Thursday, February 5, 2009

Parent Education - February

This month's entry is from the book Reaching Teens in Their Natural Habitat by Danny Holland.
In one of his earlier chapters, Mr. Holland discussed the impact that television, internet, video games and music have on our children. He addressed the issue saying that parents need to monitor what their kids are watching, experiencing and listening to as the effects of being exposed to different media is alarming. Below is an excerpt from his book regarding video games.

"Nearly three out of four school-aged kids have a video-game system, which they play for about forty-nine minutes per day. And let me tell you, games today are not at all like PONG.

Grand Theft Auto recently passed Super Mario Brothers as the most popular video game of all time. It involves much more than stealing cars and driving around. The games in this series simulate criminal life. Players start as low-level criminals and progress to kingpin status. Along the way they have sex with, beat up, and kill prostitutes, and they kill other people with a variety of weapons including a golf club, a knife, a chain saw, a gun and fire. It even allows players to advertise their destructive deeds through tattoos in the exact same way real gangs use tattoos to communicate their criminal accomplishments.

The impact these games are having on our kids is still being researched. We do know, though, that video games have been used since the Vietnam War era to train our soldiers and that school shooters often do exactly as they have trained on their home simulators. In Jonesboro, Arkansas, for example, two middle-school students pulled a fire alarm, set up a military kill zone and opened fire on students and faculty. The military strategy they used was from a video game they loved to play called Soldier of Fortune. How can we justify marketing such video games both to our military for training in combat and to our kids for entertainment?"

The games he mentioned in his book are not new, however, it shows you a glimpse of what is out there to influence our kids. He offers six things parents can do to direct their teen's attention.

They are:
1. Recognize that distractions destroy dreams.
2. Train your kids and teens to guard their own focus. Only your kids can protect themselves.
3. Control the type of music, media, and teen entertainment that your kids are exposed to.
4. Starve wrong relationships. It only takes one person to destroy their future.
5. Allow and encourage relationships that enhance their focus on their life purpose.
6. If it doesn't feed, fuel, or fertilize positive focus, forget it.