When someone shoots a bunch of innocent children and their teachers, we ask why. The simple answer is that the person responsible was mentally unstable. But the reasons why a person, no what matter their psychological make-up is, has no injunctions against committing such an act are much broader than the personal. We must look at how society encourages such heinous acts.
It is so obvious that I can’t believe people don’t see it. The fact that people can get hold of guns to commit atrocities is only the last of a string of circumstances that affect the behaviour of our citizens, not just in the USA but in the whole world.
This is how it works. Anyone who has studied behavioural psychology will understand this, but it is also common sense.
It’s all about how children learn.
Children learn by mimicking the behaviour of those they see around them. This is an undeniable fact. Otherwise they would never learn to walk or talk. They do come into this world with their own propensities—no matter how the scientists may argue, anyone with anything to do with babies will know this is true—however, that doesn’t change the fact that they learn from what they see and hear.
Our children see a lot of violence. The media is full of it. Film, television and books tend to glorify violence and portray it as a solution to problems. This is also a fact. You can say that people understand that it is fiction, but it doesn’t change the fact that they see it. That very fact means that such images are in their minds.
Our children play at violence.
They play violent video games.
Bullying runs rampant and in schools, families and workplaces where people accept it as an inevitable part of life instead of taking action to stop it.
Exposure to ideas and actions, followed by practicing those ideas and actions leads to a much greater chance of accepting the ideas and manifesting the actions in life. It is simple cause and affect. Of course, accepted violence in the media isn’t going to turn all our children into violent people, but it will increase the likelihood, especially if it isn’t counteracted by education in ethics.
Are you suggesting tighter censorship?
In the home of parents and children? Yes. In society in general? I would prefer education on the above points and a code of ethics in the media—guidelines for socially responsible publication that our mainstream media producers subscribe to because they care about a healthy society.
What can parents do in our present cultural climate?
Explain to your children how our speech and actions come from what we think, and what we think comes from what beliefs and images are in your mind. Then ask them, what kind of images do you want to put in your mind? This gives them the opportunity to self-manage their media input and if they can’t manage that, at least they understand where you’re coming from when you turn off the video game.
But if you turn off their TV or video game, make up for it by taking them outside and playing a game with them. You have to give them alternative healthy ways to spend their time, and with the amount of sitting at computers & TV’s kids do, something physical is what they need. Quality (preferably active) time with you is the best gift you can give your children.