I used to be with “it”, but then they changed what “it” was. Now I’m with what isn’t it, and what’s “it” seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you!
That quote describes this rant in a nutshell. This goes along the lines of my earlier childhood programming rants, from the discussions about nostalgia and coming to terms with stuff from my youth versus 10 years later, to even the aspects that make things of today acceptable when they weren’t not too long ago. Of course, while there are things about our pop culture today that I still love, at the same time there are things I absolutely HATE about it. But at the same time, I always need to remember, things have slowly progressed in that direction, and we can either anticipate, or dread the thought of what will come next. I absolutely hate that in today’s pop culture it is even MORE obvious that everything has to revolve around sex sells, or living like it’s one big party, or has to revolve around the antics of so-called role models that get in trouble, or do things for the public to see and get blinded towards. Even on networks like Nickelodeon, on the same channels as great shows like Legend of Korra, we also have teen shows that revolve around self-image, peer pressure, child abuse, sexual identity, gang violence, self-injury, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, death, and a number of other issues. WHY?! it’s a KIDS NETWORK! WHY ARE YOU BRINGING THIS CRAP TO KIDS NETWORKS?! I mean I still look at shows from my youth and teenage years, and there were HINTS of stuff about relationships that adults understood, not at all to the extent that it is now. Why we want THIS to be part of pop culture I’ll never know.
And then also remember the parents. The things that were big for them are no longer “it” anymore, and their kids are growing up with a new “it” that has things that make the parents want to puke their brains out. And this happens EVERY generation.
My grandparents were married in 1945 once the war was over, and at their wedding they of course had the music of their time playing, but then THEIR parents who were witnessing were also there. My grandfather asked his mom, “so what do you think?” and she replied “this is the most godawful thing I’ve heard in my life.” And then I could only imagine what my grandparents felt during the baby boom generation, as their impressionable kids whom were born in the late 40s and early 50s were in their teens to mid 20s during the golden age period of sex, drugs, and rock and roll during the 60s and 70s… and then their kids became parents themselves during the 70s and 80s, whose kids grew up with Saturday Morning Cartoons, early Atari and old school Nintendo, plus you had the golden periods of MTV, glam rock, hip hop, and then of course grunge and alternative… and finally, the grandchildren started having kids during the 90s and 2000s, with their kids growing up during the periods of nickelodeon, Playstation and Xbox games, reality TV, TMZ, horrible dance pop crap like LMFAO and Gangnam Style, plus of course justin bieber and Miley Cyrus, and I can go on and on… I’m just generalizing here, so don’t say “hey those two things are eons apart!”
There is also the saying, if you don’t know how to use a gadget, find the youngest person in the room. Point is it happens every generation, and of course nowadays with tablet PCs like ipads, and of course cell phones having the same reliability and functions as desktop computers, not to mention we have an entire generation of kids that are locked onto such devices during most of their childhood, it’s much easier to get exposed to your pop culture today than it was before, not to mention the crap that is played on radios is so catchy it’s impossible NOT to have it stuck in your head.
I cringe every time I hear young kids singing songs by Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga, mouthing off What does the Fox say, “Oppa Gangnam Style…” The other day, my girlfriends 7 year old son was fed bacon for breakfast, and I hear him saying “This bacon is awesome!” to the tune of Thrift Shop…. and that is because A. when he rides with his mom she listens to pretty much anything, pop, country, rock… and of course he likes the catchy dance songs first because he remembers them. B. his older cousins expose him to a lot of that crap when he visits them C. he has started learning how to read and type, so his savvy mind around stuff like the PS3 and ipad means he can go on youtube and search for whatever he wants if I’m not careful. Often times he likes videos about Minecraft or Halo, and even though he doesn’t intend on it, there will either be very bad language said by the narrator, or a song will be playing and it’s something like Macklemore or crap like that… it’s gotten to the point where we won’t let him watch youtube videos on his own. He is so impressionable at this point that letting him laugh at the wrong things makes me irresponsible as a potential step dad. He was in the room that’s reserved just for my co-workers, and one of them did a motion resembling something that no kid should see until they’ve had the birds and the bees talk, and when I saw him laugh at it, I quickly told him, “no, you don’t laugh at that, that’s not appropriate for you.”
While he is often exposed to the language of my hockey co-workers, His mom and I do try our hardest to not let him get exposed to stuff like that, but I realize there is a point every kid reaches where you just can’t shelter them forever and you have to let them make their own choices over what they will take out of the pop culture, but you then have to get to the point, “okay what or WHEN do I as a parent have to try and shield them from it because it’s too inappropriate for them at that age?”
When kids start getting mass exposed to pop culture, and start wanting to go do things like go to more adult oriented movies, wear the fashions of the time that didn’t expose the same amount of skin as before your time, listen to artists with more grown up lyrics and even attend their concerts… you as the parent ask yourself, When do you start letting them watch PG13 movies… or even rated R? When is it okay for them to listen to music that has lyrics about subjects older people understand? When do you let them watch programs or channels aimed at older audiences?
No two sets of parents will have the same answer.
