besides that I do agree that anger and violence in shows is a constructive outlet and helps many but could be monitored closer.

  4. I agree with everything you’re saying, but like Steven (sanschutz) said above, you are endorsing media violence as a way of expression for children, but it seems you are frowning upon mild sexual references in cartoons. Just like anger and rage, sexual impulses are prevalent in children as they are in adults, but they can prove to be hard to understand for kids. What I am getting at is there is a parallel between rage and sexuality in children; both are often discouraged, both are natural human feelings, both are encouraged to be suppressed. It is not natural, and just like kids need to express their anger, they need to express their sexuality. That is what breeds a healthy adult life; free expression.
    I also have to agree with jbevil3. As a child, I did not understand any hidden sexual innuendos. It is only now, nearly a decade later, that I am able to pick up on sexual jokes. Where I used to right them off as nonsense, I now understand.
    Whether you believe violence and mild sexual subject matter are helpful or detrimental, we all must take into account the underlying good qualities of some of today’s cartoon. There are hidden messages in some TV shows that teach children important values and lessons of life. For example, on more than one occasion I have picked up on very mature lessons simplified in a way children can understand in the popular cartoon Adventure Time. One episode that really stuck out to me was an episode where Finn told a villain “you can’t touch my butt without my consent!”, which seems like just a comment to kids, but it has a hidden meaning. Finn is referencing the importance of consent in sexual relationships, which may seem meaningless to kids now, but that value will be instilled in them and they will reference that lesson in adult life; you can’t touch someone without consent. Though some subject matter in cartoons are juvenile and meaningless, no one can doubt the benefits; whether it be expression of rage, or the learning of important life lessons.

  5. I definitely agree with this. I feel like I am meeting more and more sheltered kids everyday. It’s understandable that some parents want to protect their children when it comes to social media, but isolating them from it just ruins proper social development. Although not all films or video games are realistic, many of them are. It’s better to be aware then clueless.

  6. Appreciate the responses! And I’ll admit that I might be a little biased towards the shows today. But that’s only because my little brother watches shows like these and I kind of freak out because I don’t want him learning this stuff and grow up too early. But in response to all of the sexual comments, I’m not saying I frown upon or anything but I can see how my writing suggests that. In my personal opinion, I feel like that’s going to be “our generational problem”. Just how the adults of today are cracking down hard on media violence, I think we will be reacting the same in regards to sexual matters. This society has seen a major rise of teen pregnancy with our generation and that’s just a fact. I mean, they’re airing shows like 16 and pregnant, pregnant and dating, and shows of that nature. The point I was trying to make was that shows like these are having a bad influence on the younger generation, but I guess that’s what the older generation said about our shows so I guess I can’t really judge there.

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