Disclaimer: No offense to any good parents. I don't blame bad parenting for all of these problems.
"What is the media teaching our children?!" That is the question that many ageists, lazy parents, and brainwashed youth ask. Apparently, it is no longer the parents' job to raise a child. All children and teens have the same single parent: the media. Parents are just babysitters that they have to follow, regardless of how bad they (the parents) are, according to our society.
If there's one thing I hate, its when someone congratulates a young person (0-19 years old, by my standards), and then goes on to say that their parents raised them well, even if they don't know the family well enough to say that. The worse thing about that statement is, if the teen/child did something wrong, those same people would more than likely blame the TV. They would blame the music. They would blame the video games. Very seldom do you hear people accuse the parents.
Take me, for example. I don't drink, smoke, use drugs, or commit felonies. I haven't before, and I don't plan to in the future. My parents didn't have a thing to do with it. While I was breathing secondhand smoke (and liking that smell) from their idiot friends and prone to follow the wrong crowd, my parents were sitting in front of the TV, yet they somehow deserve a medal of honor because I defied a lot of child and teen stereotypes. If anything, the TV taught me not to do those things.
Let's look at Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Some alleged causes of their rampage are: the Doom video game, the movie, Natural Born Killers, and singer Marilyn Manson. Another school shooter, Asa Coon, is thought to be influenced by rap music. We know next to nothing about their parents, though. Asa's mother was often attacked by him, but the news websites don't mention anything that she or his father did to him. Still, why do we know more about their favorite activities than we do their families?
Some say children should not be allowed to watch BET or MTV because the boys will disrespect girls -- even though this was apparently okay when they wanted to avoid that 'cooties' nonsense -- and the girls will want to be hookers. Those people cringe when they see little girls wearing skirts or shorts that end anywhere above the knees and call them all kinds of names. Why are people willing to call preteen girls 'sluts' just because they want to wear certain clothes, but they rarely say anything to the parents who buy them for children and let them out in public looking like that? Or better yet, what about the manufacturers of "slutty children clothes"? Why don't the parents of those children teach them that its wrong to act out some of the things on TV so they can watch it?
Let's look at the only things children should be allowed to watch, according to our society. Educational shows where adults and children coexist in peace. Family sitcoms where problems can always be solved in a rational matter. Cartoons with a little silliness, but not too much intelligence.
Aside from being educational, edutainment also has a way of explaining the wrong things to children. For example, they teach kids not to talk to strangers because they may never see their parents again. Not all children want to live with their parents -- no one I grew up with did. Heck, 10 years ago, I'd be happy to follow someone if they told me I'd never have to see my parents again. I even wished for it several times. Those shows might as well tell the kids that strangers are fairy godparents.
Another instance, all adults are mysteriously friendly in most of these shows. Why would you want children to believe that everyone cares about them? Can you picture your child walking up to a burglar and say "Hi" after waking up in the middle of the night?
In family sitcoms, the parents are understanding and listen to all sides of the story. They may even give a reward if the child tells the truth. This wouldn't happen in most real families. The average parent would just give their friend(s) the benefit of the doubt and punish the child. If, in the future, they happen to find out that the child was innocent, they'd be too proud to apologize because "parents deserve a free pass because he/she wouldn't be born without them", according to our society.
Also, notice how reasonable parents are in some family sitcoms. Those families -- even if they are paid a lot of money to do it in front of the cameras -- are willing to listen to their children in a debate. If the young person makes sense, then his/her ideas will be acknowledged. Not in this society. In reality, it's usually "We do this my way, or I'll beat the hell out of you!"
Growing up, Ren & Stimpy was my favorite "stupid" cartoon. Long after it was canceled, I heard from many sources that parents were complaining about it while it was on the air. For what? Because they can't make their kids stop acting like the dog and cat. When I was a kid, I never saw a child do anything like that, at least not in a dangerous way that gets the whole show canceled. You have to time protest a cartoon that has no negative effect on millions of children, but you can't spare the time to teach your own children not to follow every stupid thing a fictional character does?
Even when children watch cartoons with complex plots and intelligent scripts, ageists complain. Gargoyles was criticized for its dark tone. But it contained quite a few references to the medieval era. O, Heaven forbid if children learn from shows that don't say "Two plus two equals four" every five minutes.
Another thing ageists hate to see: under-18s playing violent video games. If a parent buys his/her child an M-rated game -- which they are allowed to do, by the way -- customers and even store employees want to play the hero and attempt to convince the parent that their child can't handle it. Coincidently, if those same parents happened to beat their child in that same store, the so-called "heroes" are nowhere to be found. Apparently, playing Metal Gear Solid will make little Johnny want to strangle his parents far more than a switch will. You ageists mean to tell me if your 7-year-old son walked into your room with a gun pointed at your head, the first thing you would ask is, "What kind of video games do you like?"?
The video game, Manhunt, was blamed for the death of Stefan Pakeerah in 2004. He was beaten to death with a hammer. In America, you have to be 17 in order to buy M-rated games. The killer, Warren Leblanc, was 17, yet the news claims that he was too young to play it. I guess anyone with a teen at the end of their age number is still considered a child, according to our society. And as usual, we know nothing at all about the killer's family.
According to our society, children should never use "bad words". When the kids do, fingers get pointed at the media. News flash: plenty of parents curse around their children. Why don't parents get blamed as much as the media, even when the parents are known to curse? I've seen parents curse more than a rapper on a Smack DVD, yet those same people refuse to allow their children to listen to profanity-filled music.
Last, but not least, here's one of my favorites: child obesity. Never mind overprotective parents who constantly sue everything and everyone in sight when little Johnny gets a boo-boo during recess games or at play palaces. Forget about parents who are "too busy" to play with their kids. Pay no attention to people who only give their toddlers greasy, fatty foods and sweets. Let's just randomly turn Cookie Monster into Veggie Monster after almost 40 years of no problems from him.
There's no such thing as a (literally does that thing with my fingers) "child obesity problem", and I want to slap anyone who believes otherwise. That's one of the few cases where I completely blame bad parenting, period. How the hell can a child weigh 200 pounds before the age of 8 and not have bad parents? I can't even explain that, and I don't even like stereotyping.
I know some of you are thinking, "Parents don't always have time to teach children". "Parents have more important things to do." If that's the case, then they shouldn't be having children in the first place. If your job requires you to spend more time away from home than at home, don't have children. If the babysitter/your parents are spending more time with your kids than you, don't have kids.