A tolerance of violence may be desensitizing our culture | PostIndependent.com

A tolerance of violence may be desensitizing our culture

My Side
Evan Zislis
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

We can do better. For our children’s sake, we must.

Safety starts with teaching our children that violence is not OK – not at home, at school, on the playground; not in video games, movies, music or on TV.

But teaching isn’t enough. We must model nonviolence. Kids learn what they see us do, and try it for themselves. That’s nature. If we model violence, they will copy us. If we carelessly allow Hollywood to raise our children, we should not be surprised when our kids grow up emulating what they see.

And what they see astounds me. There is no progress for our species with the sensationalist violence glorified to our young people on the colossal, digitally enhanced, high definition screens of this country.

I’m not talking about censorship in the entertainment industry or the Second Amendment. I’m talking about common sense parenting. It starts with teaching our children that violence is not OK. It starts with intervening around the content our children have access to. It starts with conversations with our kids about what they feel, about healthy expressions of anger, frustration, fear and sadness.

We can do better and we must.

I’ve seen video games that disgust me. Murder, brutal and graphic, with a fast-paced soundtrack, vibrating hand controls, and a score board tallying points for every throat slash and brain splatter.

Are parents so oblivious to the impact these games have on our children? Are these ratings really age-appropriate? And are we really relying on the industry that profits most to decide what is appropriate content for our children? Have we completely lost our minds?

Why has this wantonly graphic material been made available to our children with so little regard to the social and emotional impacts it has on our impressionable young people? Are we so starved for entertainment that gruesome depictions of merciless violence are all we can conjure to satiate our appetites for creativity?

What is our collective future if our nation’s principal focus is the right to bear automatic weapons and the right to absorb as much violent content as possible? Are we so blind and naïve that we are unable to connect these dots? Is it already too late?

As parents, as members of our community, we can do better and we must.

Want to make a difference? Start with an inventory of your own tolerance for violent content. How de-sensitized have you become?

Consider how a tolerance for violence serves you. Consider how it serves your family. Consider to what extent violence has become ingrained on how you perceive the world around you – indeed, how you process your own emotions.

Reflect on this and consider if so much energy on assimilating violence into your psyche helps to make your community a better place, a safer place for our children.

I unplugged my television a long time ago because I was tired of being bombarded with so much violent content, actual and fictional. I decided that the imagery of anger and hate was no longer serving my life.

I get my news from NPR and follow up online, but I’m intentional with what I let in. The media thrives on sensationalist one-upmanship, but we don’t have to gobble it up like cattle. We can choose for ourselves and we have a responsibility to make appropriate decisions on behalf of our children.

Take a stand. Get involved. Do something.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Evan Zislis of Carbondale is founder and principal consultant of http://www.Intentional-Interiors.com.

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