How far does violence extend, how do we determine exactly who is responsible for the violence that children are seeing on television and in music. What about video games, who is taking the responsibility for the violence and awful things that, are occurring right before the eyes of the youth today. Many politicians are looking to eagerly blame the media and entertainment industry.
Photo: Jonas Elmqvist
Is that the correct place to lay the blame? Perhaps parents are the people ultimately to blame. More parents today than ever before are working longer hours just to stay afloat financially. This alone results in phenomenal numbers of children being left with a television as the babysitter in charge of teaching right from wrong.
How does a child learn the difference between right and wrong, when their parents are nowhere to be found? Where does the parents’ responsibility to parent a child and the governments’ right to parent a child merge? Does the government even have a right to parent children? Should the government be allowed to determine what is appropriate for all children to watch, or should that be ultimately left up to the parents to decide on their own?
There have been television shows, movies, musical artists, and even books banned because the government does not approve. Where is the line drawn in who controls what the children are watching? Is it really up to the parents, or is it left to the children to decide on their own? When did parents lose the ability to control what their child watches, and when did the parent become subject to the child's own opinion?
While some advances in technology have been wonderful, there is also much effort by the government to control what a parent does with their own child, and it is this more than anything that has caused controversy on a civil liberties basis. There have been several inventions and developments that are able to help parents monitor their children; from the v-chip to programs that log instant messenger programs.
These developments are great for the parents looking to monitor their child themselves, but what about the music industry. Most parents are constantly told that the violence their child is exposed to is the fault of the music industry. The blame is placed on the singers and producers for releasing the music. Much blame is placed everywhere but the parents for taking responsibility for their own children and determining what is best for them. With politicians attempting to punish some area of the entertainment industry each time a national tragedy occurs, it puts a major crimp on the ability of parents to decide for themselves what is acceptable for their child and what is not.
Many are left to allow their child to choose from the options that are left, once the government has omitted the choices that are bad. Is this censorship, or helping raise children? Many seem to think it leans heavily towards censorship, a place the governments should not be treading. Many others tend to feel that it should be a high priority of the government to protect everyone from something that can potentially be bad, without even giving people the option to make their own decisions. The issue as to what extent the government should intervene with the way in which we live our lives is hotly contested, and it works in a much larger circle than just the control of our children.
Should the government take a step back, and allow society to use its freedoms and powers for self regulation, or is there a need for intervention to ensure the greater good and justice for the welfare of society as a whole? For the time being, it seems as though the most pragmatic approach relates somewhere in the middle, although it will be interesting to see developments in this area over the coming years.