Does Our Modern Media Onslaught Teach Kids Bad Behaviors?

In Children of the Knight, King Arthur, a man from medieval Britain transplanted to 21st Century Los Angeles, is appalled and fascinated by the television programs and music of modern America, and even more astonished to learn that most of it is aimed at children and teens.

He sees kids on TV using drugs in such a way that makes the activity look like a must-do for every viewer. He observes teens “hooking up” for causal sex, and others engaging in violent, often abusive behaviors. When he asks Lance about these “entertainments” and is told they’re mostly created for kids his age to watch, Arthur posits a question: “And if you or others your age engage in these behaviors, are you punished by thine elders or those in power?”

Lance suddenly realizes, as do Esteban and the other street kids later on, that all the anti-social behaviors modeled for them in music, movies and TV shows are exactly the same behaviors they get punished for on a regular basis, even though most of them grew up watching these kinds of shows and witnessing their older siblings (or even a parent) engaging in the same! The hypocrisy of a society that in every way possible teaches its young to be anti-social and self-absorbed and then punishes those youngsters for learning the lessons too well is staggering.

Hollywood and the music industry push the envelope further and further every year regardless of the damage they are doing to the children of this country. We’re a capitalist nation and I have no problem with companies making honest money. However, it would be really cool if these companies would exercise some restraint in the material they release, but restraint is sort of like self-discipline these days––a dirty word. The purveyors of this kind of material will always say it’s the parents’ job to shelter their kids from adult-oriented material, but that has become increasingly more difficult with newer and more efficient technology that make shielding kids virtually impossible, especially when the “adult-oriented” material is marketed straight at them!

Take the “F” word, for example. For kids today, that former obscenity is a noun, verb, or adjective depending upon how it’s used, and has become part and partial of daily conversation, among adults, too. This wasn’t a conscious decision on the part of society to expand the use of that word into every aspect of our lives because the country determined it would benefit everyone to do so. No, its use was incrementally increased over the years by Hollywood and the music industry until adults became so inured to hearing the word they don’t even blink anymore when their kids say it as a matter of course. Is this a good development for society and civilized behavior? Arthur doesn’t think so and he teaches his young knights civility and chivalry, two areas sorely lacking in America today. He recognizes that changing the overall behavior of these damaged children must begin with the small things, like use of language and how they address one another. Even calling each other “fool” is disdained by the king.

Can he successfully civilize these children that society has purposely made uncivilized and turn their collective might into something positive? Read Children of the Knight to find out.

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