The Desensitization of our Youth

With mass shootings being the new norm here in the Wild West, I want to go on record and say THIS VIOLENCE HAS TO STOP! We must come together as a country, as a nation, as human beings, as mothers and fathers and stop this madness. Stop this culture of violence. Why are we so focused on hate?

It is horrifying to me every time I hear about another shooting at a mall, a school or a movie theater and now a college, WTF!!! Until something is done, this will continue to happen.

I ask myself, where did we go wrong?
I sometimes wonder why I have brought children into this world?
This violent, hateful world… this wonderful, beautiful world.

After the Newtown shooting, I tried not to think about what their little minds were thinking right before they were killed. I can’t help but imagine my children in a situation like Newtown or Roseburg. In Newtown, I thought about if they had time to feel fear? If they had time look at each other? If they were holding hands? Crying?

So many questions. No answers.

Do I blame the shooters? No. I blame the mothers. I blame the fathers. I blame TV. I blame movies. I blame video games. I blame our values. I blame our culture. We all fail these shooters as we continue to fail our youth. We continue to devalue the importance of family. I barely have time for my children… we are trying to survive.

Arguments abound that there is no direct statistical link where watching violent movies or playing violent video games leads to more violence (despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence to the contrary). My son tells me he knows the difference between killing someone in a video game and killing someone “for real.” He is 10. How can he know this? He says to me, “Why don’t you trust me?” With tears in his eyes… he is devastated. He is in 6th grade, middle school. I can see the fear in his eyes, wondering how he will ever fit in with the other boys his age.

Parents, are we desensitizing our children?

I have tried to shield my 10-year-old child from violence. I have tried to protect him. But all of his friends play Call of Duty – a game rated for 17+ and they were playing it at eight years old. Many of his friends play it with their parents. Many of his friends have read the Hunger Games books (for those of you who have lived under a rock, Hunger Games is a series of books and now movies, where kids kill other kids, violently). This is their normal. The movie was rated PG13, much to my surprise. I read the book. It’s not PG13 material, in my opinion. PG13 for my son’s friends means they will see it opening day. My son has not seen Hunger Games.

I blame the parents, including me, for succumbing to peer pressure. I was at Toys R Us buying my son Halo 4 the day the Newtown tragedy occurred. I asked a young employee there if Halo 4 was too violent for a 10-year-old (the cover showed a 17+ rating for blood and violence). The employee’s response, “You would be the coolest mom ever if you got him that for Christmas.” It felt wrong that I was buying this game on that day. But I did it. I did it because I didn’t want my son to feel like a freak. I didn’t want him to be the only 5th grader not playing Halo 4. There is a part of me that believes he must play these games to protect himself. He must desensitize himself because the world he lives in seems to be increasingly violent. A world of drones, robots and remote killing… this is the new reality. If I don’t expose him to this, aren’t I doing him a disservice? Is this the answer?

To this day, I will not allow him to play Call of Duty. I can’t go there. I am pissed off at the parents that buy those games for their kids; that buy Call of Duty for a ten-year-old, that buy Halo 4 for their nine-year-old. I’m angry for being put into this position, where my son is begging me for a video game that he should not be exposed to at such a young age. [My oldest son is now 13-years-old and I allow him to play Call of Duty but no more than two hours per week. The rest of the time I push Minecraft on him. Total game time for all my children is five hours per week and no gaming during the week at all. I have no idea if what I’m doing is right. It feels right. I still hate Call of Duty and I talk to him about the violence, the brutality, and the reality that guns kill people.]

Do other parents remember their childhoods? We didn’t have games like this. We didn’t have violence like this. My parents didn’t allow me to see rated R movies (now the equivalent of PG13) when I was 10. I wonder, am I alone in this belief? I have found some moms who share my beliefs, but they are few and far between. Even in a violent culture, parents are still parents. It’s my job as a parent to protect my children from violence and their exposure to it. Why should I care what the other parents are doing? I shouldn’t, but it’s hard to stand alone.

What if all parents banded together and decided not to expose our children to violent video games and violent movies until they were older, much older, at least 16, if not 18. Would we still have children killing children? Would we still have mass shootings? Ask yourselves these questions. Take a pause and think this through. Which studies have been done on desensitizing our youth from 6 years old? Even basic child development research verifies that young children mirror what they see, and their brains cannot discern between fantasy and reality. Violence begets violence. Hate creates more hate. Anger brings more anger. Can anyone honestly say that this is not true? This seems like common sense to me.

If instead, our children played adventure games with no violence, watched comedies and family movies, and were exposed day in and day out to a non-violent world – would our world change? Even a little? Would it be a little more peaceful? Don’t the majority of us want the same things? Love. Happiness. Success. Joy. Peace. Safety. Don’t the majority of us want this for our children and their children?

How many more random acts of mass killings do we need? If this is not a time for change, when is?

It’s time to evolve.

Read this Research Report Comfortably Numb. We have the facts. It’s all right there in front of us.

Now read the SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE on the study of guns.

Now read why we are all responsible.

Now let’s do something about it!

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