Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Good V Bad: Films and Parenting

"Torture Porn" - For Kids (or Anyone)?
There was a piece on the Victoria derbyshire Show on Radio 5 Live this morning about "reception class" children in infants school (ages circa 4 or 5 years old) playing violent video games (Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty). These games tend to be rated 15 or 18 and do contain some extreme violence.

Without going into details of the where and when (or even the gender), I know of a child in a reception class who is so young/immature that he/she still wears a nappy. Yet this child regularly "effs and blinds" in class.

One cannot blame all the ills in society on bad parenting, but there is no doubt that bad, sloppy, lazy or similar parenting is to blame for a good proportion of what is wrong in society.

In recent days there has been a lot of discussion of violence in the media because of the 14 year old boy who killed his mother and set fire to her afterwards. He was 'hooked' on violence in films and on TV.

Now let me put my cards on the line. I enjoy films, and these include psychological thrillers, murder mysteries and similar. I also played with Action Man toys, toy soldiers and played 'British and Germans' in the playground when we (teeny lads) would pretend to have pistols or machine guns and run around shooting each other, dying in agony (imagine the theatricals!) only to be brought back to life if a comrade-in-arms got to you.

So what am I trying to say? Well, I think boys will always be boys (and some girls will always be tomboys), and playing 'war games' is as old as the hills; but I also think parents have a duty to teach their children right from wrong. A percentage may always choose the wrong things as they grow older; but if parents take an active role in promoting good values (anchored in the Ten Commandments, for example) then at least children have a fighting chance of not being quite so bad as they grow up.

We all of us know that working through school and in jobs (whether offices or factories) you bump along with some rum characters, and so very few us live in a bubble. Nor should we, unless we wish to be a hermit.

But we should at least give children the protection they deserve, and the values that can help them in life; even if they decide (of their own free will) to jettison those values when they are older.

It's akin to a wooden ship sinking. We could let it sink and hope for the best, knowing that some will cling to the flotsam and jetsam, or we can fling a load of life-saving 'rubber rings' in, knowing that it could help even more people survive. Giving children a decent upbringing, teaching them right from wrong, shielding them from horror films, porn and foul language, can't ensure they are perfect as adults, but it is a good start, and will lessen the odds of losing more further down the road.

I think that is why some Catholic writers I've read articles by, blame lax catechetics by the Church on the number of cradle Catholics who drift away from their Faith. Good foundations protect against subsidence later on.

As I supped my lunchtime cup of tea today I heard Jeremy Vine on the radio saying the murder by the 14-year-old was somehow linked to the Saw movies. Now I have never seen one of these movies, they just don't appeal to me at all. In some quarters (e.g. film critics) they are known as "torture porn" and Mr. Vine said that the theme of these movies was turned on its head because in them the bloke doing the torturing held all the power. At least in more traditional "horror" films the bad guys got their comeuppance and the good guys won. In many of them the good guys also happened to be Catholic priests or in some way sanctioned by the Catholic Church. So there was some sense of 'good v evil' and good winning.

As I said I have never (and hope never to) see a Saw movie, but the lines delineating good and evil seem blurred, to say the least. Besides which, surely even with the best will in the world and even with 'scarey' films that play the good v evil, Church v Satan, Priest v possession (etc.) themes, these are meant for grown-ups only!

I think the films The Rite and The Exorcism of Emily Rose are very good, and contain valid Catholic themes, and portray a battle of good versus evil that can take the complacent person and make them realise that just as there is a God, so there is an evil being called Satan ("who roams the world for the ruin of souls" to quote the Leo XIII prayer to St Michael).

But the idea of showing such films to children is a no-no, because they have some disturbing images, frightening sequences and suchlike.

The riots in London were blamed on bad parenting, which came as no real surprise to anyone with more than an ounce of intelligence. Liberals, atheists, 60s hippies and professional social workers may wish otherwise, but we need good parenting in this country (mums and dads!), and without that children miss out on the fundamentals, whether it is teaching your children that smashing shops up is wrong, that swearing is wrong, that watching or playing games that are for an older age group is wrong, just as much as eating nothing but crisps and sweets and drinking fizzy pop all day is wrong.

Those parents who allow their children to eat and drink rubbish all day cannot be surprised when their teeth rot or they get obese. Those who don't may still get 'cavities' or grow chubby and those who do may by sheer chance get through unscathed, but the battle to protect their teeth and health is nonetheless important and it is a parent's duty to step in, say "no" when necessary and put up with any strops and tantrums that happen along the way.

Similarly those parents who do not shield their children from foul language, porn, horror films etc. cannot be surprised when their children grow up to be obnoxious, nasty or foul.

It's going to be a battle against the odds anyway given the modern world, given the people in our schools, colleges, workplaces and in the streets. It's going to be a hard slog against the tide given the media, adverts in the streets, films, magazines etc.

But to surrender at the start and give children full access to bad materials and bad influences is not just sloppy and lazy parenting: it's evil parenting. And I would think that kind of parenting is now reaping the whirlwind it has sown.

1 comment:

  1. Great post it is very helpful for my new baby's life :) Parenting Tips