Growing up in a fairly small household, my family put up with a lot of bad things, one of which was always the fact that we couldn't go out everywhere. We almost always were strapped for cash, even with my mom working. So, when it came to finding ways to relief the stress, I turned to a place that changed my life forever, a place that I wish to work in one of these days. I am talking about entertainment. Escapism.
When it came to movies and TV shows and video games and the like, my parents always taught me at a young age one thing: Movies and TV shows aren't real. At first, it was a way of getting me to watch the Child's Play movies without going to sleep terrified. (I know, funny...) However, those words always stayed with me, and it sticks with me even more so when people always debate about one thing: Is violence in shows and movies bad for kids?
Now keep in mind, knowing my background, I may be the poorest candidate to tackle this debate, but it's something I wish to speak about.I remember a while back reading about a protest group about parents protesting The Walking Dead for it's gruesome content. It is apprehensive to think that The Walking Dead is bad for kids in my opinion. Now granted, this is where I think I may lose some people here, but hear me out. Speaking narrative wise, I feel as though The Walking Dead is something can be used as a motivation builder for kids. Rick Grimes is the standard hero we all know and love, but there is more to him then that. He can be viewed as a symbol of courage, as he does anything for the sake of his family and for people who he doesn't know 100% because he sees the world still has hope, when everyone has lost theirs.
However, that wasn't their complaint. They mostly complained about the violence on the show. Again, thinking within the narrative structure of the show, it makes sense that there would be a lot of violence in this world. The world is now filled with ravenous, cold blooded, man eating creatures that want to kill you. It only makes sense to kill them back. Thinking realistically, the character Carl adapts to the environment in which he was brought up in, as he adapts after the third season after experiencing the way of life first hand, so he now is desensitized from what is going on. In a way, this is how parents should raise their kids.
Thinking in a different perspective, another show that people love, also from AMC, is Breaking Bad. People say that it is a terrible show for advocating the Crystal Meth business. Again, I disagree. I like to think from the narrative standpoint before judging anything, and in a way, in my opinion at least, Breaking Bad is the ultimate PSA. I think the same with most Mafia and Gangster Movies.
Granted, the story is interesting, in that you have a cancer victim trying to do a good thing by delving into a dangerous business, and comes out after (once again) being adapted with the messy business that comes with the job. In my opinion, it shows kids that may be watching that in the long run, even considering the fact that it gets pays a lot, it still is dangerous and that not only would you possibly get killed, but that your conscious would also get killed in that you would not be the same person coming out of the line of work as you were when you first considered the job.
However, most of the time, people who protests this stuff focuses on whether the violence is too bad or too gruesome for kids rather then looking into whether the violence is justified by what is going on in the story. As I said, most of the time. When people focus only on the violence, they should also look into other details of the show, aside from the visual. Not only do you have to focus on the violence, but you also have to look at the dialogue and whether it is good for your kids to hear or not. It's bad when people ignore the minority without taking into consideration the majority. Violence is only scratching the surface when it comes to what is okay or what isn't okay for kids to watch.
For instance, I'd rather have my kids watch Breaking Bad, or Cowboy Bebop rather then Keeping up withe the Kardashians or Bridezillas or True Blood, in which the latter shows violence and sex for violence and sex sake (at least recently).
Overall, I just want to say this: At a young age, tell your kids that movies and TV aren't real. Make sure they have a good grasp at that. Knowing that, people should ease up on violence portrayed in media. It's not the kids that fan the flames, it the parents who do it. They do it, mostly because they either view the TV as a babysitter (which is a common excuse), or because they didn't tell them that TV and movies aren't real. At least... that's how I see it. I know that people will not agree with this, but it's my two cents on this discussion.
- Joshua Lozano