As the mother of two daughters and a son, I have to admit the future of my children scares me a bit. Not the children themselves as such, but the world that they will face.
An ‘onslaught’ if you will.
It really is scary what has been ingrained in our young people today. I was originally going to say “what they are exposed to”, but I think for many young people in today’s world, it has gone past that point.
We live in a world where appearance and marketing is everything. Self confidence is bred through the marketing of “embracing your body” rather than kindnesses done for others, personal achievements or using your brain or anything actually virtuous. “Adult” jokes are apparent in childrens’ movies and the line of what is suitable for children’s viewing is somewhat blurred. Pornography has become mainstream (50 shades of grey will be an old, outdated perhaps tame book and movie when my little ones are teens?). Erotic fiction is stocked in the “family favourites” section at the front of the bookshop. Porn is used on public billboards to sell everything from clothing to hearing aids…
And while some would argue that we live in a liberated society, surely all these things would constrain us and have more consequences than benefits. Already there is regularly two or three items on the daily news about sex abuse charges. Teens carry (potentially child) pornography on their phones that peers have sent them perhaps through “sexting”. With seemingly no awareness that this could be wrong, let alone that it could be illegal or have harmful consequences for themselves and others.
What is ingrained is how all this is normal. And it is somewhat unavoidable. Media is everywhere we turn. Marketing is so powerful that it grooms us from infancy, starting with programs such as Dora the Explorer and its merchandising, flowing onto corporate product placement funded Disney films and childrens programs and ending who knows where with the primary goal of creating a consumer. Society doesn’t want you for your brains or even for your beauty. Society wants you for your spending power and to be a blank canvas to manipulate to look just like the models on tv. Children spend twice the time they do at school with media, and have increasingly shorter attention spans for it. Media isn’t simply watched. It is multitasked. Facebook, while watching tv, while recieving a text message, while being advertised to, while listening to a song on an ipod. Have I forgotten anything?
How hard is it to parent or counter this? I haven’t even become the parent of a teen yet, I’m still working on this with toddlers! But working with teens frequently has allowed me to see what they see or hear of day to day. Behaviours that are stereotypical of teens (rebellions, drinking, sex and such), have escalated as the culture that we live in escalates what behaviours they expect. What are the standards we have to live by in modern society? That anything goes?
Why? Because we don’t challenge ourselves to have higher expectations of ourselves? Because they live in a world that is sceptical of morality in general? What is moral? It is all relative in modern society. Yet the true happiness so often plugged to be gained from all this is never really attained. We are never really satisfied. The rates of depression, mental illness, anxieties, suicide and abortion sky-rocket.
This is why it is so important to live counter culturally. To stand up against this way of living.
And that’s one of the reasons why I’m a Catholic. It offers a counter way of thinking and living. Something some would say is belonging to a brain washing, money hungry, corrupt society or organisation. On the contrary, have you not noticed the society you are living in?