Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Violence in YA..Too Much?

 Author: TexasRose via Wikimedia Commons

      I haven't been posting as often because of vacations and with the clock ticking away at this impending labor and delivery. Any day now! And I'm so ready to go. I really hope I can continue to blog a few times a week or so. We'll see.

   Today Nathan Bransford posted about violence in the American culture, especially it's growing prevalence in YA literature. It's a great read and he brings up a lot of great points and questions HERE. Here was my comment:

   I, too, have been thinking about this lately. When The Hunger Games really caught the hype wave I was so disappointed because of what aftermath was surely to follow: a flood of books depicting children/teens fighting or competing to the death. Suzanne Collins wanted her books to be talked about, to raise awareness of the effects of war but I highly doubt authors publishing such similar books hoping to ride the success wave have that same motive in mind. And regardless of the motive, what a topic to flood our youth's shelves!

  (*Actually I've already read a review about a book that just came out with this very same idea. I confess, I ranted to my husband about it. I mean, you take all that time to write a book and you're stealing someone else's story bones to tell it!?!? And then you're proud of it!?!? Come on. Everyone knows you're just trying to ride the success wave of another author's hard work and creativity. If you want to talk about censorship, these are the books we really should ban! :) Back to my comment..

I'm against censorship but I don't agree with the idea of exposing our children to all of these things, through any type of media, just to "prepare them for the real world". Yes, let's not ignore it or pretend that bad things don't happen but you don't have to watch or commit cyber murder to understand that it happens. Or better yet, why don't we try to better our world so it's not supposedly best represented by violent video games and R-rated movies and books. Before anyone says anything, I DO believe that this particular topic is up to every individual parent and their own judgement for their own child. I just don't think it's a valid point for why violent literature/media is alright or why it's not potentially doing more harm than good.

I don't think you can argue whether or not such media creates murderers and bad people, but listen to the ways children talk and watch how they treat each other and's usually pretty clear what kind of entertainment is prevalent in their homes. There's no doubt these things influence, it's more a question of how much and how harmful an influence?

(end comment)

    Simply stated, I just don't think that in order to teach my child about fear (of which there is a LOT of in this world) I need to scare him. Or, that by scaring him he is any better prepared to handle real fear when it inevitably shows up in his life. You can tell which way I'm swaying in the Violence in YA media debate.

   I think too many people are debating the wrong issue...we butt heads to debate whether or not to allow such media to exist and whether or not that's ethical. But I think the real issue here is that it's going to exist no matter how many mothers get up in arms over the release of another Modern Warfare type game and how we are going to deal with it in terms of our children's exposure to it. Also, how available or prevalent we're going to make such media be to our youth. As shown below..

    A while back there was a question brought up on Agent Janet Reid's blog where she showed a picture of an erotica cardboard advertisement set up towards the front of the store and displaying a few of erotic books underneath it. It was easily seen by children coming into the store. A mother had spoken up about it to the management asking them to please move it to a different, further section where children would not be subjected to it. I was so surprised how may commented that they were not in support of this mother's actions because they believed it was ok for their children to see those things. I think, again, the debate is not whether or not your child is influenced by it (they are, it's really more about how much and how harmfully) but what you do when it comes up in their faces. Censorship is not asking them to move the stand to another area, rather, it's allowing both sides to get what they's not in the faces of children whose parents believe it's too mature for them, and those who think it's fine aren't hurt by their children missing out. And if they want them to see it they know which section it's in.

   It's like the great debate on gay rights and bullying in school..I think we miss the mark. So many parents tell their kids "It's right, don't stop at anything to defend it" or "It's wrong, don't stop at anything to put it down". And these kinds of talks are getting students beaten up and killed. Really, we should be teaching our kids what our own family's belief is and further more, that other people won't believe the same things we do but that we need to treat them equally and with respect. In this school situation, where gay youth are getting beat up and even killed, who cares if this child is homosexual or not when the greater issue is HIS/HER LIFE and safety. And we need to be teaching our children how to respect that life regardless of if they live it the same way we do or differently. Too many people are getting caught up in "right verse wrong" and not realizing the effects of their anger and intolerance on their children.

 End of rant. This is probably as political/ morally opinionated as I will ever get on this blog. Both politics and morals bug people so I don't want a lot of it here. I guess Nathan just opened the flood gates today and I had more to say about it then I thought. Again, these are my own personal thoughts and I tend to think differently then a lot of people.

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