When I stop to think about what I would consider one of the greatest evils of this century, a lot of things can come to mind. War. Famine. Disease. Bigotry. These are truly evil things. However, I feel that there's one thing very few people think about but everyone in modern-day society relies on.
TV is evil? people might question me. I've always been less than fond of the "boob-tube", but lately my feelings on it have grown quite a bit stronger.
Take, for example, an article published today on CNN's website, based off a study done by the University of California Los Angeles. The study was regarding children from the age of 9 to 11-- more commonly called the "tween" years-- and what values they tend to hold above all else.
It found that above all, tweens value one thing above all else: fame.
The study, published in the Journal of Psychology Research on Cyberspace, found children aged 9 to 11 now hold “fame” as their No. 1value. Fame ranked 15th in 1997. This raises red flags for researchers, who say the shift in values over the last 10 years may have a negative effect on the future goals and accomplishments of American youth.
No exertions of morality or honesty or being accepted. No. Kids today want what they want when they want it, and they believe they deserve this because the almighty television tells them so. I've taken to call this the Entitlement Generation. Look at Disney's afternoon lineup, and you'll easily see what I mean.
Hannah Montana. Sonny with a Chance. Shake It Up. Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream. Just some of the shows they press on kids showing tweens becoming famous, getting on tv, or starting their own "super mega-band".
The list goes on and on, and that's just Disney. Take a look at the shows on other typical children's channels and you'll realize that the media is pushing kids to fame instead of hard work to achieve their ends.
Children today are inundated with assertions that they'll have control over their lives, get what they want, and always have a good time if only they can get to be famous. Who needs to get good grades or go to college when it'd be far easier to be "discovered"? Why worry about making friends, learning social social skills, and being responsible when you're going to leave all those friends in the dust when you're famous? Don't worry about being nice to people you meet; after all, soon they'll be seething with jealousy and licking your boots, DYING to be Just Like You.
"With Internet celebrities and reality TV stars everywhere, the pathway for nearly anyone to become famous, without a connection to hard work and skill, may seem easier than ever,” said Yalda Uhls, a UCLA doctoral student in developmental psychology and lead author of this study. “”When being famous and rich is much more important than being kind to others, what will happen to kids as they form their values and their identities?"
Morality in today's day and age has taken a steep downcurve. It's as easy to see as opening up the local newspaper or watching the evening news. The television-- undoubtedly THE babysitter of the 21st Century-- is certainly not helping the problem. The fact of the matter is that children are impressionable. They tend to believe what they see and take things at face value. And while any tween would balk at being called a child, they are simply that. Their intellect isn't fully developed, nor their standards of morality and other values.
In this day and age, both parents are often forced to work to make sure that ends meet, leaving tweens and young teenagers to their own devices. When everything on the TV screams at them "Go be famous!" and their parents aren't there to instill proper values in them, what else are they to think?
There's a simple solution to this problem, folks. Get rid of the television. Monitor your child's viewing and the websites they frequent. Start being parents instead of letting social medias raise your kids!
It isn't enough to just bemoan the glaring attitude problems of today's generation, shaking your head and washing your hands of it. These children are our future doctors, lawyers, and politicians.
Start DOING something about it!