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Protecting Our Children

How Bad is Our Child's Environment?

By JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton

Our child's environment is just as bad or good as we allow. How bad is it going to get? The answer remains with us.

The first place we need to examine is in our homes. How careful are we? I am aware of a fine young man who is struggling with a painful addiction to pornography. His first contact with it was as a young teenager when he opened his mother's J.C. Penny Catalog and happened to notice the lingerie section. His curiosity increased and at a later time he hunted for more.

As we check the catalogs in our homes, notice that Avon has started to include lingerie displayed on sexual models. Many of us find their small catalogs in a plastic bag hanging on our doorknobs very available for our children to find first. I suggest we write the company and also explain to whomever brings the catalog that we do not want it because of this problem.

We all need to look at the newspapers we bring into our homes. Do they include sexual ads? Do they include articles and advertise entertainment that works against our values? Are you sure you want a teenager looking for the cost of a four-wheeler to run across ads of sexual or adult nature in your newspaper?

How appropriate are the video games that we let into our homes? One young adult said to me, “Mrs. Hamilton, as you were speaking, I was thinking of my video games. My parents think the one about football that I have is appropriate, but when the cheerleaders come out they are not dressed like regular cheerleaders. As you talked, I realized that I do not have one appropriate video game.”

The No. 1 video game sold last year in the United States was "Grand Theft Auto." The purpose of the game is to steal cars and shoot policemen. To win the game, a player has to steal a car, shoot a policeman, pick up a prostitute, be immoral, kill her, hide the body, and return the car without being caught. Since everything we see and think goes into our minds for permanent storage, we must ask if this what we want to fill our children's minds?

There is an unrated DVD that is a sequel to Superman. It supposedly is the only source of this movie. Those who purchase it will find that it was produced by porn stars and has full frontal nudity as well as other objectionable elements. We have a real need to check everything that comes into our homes.

As an informed parent, it is wise to read what your children are reading to see if the values you believe in are being taught. Of course, we need to turn off most of what is on television. The commercials are often a major source of problems. I'll bet if we turn the television off for six months and then go back and look at what we were watching, we will be shocked.

You might list your values and then post them by the television set. As soon as a value is violated, the television set is turned off. With a standard like that, it will be off most of the time. Then children can read, play, interact with each other, and develop lots of creativity. It would be wise for us all as parents to buy a new game or two and spend more time playing with our children to use up their slack time.

Cartoon immodesty is still sexual. Desensitization is a problem for adults and children. Curiosity is another problem.

When we have Internet access, we need filters, realizing, of course, that filters will eliminate much of the pornography, but not all of it. Supervision is essential.

It will take effort to avoid exposing our own children in our homes, but the effort will be worth it.

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