More Senselessness from

More Senselessness from

September 25, 2010

Not another escapist, alarmist Tipper-Gore alarmist crusade, this one calling itself “Commonsensemedia” (allied, of course, with a corporate network, NBC) spreading yet more anxiety that “media has truly become ‘the other parent’ in our kids’ lives, powerfully affecting their mental, physical, and social development” followed by paranoid insinuations. One Commonsense PSA intones that “the average kid spends 9 hours a day with media,” followed by images of a younger teen playing violent games online while his mother believes he’s working on a school project.Another PSA shows preteen girls gyrating to a music video, warning, “kids love to mimic their role models” and “the world has changed.”

Damn right the world has changed. Today’s teenagers display among the lowest rates of murder, rape, violent crime, violent death, serious crime, sex offenses, early pregnancy, suicide and other self-destructive deaths, school dropout, and related ills than ever reliably recorded–with the biggest improvements among the youngest teens. Meanwhile, their middle-aged parents show among the worst levels of drug abuse, serious crime, criminal arrest, imprisonment, HIV infection, and family disarray of any midlife generation.

As evidence of the puritan anachronism of Commonsense, look at their reviews of TV shows. They bizarrely rate “Arrested Development,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “The O.C.,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “That 70s Show,” “Modern Family,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “The Soup,” “Chelsea Lately,” “House,” and similar mild, common-culture television fare as “iffy” (that is, possibly meriting parental censorship) even for older teens. Reviewers obsess over superficialities like references to “bitch,” “boobs,” “hell,” “damn,” “pissed off,” etc., that the average 14 year-old no longer even cares about, let alone suffers damage from. Like homophobia, fear of immigrants, and revulsion at interracial marriage, panic over fictional media images among the old invokes anxieties long left behind by today’s young people.

Meanwhile, where are the TV ads and campaigns with the “common sense” to point out that if “the media” really is “the ‘other parent’ in our kids lives,” maybe our kids and “the media” and “role models” they choose are doing a damn good job?

Where are the TV ads and campaigns with the guts, “common sense,” and genuine caring for “kids” to declare that a record 15 million American children and teens under age 18 now live in poverty, 200,000 are physically or sexually abused in their own homes every year, and that these uncomfortable REAL-LIFE CRISES are far more damaging to young people than FICTIONAL media images that are so much more fun to panic over?

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