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Protecting Our Children

Deception is Everywhere

By JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton

Finding truth in a world that flaunts deception is a challenge for today's families. Let me explore various areas where deception is rampant. Hopefully this column can serve as a springboard for discussion in families.

Alcohol ads show happy smiling people. To be accurate, they need to show the person vomiting in the bathroom, the person who sleeps the next day because of a hangover, the husband who loses his job because he can't show up for work on Monday and the child who doesn't understand why Daddy hit Mommy last night.

Cigarette ads still exist and we appreciate the negative public service announcements about cigarettes that come on television. Youth need to know just how hard it is to kick the cigarette habit. They need to add up the money they could have used on other things, see yellowed teeth and watch the incessant coughing that takes place by some smokers.

I get angry when I hear commercials about sexually transmitted diseases. The announcer says, “Some people get results from this medication.” What he doesn't say is, “Most people do not get results and people die from this disease.” This is deceptive advertising, and we need to recognize it.

I found myself irritated at an article that came out in the Desert Morning News, March 14, 2005. I kept putting it aside and almost threw it away once. It was titled, “Porn firms donated to Cannon, report says.” The truth? Congressman Chris Cannon is working in Washington, D.C. to slap fines and legislative restrictions on those who are producing and profiting from pornography. He is on the national advisory board of Character and Morality in Entertainment (CAMIE Awards) and a co-sponsor of legislation to combat child pornography. Yes, according to the article, he took money from General Motors and Marriott International. That makes sense to me.

To get the answer to this, I need to refer you to an article I wrote called, “Who are producers/distributors (of porn)?” (Davis County Clipper, January 27, 2005 ). Because pornography has become big business on Wall Street, all of us are supporting the industry to some degree. As it happens, General Motors owned a subsidiary company that produced pornography, which, by the way, it recently sold. I listed in the Clipper article numerous other companies, which were purveyors, producers or financiers in some way of pornography. The list includes Marriott International, Comcast, Visa, MasterCard, Yahoo, Google and others. Yes, in some way, we are all accepting services from a big business that is a purveyor or producer or financer of pornography. The article irritated me because a news reporter could take any of us and say we accept money or services directly or indirectly or promote pornography because we use any of these services. Congressman Cannon is going to be a target of pornographers because he is working against them.

TV encourages immoral sex which is harmful for teens. Teens who watch sex on TV are more likely to become sexually active sooner, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.

Rebecca Collins, of the RAND Corporation, and colleagues did phone interviews with nearly 1,800 young people ages 12 to 17. Researchers asked kids about their sexual activity and TV viewing habits. One year later, they checked back and they saw “substantial associations” between the amounts of sexual content viewed by the teens and advances in sexual behavior.

Sexual content on television is part of nearly two-thirds of all TV programs. Surprisingly, researchers wrote, “It apparently makes little difference whether a TV show presents people talking about whether they have sex or shows them actually having sex.”

TV shows encourage sexual activity, but rarely include any message about the risks involved. This is deception at its best. Families need to discuss these issues and teach their children about the consequences involved in risky behavior.

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