A friend of mine was upset when she saw a photo of a gun on a fourteen year old’s MySpace profile and I maybe I’m daft, but I don’t see why this upset her. Her reply was because he was a child and that children shouldn’t have pictures of guns and then she asked if I had a fourteen year old, would I allow them a picture of a gun on their MySpace? Let’s pretend my fourteen year old HAD a Myspace (which is questionable), but if they did, then why can’t they have a picture of a gun? A picture doesn’t hurt anyone. If some innocent child stumbles across this, sees the picture of the gun and then is so open to suggestion that they shoot someone my questions are:
1) where did they get the gun?
2) where were their parents when they were web surfing?
3) where were their parents when they were getting the gun and doing the shooting?
In order for this child to shoot someone he has to pick up the gun, point the gun and pull the trigger. A gun, on it’s own does nothing, and neither would a picture of a gun.
Oh-ho! you say, yes it does! It makes guns acceptable for children!
Well, on that note I have another question: define child? I guess maybe I’m screwy, but a CHILD is not 14 or 15 etc. When “children” are at the age of puberty, they cease being children and become young adults. Perhaps, if people viewed them that way and tried to help them to realize they aren’t children anymore, we wouldn’t have even half of the irresponsible ridiculous behavior we have from them. But, instead we tell them “You’re just a child! You need protected! You need coddled from the world and wrapped in cellophane!” And why? Is it to make sure that our children have a better life then we did? That they don’t discover the horror’s of the world too soon and become jaded? Well, news flash if they go to school they know all about society by the time they’re twelve years old. Maybe I’m sick, but I’d rather they discovered the nasty dark side while I was there to explain it to them, instead of having some kid on the bus tell them about life. Face facts, the world isn’t pretty, and slamming children into cages only makes them all the more irresponsible and angrier.
Maybe I’m odd, but I can remember clear back to when I was 2 years old. So, I remember being 12, 13, 14 etc. And let me give you a tiny hint, I haven’t changed a helluva lot. You don’t. This idea that there’s a magic age where “children” suddenly become adults is ludicrous! I was 17 one minute, 18 the next and guess what? Nothing happened. No sparkling fairy lights, no sudden wisdom, nothing. It doesn’t. being 18 – or even 24 – didn’t make me any wiser, or better equipped at making a choice. What does make people able to make choices is knowledge, and refusing to allow kids knowledge guarantees bad choices.
It’s like art. My favorite artist is Boris Vallejo, and if you’re not familiar with him I’ll tell you now 99% of his subjects involve some form of nudity. Oh! no! nudity! How terrible! Nudity on the internet or in a book where a child can see it! Well, here’s another shocker for you: small children don’t realize there is anything wrong with nudity! If you took adults away, kids would run around naked! They have to be taught that nudity is something to be ashamed of, and something “dirty” or “bad.”
I admit, there are pictures and movies I don’t want children in my charge to watch, but much of the time it’s not because I think they’ll be upset, it’s because I don’t want to explain it. It makes ME uncomfortable. And right there is the root. We shelter kids to protect OURSELVES from the questions we don’t want to answer.
If a child, on their own, is uncomfortable with seeing a painting of a nude then that’s their personal choice. If they aren’t, then they aren’t, but shrieking and covering their eyes won’t make a difference either way. They are what they are. My brother and I were allowed to watch a lot of movies that some people would say “Well!” to, and you know what? If we didn’t like it we left. We had feet and were able to make our decisions. Maybe people should treat children like PEOPLE instead of like some innocent puppy dog. Instead of sheltering them so that when they hit 13 they suddenly rebel and rip off all their clothes…
You know what I did to rebel? Nothing. Why? Was it because I was just so dull? No, I had nothing to rebel against. My mother communicated with us, treated us as though we were viable human beings and hence gave us some room, and it left us with nothing to do to rebel. I admit, it made teenagedom dull, what was the point? In fact when they divorced and Dad imposed the midnight curfew on school nights, we were home earlier than normal. Why? It was no fun staying out until the last second when everyone else had to be home by eight o’clock and there was nothing to savor in it. Why bother?
I’m not saying give kids a midnight curfew, or let them go wild, or show them pornography, or anything else ridiculous or outlandish )there is a difference between artistic nudity and porn). What I am saying is that maybe if parents allowed children to make decisions for themselves at an earlier age, and then allow them to actually SEE the consequences of those choices, then just maybe they wouldn’t end up doing as much stupid later, and being quite so terribly surprised when it all goes wrong.
Just my random thoughts on the subject. I’m just sick of teens’ bad decisions being blamed on society as a whole for making it available. Where were their parents at? Why weren’t they paying attention? My parents knew all of my friends, they knew my friend’s parents, they knew everything that was going on; in fact my mother used to read my notes from some of my friends. Not because she demanded to, but because I gave them to her so she was in on the loop. It was easier than paraphrasing. But then, I wasn’t just a child, I was a viable person, with viable thoughts, feelings and choices, and I wasn’t being suffocated by bubble wrap.