An article in the Advocate earlier this month grabbed my attention.
It was a piece about creating a restrictive bubble around schools against protesters staging a peaceful demonstration. The protest was an anti-abortion demonstration using graphic images.
The abortion debate aside, what really struck me was the one political candidate’s statement, where she commented that children should not be subjected to such images.
I’m sure it was an effort to protect our children, but I’m sorry to say it this way: it makes me wonder where her head is at.
Does this person have children; children who have access to the internet via computer and/or cellphones? The images that they see on these devices are much more graphic.
The games they often play involve murder and other violent personal interactions, usually involving firearms with more explosive power than is necessary to kill someone. It is common to see an enemy’s head dissolve in an explosion of blood and body matter.
As a society, we have fought hard and long to teach that guns are harmful and that offensive behaviour is unacceptable, while at the same time, we push these same behaviours on our children through electronic devices.
At times, I feel that we are no different than drug dealers pushing fentanyl, even though they know it kills. In the name of a game, we find it acceptable enough to allow it.
We feel images of brutality resulting from war, and other physical images, such as surgeries, including abortion, are just not acceptable, and as such, we have to protect our children from them.
To me, that represents a mentality that is either misinformed or is blatantly using a double standard.
Life is reality and the images it portrays are often brutal and difficult, but games portray the same violence, so it makes one wonder, what are we protecting our children from? Or for that matter, are we protecting them at all?
Often, by the time children enter school, they have been exposed to more than ever before, and so images portraying violence are not new to them.
At six years old, most children have had some experience with death, but that age is when they can be taught the proper acceptance of that negative side of life.
Are there times when images should be curtailed? For sure there are. It is a known fact that the first six years of a child’s life is when they learn what will shape the rest of their lives, so as parents, we have an opportunity to teach values and beliefs.
It is also the time when we can teach a reverence for all life — plant, animal, and most of all, human life. In that time frame, then, is when negative images can and should be restricted, or at the very least, fully explained.
Once they enter the education system, we lose control over what our kids can see, so teaching life in that first six years, to me, is critical. What they learn will help to prepare them for almost anything else that they will encounter later in life.
History alone teaches us that very seldom can we turn back the clock on what our kids are exposed to, so it behooves us to take every advantage to teach our children about how to live a life where murder, theft and any other negative behaviour is fully unacceptable.
Protecting our growing children from certain images? First, we have to make sure all our values are of the highest standards possible, and then we can place limits on images. Maybe if we are at that point, we won’t need images to influence us at all.
Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.