Youth need less exposure to violent language and images and more positive role models to reduce violence in our local community, that’s what the majority of respondents to the Free Press online poll said, and that’s important because it places the responsibility for violence in our community on our doorsteps.
The poll collected the responses of online subscribers over the last month on the subject of youth violence and what needs to be done. Most respondents seem to put a majority of the responsibility for the culture of violence in our youth on parental irresponsibility.
A clear 30.6 of respondents indicated that youth are exposed to excessive violence in their music, video games, and actions at home. Add to that another 7 percent of respondents that say parents are teaching violence in their homes by hitting, fighting and cursing each other in front of their children and we start to get a snapshot of the problem.
Placing that burden even more on families, 11 percent of respondents believe that youth are exposed to so much violence in their video games, television shows, gangster rap music and Facebook and YouTube shares, that it contributes to a tolerance of violence in the community.
A handful of respondents (1.4%) believe there is violence because young thugs get short sentences when caught. One group of respondents places the blame for crime on the schools for not teaching against violence in the classroom (7 %). Another group (11%) says violence in the community is the fault of churches and city government for not doing enough. Nine percent believe children should get more whippings at home.
One group supposes the problem of violence is just a male thing. They believe more positive male images (22%) would solve the violence problem.
The overwhelming majority of respondents place the blame squarely on parents and the homes. That’s something the city of Monroe Police Department or any government agency can change. It falls into the arena of what churches should be doing: teaching parenting skills and showing how home discipline, or the lack of it, bubbles over into the community.
Sometimes parents get extremely relaxed and fail to exercise diligence in shaping the values of their children. What does that more than anything else are: Video games, movies, TV, and music. Classroom teachers can talk until they turn blue, preachers can preach until they drop, but they are no competition for the Big Four.
For example, one of the most popular video games on the Market is “Grand Theft Auto V” This game glamorizes shooting, killing, rape, pimping, prostitution, drugs and sex. It has an “M” rating warning parents, but it’s parents who buy the game for their children and some play the game with them. (It’s so popular that this Christmas there is version 5).
It features very strong language, sexual elements including strip clubs, male genitalia, a cutscene in which one of the three main characters is having sex with another guy’s girlfriend. When someone is shot, blood spurts and players are instructed how to torture others using pipe wrenches, tooth removal, electrocution, and waterboarding. The characters in the game glamorize the use of words: f–k, c–t, s–t, and the “N” word. Characters rob stores, steal, and shoot police officers.
All of that is from one video game. Nearly all of the top videos feature similar violence, vulgarity, and lawlessness. People are shot, killed, blown up and the heroes become snipers shooting into crowds. There are cartoons on cable that feature children cursing their parents, characters having sex, fighting and shooting.
There are YouTube videos that feature children fighting each other. A parent who logs on to Youtube.com and searches for “Fights in Monroe Louisiana” will be surprised to see over 100 videos of Monroe youth punching, fighting, kicking and stomping each other to the cheers of crowds. The winners become local celebrities.
What this all says is that we have a big job ahead of us.
We can’t blame this on the white man or the rich folks. We are responsible for our own children.
The buck stops at our front doors.
We can’t pass the blame.