Monday, September 28, 2009
The Great Parenting War: US vs The World
Ever wander into the wrong public bathroom or at least think you have? I was shopping at Staples and raced into the restroom only to wander - did I see urinals when I came in?
That mini-panic attack is what happens in every parent's head when they are asked why the guy on "Survivor" is naked?
Our society has discarded any and all barriers to shield our youth from sex, violence and various forms of degradation. A friend in our Bible study class announced how the Sims 3 game shocked her with the simulated sex scene under the sheets.
"The Sims 3" is a virtual game rated "T" for teen but the company's criteria for this rating may not be the same for you and me. This is part of the description for this Sims game:
"These avatars often interact socially, which can sometimes lead to mild flirtation or more intimate encounters. Players can choose to “try for a baby” or “WooHoo” with another Sim – the later option being available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples. These two actions cause the selected avatars to jump into bed and go under the covers, where they wriggle, giggle, and moan until confetti bursts over the bed. Sims characters need to maintain their health and hygiene and do so by eating, exercising, bathing, and using the toilet, which is depicted by a blurred, pixilated effect and trickling sounds. Avatars can also vomit, emit flatulence, and wet themselves if no toilet is available or offered." (NOTE: Avatars are the characters)
Rated "T" for teen.
How many 11-year-olds are lobbying for a teen rated video game? This Teen game?
So, let's go back to my "Survivor" nightmare.
Like many football fans I assume I can safely watch the NFL on a Sunday afternoon, but those pesky ads turned my parental universe upside down. First was the aforementioned reality show nudity then it was the gratuitous CSI commercial promoting this week's violent murder mystery and, on this occasion when my daughter was watching, solving a rape case.
When you hear "Daddy, what is rape?" you'd wish you were trapped in a ladies' room stall.
I remember taking my boys to a comic book show and they received some free comics. In fact, this comic "Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk" had a "Free Comic Book Day" sticker on it, so it was widely distributed.
After the show, I began to thumb through a few pages of this "Ultimate" comic from Marvel and I was shocked. Wolverine was lying in the snow, limbless from the waist down trying to remember how he ended up in this predicament. Oh yeah, the character flashes back to a battles with the Hulk who literally had ripped Wolverine in half, tossing him in two separate directions.
This was a FREE comic, given away to countless kids at comic shows and to celebrate "Free Comic Book Day" so I put it where it belonged -- in the trash. I later read on a blog that there is a scene in which the Hulk makes Wolverine choose which leg he would rather Hulk eat.
Long gone are the days of Archie and Veronica.
We need to be honest with ourselves: we cannot shelter our kids from everything. Parents need to be more vigilant and involved than ever. The internet is a wide open access port to the abyss of vile and filth that the world creates each and everyday.
Sims 3 sold 1.4 million copies in its first week. Commercials are incredibly dangerous and unregulated forms of exposure for unwanted questions and topics for kids.
It's out there and we have to be armed and ready to face these challenges.
Prepare yourself or you'll be wishing you were in the wrong bathroom stall trying to survive a panic attack.