Times Colonist

Popular culture damaging kids

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As a counsellor and educator I get asked,“What’s going wrong with kids today?” in reference to school shootings, kids living on the street, gangs, addictions, bullying, lack of a work ethic, lack of social skills, lack of language skills and, perhaps most sadly, a lack of ability to empathize.

I’m glad they are asking, and the answer is simple. I’ve asked hundreds of children age eight to 12 to name a single TV show where people are treated with dignity, compassion and caring.

All they can come up with is the science channel and Oprah.

Kids don’t understand sarcasm; they don’t “get” satire.

Today’s kids spend more time in front of a screen — TV, computer, iPod, cellphone, video game — than any other generation in history. And it shows.

I invite you to cast a critical eye on the messages delivered in all these media. (Don’t forget commercial­s, they are the worst.)

Look at how people behave toward one another under the guise of humour, sensationa­lism, voyeurism, commercial­ism or marketing.

Children imitate what they see and what they see every day, hour after hour, on all of those screens is violence, humiliatio­n, cruelty, sexualizat­ion and materialis­m.

Our kids need us. Susanna Kaljur Courtenay

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