Remember how when we were kids and sometime we would utter words which would prompt our mothers to exclaim “Watch your mouth or I’ll wash it out with soap!” That was pretty funny and I’ve always wondered how it would work: dragging a kid to the bathroom, lathering up his mouth with soap would scare kids to make sure they wouldn’t speak such ‘filth’ anymore. Since I’m the master of bizarre logic, I’ll go on a limb here and claim soap’s now being used for washing the extensive wardrobe women have now. What other possible reason could we have for kids that now freely exhibit Class-A abusive language.
Here’s an instance. Right across my apartment building is the area’s family park. Families, particularly women and children, gather there every evenings, nights and weekends to get away from home, get some activity for the kids, fresh air, etc. standing only my balcony gives me a whole panoramic view of the park to take in all the sights and sounds. The sights are mostly fine; it’s the sounds that worry me. It’s become quite common for me to see kids in groups without parental supervision engaging in abusive verbal sparring that would make George Carlin proud. Boys no older than 10 years of age experience no problem in constantly berating each other with harsh, foul and filthy language that is uncalled for, unethical, and above all, way out of their scope of understanding.
Saying, or yelling for that matter, all this abuse may sound ‘cool’ to these kids, but unfortunately its leading to a downward spiral of ethics. Sure when we got into our teens we would engage in such abusive language, but some of us would know the boundaries of ethics. Some of us would know when a genuine instance would be there to actually use the “F-Word”. These days however, it looks like the age limit and usage limit has decreased to accommodate more swear-words in a majority of the children.
What could possibly be the cause? Yes, I know I mentioned the whole lack of soap thing above, but that just can’t be it. What else? Hmmm… how about:
1 – Bad Company?
2 – TV shows?
3 – Movies?
4 – Video Games?
Oooooooooooooohhhhh, I know: “Lack of Parental Supervision”
Sure those 4 reasons above are just as responsible, but think about it. Isnt it obvious that all the other 4 happen due to lack of parental supervision? Parents, especially both that are working, tend to pay much less attention to their children after they come home from school. Kids can then watch whatever they want on TV, play whatever new violent edition of GTA that’s out, hang out with all their friends that may or may not be a bad influence, and then later in the evenings spend time with their parents to do homework. For all the parents know, their kids are little angels that could do no wrong.
Well sorry to burst the fictional halo over their heads, but parenting shouldn’t just be limited to homework. When I was a kid, my dad would keep an eye on the kind of cartoons I would watch, the kind of movies I’d rent out, or books that I would read. As long as every entertainment I had was age appropriate, everything was fine. I was probably the only kid that would rent movies making sure of their MPAA rating first. PG till I was 12, PG-13 after that, followed by 16, 18 etc, etc.
Looking at children nowadays and the way they act, is just the beginning. Growing up in such a scenario leads to exceedingly violent behavior at a lower age. It’s like Doogie Howser, only instead of a doctor, he could be turning the opposite. More violent, unethical, and God forbid, criminal.
Fact: instances of violent acts that lead to assault, attempted murder, and even murder have been reported where the perpetrator has indicated being inspired by the latest criminally intended movie or video games. Titles such as the ever popular GTA franchise have been rated over 18+ for violence, strong language, etc. Ratings are given to titles for a reason and where there is proper enforcement for such ratings leads to a more controlled environment. Unfortunately, a lot of regions do not follow or are not aware of these ratings.
Eventually it’s the parent’s responsibility to monitor and oversee what their kids are doing in their spare time. Instead of buying them DVD players, laptops, game consoles etc just so they can stay occupied, parents need to take an active part in their kids’ activities. This doesn’t mean that parents should completely impose themselves on their kids. Let them explore new things in life, so long as they’re treading the path they should for their age. Encourage outdoor activities such as cycling, cricket, etc so that kids can have freedom from their daily indoor routines.
So long as parents keep an eye on their kids and their activities, they should remain content that their children will be a positive contribution to society at large. Values are important for kids at an early age since that’s when their minds are most fragile and take more input, therefore its important that they get the right set of values. Ultimately, it’ll be the parents, teachers, older siblings, relatives or responsible adults that will have the largest amount of influence to a child’s life. Every life is precious; and a child is like a flower that needs the proper care to blossom.