Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Sunday, August 26, 2012

TV Viewing

I post this risking that I will be viewed as Puritanical.  So be it! But we are not.  We have two TV's.  But we make very specific choices about how we use them.

Parental choice is just that, choice.  We made a choice over 12 years ago to not let our kids watch live TV.  Even way back then, in 2000, we were seeing things on TV that made us, the parents of a toddler and an infant, cringe.  Now sometimes, yes, we do watch live TV, like when there are weather events that require our attention. 

Then comes this report:
New Study Nudity on Prime Time TV Up 6,300% Over Last Year

Nope, that is not a typo.  6,300%.

My daughters recently attended Schoenstatt Camp, a Catholic Camp for girls run by a beautiful order of secular Catholic Nuns called the Schoenstatt Sisters.  One topic they cover is "Media Choices."  One thing they provide to the girls is a nice little tent to put next to the TV that says, "What Would Jesus and Mary Watch?"  There were some camp missionaries there that reminded the girls that watching things that might be "just a little" offensive desensitizes our brains such that eventually, the kids can't remember what was offensive in the first place.  A lot of things work that way.

Pornography also works that way with boys.  They become desensitized to girls in bikinis.  Then, that's not offensive anymore and they move on.  And on.  At our last local homeschool conference, the keynote speaker also talked about this.  I was pleased to see that psychologists, two of them, who commented on the results of the research in this article agreed and even commented how pixelating body parts and bleeping swear words was just not enough.

She stressed that the pixilated or blurred nudity does not give the networks a free pass.
“The impact is virtually the same as actually showing it. Just as ‘bleeping’ an ‘f-word’ or ‘s-word’ is virtually the same as airing the actual word,” Henson continued. “It just calls attention to the thing that has been edited out.”
L.A.-based therapist Dr. Nancy Irwin agrees.
"Simulated or blurred nudity can be just as titillating as real nudity in the human brain. Upon any stimulus, the brain searches for anything remotely similar or familiar, and reacts in a similar manner," she said. "If something is missing -- as in pixelization -- the brain will fill in the blanks from the existing storehouse of knowledge. Indeed, it will work harder to do so than if the real image were there. This explains why fantasy is many times better than reality. It triggers our imagination, which is endless."

Isn't a girl wearing a bikini, in essence, just pixilating out certain portions of her body?  But I digress...

The truth is, there isn't much left Mary and Jesus could watch.  What we, as parents, consider worse are the commercials.  Live sports are wrought with commercials geared at young hormonal men.  It's not just the shows.  The commercials are just as bad or worse. So we hold fast to using the TiVo and prerecorded content to control our kids viewing because our choice is not to expose them to that.  Again, there are exceptions, but they are very few.

The sad part is, that when innocence of any kind is lost, it is lost forever.  You can not replace it, correct it, restore it.  It is replaced by experience.  Not all of those experiences are good or appropriate.

One of the great things about reading great literature and Great Books is that their meaning is timeless.  William Blake, a poet and artist from early 19th century England wrote a beautiful poem.  I hope you can appreciate it's beauty and truth.

From Songs of Experience
By William Blake

A Little Girl Lost

Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.

In the age of gold,
Free from winter's cold,
Youth and maiden bright,
To the holy light,
Naked in the sunny beams delight.

Once a youthful pair,
Filled with softest care,
Met in garden bright
Where the holy light
Had just removed the curtains of the night.

Then, in rising day,
On the grass they play;
Parents were afar,
Strangers came not near,
And the maiden soon forgot her fear.

Tired with kisses sweet,
They agree to meet
When the silent sleep
Waves o'er heaven's deep,
And the weary tired wanderers weep.

To her father white
Came the maiden bright;
But his loving look,
Like the holy book
All her tender limbs with terror shook.

'Ona, pale and weak,
To thy father speak!
Oh the trembling fear!
Oh the dismal care
That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair!'

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