In a Feb 12 Newsweek article, “Girls Gone Wild: What are Celebs Teaching Kids,” the authors, Kathleen Deveny and Raina Kelley, address the question, “Who’s teaching our kids morals?” The authors cite the numerous examples we see in the media (outside movies and TV shows) of pop-stars acting inappropriately. “Like never before, our kids are being bombarded by images of oversexed, underdressed celebrities who can’t seem to step our of a car without displaying their well-waxed private parts to photographers.”

They also talked with teachers and parents from around the country about this. One from
San Diego gives examples of how 7-year-olds’ vocabulary has changed. A mother from LA uses a new term to me, “prosti-tot” to describe young girls who dress and mimic the actions of the “Brit-pack” (Britney Spears, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan from this article). The profound affect of all the sex scandals is a coarsening of the culture and a devaluation of sex, love and lasting commitment.

The authors cite experts who say that attentive parenting, strong teachers and nice friends are an excellent counterbalance to increasingly sleazy culture.

As Christians, this shouldn’t surprise us. However, it should underscore the fact that “parent” is a verb. I have a 7-month-old son and amidst my drug post yesterday and this posting today, I’m already trying to balance age-appropriate freedom and parental control in my mind.  Parents are to guide their children. In order to guide, we need to live accordingly. This also means talking with our kids when “questionable” actions or even words are done/said on TV in their presence.

The authors discuss that being a parent is the key. “Kids learn good morals and values by copying role models who are close to them,” Michele Borba author of Building Moral Intelligence.  Parents need to understand and talk about the things that interest their kids – even if it is what
Paris is wearing – without being judgmental.

As parents, we control the purse strings. Few middle-schoolers have the disposable income to buy their own clothes, get breast implants, etc. It is ok for parents to say, “No.” Be a parent and then a friend.

Info from the article:
“For teens who aren’t getting strong messages about abstinence from their parents, the media can become a sort of ‘sexual superpeer.’”
A study from the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that 55% of teens exposed to a lot of sexual material had intercourse by age 16, compared with only 6% of teens who rarely saw sexual imagery in the media.

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