Thursday, May 10, 2007

Go Wesley!

It’s time for me to become a broken record again, but I just read something that’s too good not to pass on and comment on.

Remember Will Wheaton? The kid from “Stand By Me”, “Toy Soldiers”, and perhaps most famously Wesley Crusher from Star Trek : The Next Generation?

A quick word on Wil… at first, I honestly couldn’t stand him. He came across as the stereotypically bitter ex-child actor. One who blamed his failing career on everyone and everything around him. His blog seemed to be filled with self-righteous and self-indulgent posts where he’d go off because someone recognized him as Wesley from Star Trek instead of recognizing him from the off-off Broadway play he was currently in.

Then, he sort of mellowed. Apparently, he had an epiphany at the Star Trek Experience in Vegas, and just lost his bitterness…and I’m glad he did.

Anyway, getting back off that tangent, he recently posted an article on parents, kids and technology that I think is just put perfectly. Here’s the excerpt I’m talking about:

“I've recently concluded that there is, in fact, an entire generation of parents, about my age or just a little older, who are substituting technology for parenting. As a result, there's an entire generation of children who are overstimulated and undersocialized, and in some cases heavily medicated, because their damn parents would rather distract them with a DVD or video game than, you know, interact with them.”

He goes on to say:

“There's a car commercial running right now that is an unintentionally powerful and disturbing commentary on how many people in this generation of parents are raising their kids. It starts in a school lunch room, filled with kids who are jumping and running around, throwing food, and generally raging out of control. A teacher tries to get them to settle down, and is ignored, so he flips down a little display, like you'd see in a car-based DVD player, and the entire room instantly turns into slackjawed, television watching zombies. What's the message here? "If you can't get your kids to listen to you, don't worry, all it takes is a little DVD action to do it for you, so you can get back to the peace and quiet you inexplicably thought you'd enjoy when you had seven fucking kids."

All I can say is “Fuck yeah! Right on, Wesley…I mean Wil.”

This is why I get so worked up about the whole ‘violence in video games’ issue. Don’t want your kids playing violent games? Watching violent movies? Spending all their time in chatrooms?

Try not buying them violent games and movies. Don’t let them spend too much time on the computer. Get involved and be a parent.

Long story short, as Wil states, too many kids are substituting technology for parenting, then going so far as to demand that the government step in and essentially ‘parent’ the technology that they themselves are using as a parenting substitute.

Essentially, the argument for censorship is bad parents saying “I can’t be bothered parenting my kids, and the technology I’m palming my parenting responsibilities off on is teaching my kids bad values.”

In the end, you can try and regulate the media to keep it as ‘kid friendly’ as possible. However, the only truly kid friendly media is one that a good parent has direct control over.

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