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Guest Column

Kids getting wrong messages? Duh!

Published March 15, 2007


"Garbage in, garbage out."

I first heard this term during a motivational speech presentation. The speaker was referring to the content of most television programs and how that content affects children. He restricted his children's television viewing and he was encouraging his audience to filter the mental message we allow into our minds.

A cover on a recent Newsweek magazine has pictures of female personalities with the headline, "Girls Gone Bad." We have been inundated with images, sound bites and endless stories about these inane young women. You know who they are. Now the debate rages that the influence of these women is bad for girls as young as 6 years old. Duh!

Another recent news item concerned the content of rap music lyrics and its influence on the listeners of this music. The lyrics are unprintable, and the ideas in the music include killing police and denigrating women. Again, debate rages that maybe this music is too influential to the listeners. Duh!

On one of the morning shows a recent segment dealt with the amount of underage drinking that results in fatal auto accidents. The idea is that so much liquor advertising influences the young to think that drinking is cool. Duh!

We have seen defenses in court that have used the violence in television, electronic games and movies as reasons for a violent act by a youthful person. If you have ever viewed some of the popular video games this is a slam dunk as to whether these images affect the users. Duh!

A recent national report concluded that young people who watch programs like Friends are more likely to engage in sex at an early age. Television shows like Friends portray sex as an innocuous pastime just like volleyball. No consequences from casual sex, just fun and games. Duh!

Now cities are banning trans fats and schools are taking sodas out of school vending machines. Obesity is almost an epidemic. Schools are considering adding more recess time for physical exercise. Children are suffering from adult diseases like diabetes and hypertension at alarming rates.

I spent a lunch with a grandchild and I was appalled at the choices the children were given. Children are obese? Duh!

If we do not filter what we put in our minds and our bodies, we end up in the doctor's office, overweight and depressed.

The real obligation is for the children of this world to be provided wholesome food and wholesome images on television, in music and games. That is the tough part. Society paints anyone who stands up to our current influences as a nut and usually refers to them as a "Christian right winger."

Just remember, "Garbage in, garbage out." The distressing consequences of ignoring this fact: what is happening to our children, the future of our world.

Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey.

[Last modified March 15, 2007, 01:39:56]

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