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Monday, April 29, 2013

Moral Erosion of America

Considering recent events within the United States there is no doubt that there is a direct correlation between the increase in violence and the gradual decline of morals, ethics and parenting within this country. We are cultivating a kind of mental illness and breeding a dangerous apathy and entitlement within the youth of our nation.

I remember growing up with Television sitcoms like Leave it to Beaver, I Love Lucy and the Andy Griffith Show. These shows always aired in the afternoons after we got home from school and always dealt with social problems and life's issues in a mature and ethically responsible manner. Every episode seemed to include moralistic lessons to be learned making them helpful in instilling values in my generation. You see, there were few channels to select from, so we had very little choice in what we viewed. Believe it or not there were video games back in those days, but they had to do mostly with pulverizing asteroids or batting a square ball back and forth in very low pixel resolution.

Conversely, there is a huge disconnect in our society today with most parents leaving our children in the company of television and violent video games instead of being actively involved in their lives. As a result our kids are being desensitized to violence and are becoming prone to aggressive behavior. And we, as a society, have stopped taking responsibility for the consequences blaming it on everything and everyone but the liable parties. Ourselves.

Those early sitcoms have been replaced with shows like The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy. Most are now available in the afternoons, but for a completely different reason. In the environment of divorced parents or because of today’s economy most mothers and fathers both have to work leaving our kids home alone in those few hours after school. We called them latch key kids in my day. These shows are conveniently placed in this time slot to avoid parental complaints to the watch dog groups about their content. Not only that but, with iPads, iPhones and computers kids have access to material with viewing choices and times always possible. I recall hearing my kids giggling away, on endless occasions, while viewing clips of Family Guy and The Simpsons on their smart phone from the back seat riding along in the car.  
I could write a whole blog on the issues each of these shows contribute to moral decay, but I will generalize. These shows entice children in with their animation then expose them to adult situations and concepts with nary a consequence. They deal with sex, drug use and violence, things that younger generations of Americans were sheltered from within our entertainment. On mainstream television couples weren’t even pictured sleeping in the same bed until the mid-seventies. And it even took longer for the first toilet to be shown in primetime.

Mentioning the violence in video games today would be pointless for we all have experienced their sadistic evolution. Since the invention of the FirstPerson Shooter Engine, we have gone to the lengths of putting the weapons into the hands of our kids. A study done by the NY Times concluded that 80% of violent killings within the US were perpetrated by adolescents addicted to these kind of video games, desensitizing them to the violent nature and consequences of wartime battle sequences. Games like Call of Duty, Killzone 3 and Assassins Creed all top video games sales consistently.

What are we teaching our children? Where is our country headed? What do you folks think?