When you as a parent decide, “okay I’ll let them see this movie or listen to this artist.” You probably should look up and make sure if A. the content is acceptable both on the surface and on the inside or B. the kid understands that the content isn’t all clean and can still be mature and have fun with it. Or you just have your kid cover their eyes and ears during a “bad” scene.
Does anyone remember the episode of King of the Hill where Hank Hill tried to get “in” with his son Bobby’s musical interest and decide what was acceptable for Bobby? In that episode he and Bobby both get into a boy band together because on the surface they looked clean and “patriotic”, but then when they go to the concert, Hank Hill freaks out when the boy band starts stripping and doing the suggestive dance moves for the kids to copy, and thus pulls Bobby out when he sees him doing the same moves.
As funny as that was, this stuff still seems to happen a lot. Think about all the times you have had parents take their kids to a concert to witness on stage along the lines of Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Ke$ha etc. There was a recent yahoo news article about people taking their kids to a Ke$ha concert because it was advertised on the fliers and on the tickets as “all ages welcome.” only to witness her deliver a raunchy performance, and sing a lot of profanity and explicit lyrics in her songs… thus the parents got mad and protested it, some of them just got up and left. “hey it said all ages welcome, and she didn’t sing any of the clean versions of her songs and kept saying a lot of bad stuff in front of our kids, we didn’t like it one bit! How could she do this?” Duh! It’s fucking Kesha! How clueless are these parents to think that?! I hate that parents think that if they are taking their 10 year old to see Rihanna that THEY feel they need to be informed if stuff will be vulgar at shows. They need to remember who the hell they’re actually seeing! Do these parents even look up the lyrics to these songs? It’s not that hard! Just Google what the setlists usually are, then look up the lyrics to those songs, and viola! “oh, she sings a lot of inappropriate songs! I probably shouldn’t let her go.” Unless you’re going to something like a Christian rock concert, or something completely advertised for children, it’s probably not going to be an acceptable thing to take kids to see someone like Rihanna or Bruno Mars and expect these artists to cut down the suggestive lyrics, that’s just not going to happen.
If parents actually take kids to these shows, I can’t stop them. I’ve seen kids at Metallica shows too. Would I take a 7 year old kid to see it? No, because I don’t want him exposed to the other stuff, like unruly concertgoers, and especially the drunks and the smell of marijuana at the show at that age. If he’s 10 and I do a good job of making him understand what’s right and what’s wrong, then maybe.
One of the many responsibilities for parents is to teach their kid how does the world work. They need to teach their kids what is proper culture, and what should be avoided at all costs. With the changing times, you either have to adapt to it and figure out what is acceptable, and instill in the kid’s mind that either it’s okay and acceptable to be talking and thinking about it, or you gotta work your hardest to keep them as far away from it as possible until you think they’re ready. But their child does not fully grow up until they have learned to live and manage things on their own, and have learned the consequences of bad choices, failure, heartbreak, and especially loss of innocence. But the key is, they need to be the proper age. A 13 year old learning the consequences of having unprotected sex, a 15 year old learning the cons of drug use, a 16 year old getting drunk is FAR TOO YOUNG FOR THIS CRAP TO HAPPEN! My dad said while I was in high school, “if you get involved in this crap and want to grow up fast like that? Your ass is on your own.” And some of them NEVER in fact grow up and learn from their mistakes. They can see the wrong and see exactly what they shouldn’t have done, and THEY STILL DO IT ANYWAY!
There is also the question, “when is sheltering and limiting it to age appropriate stuff absolutely responsible, and when is it actually detrimental and irresponsible as they get older?” Think about the strictest parents, especially those who base their rules on religious beliefs. JMAP used to have a neighbor in Great Falls Montana whose parents were so strict, that JMAP was not allowed to mention anything about secular music to the kid, nor was he allowed to say his beliefs like “I support gay rights” to them. The kid grew up to be just as unintelligent and mean as they were. Now JMAP also says the kid in general turned out to be a very bad person for reasons unrelated to his parents, but I still think his parents were part of it.
Those that get extremely strict and shelter for too long it can be quite damaging, as when the kid grows up, he becomes absolutely clueless to the world around him, stays immature towards things outside his comfort zone, and either never adapts, or has to psychologically mature and catch up later to become a well-rounded productive person. The kid never getting to discover things at the right ages will end up leaving him to discover it later, and possibly become MUCH more indulgent in that behavior than he would’ve been if he was younger and had the guidance of his parents.
But then on the other side of that you have those that just let their kids run wild, and say “well they did it when I was younger, who am I to judge?” I know of a few moms who have teenage daughters that are practically allowed to be flirty and promiscuous. This mom allows her daughter to wear a lot of make up, wear revealing outfits on a daily basis, and even have sleepovers with boys. What is also sad is that sometimes I see teenage girls that are still 13-17 still present and make themselves look like they’re in their 20s and are fully grown adults, and their parents ALLOW it. What the hell does that teach them? What happens when that one night where the teenage couple gets pregnant?
With the amount of stuff that happens in today’s preteen and early teenage relationships, That just makes me sick. Also knowing that when I have kids, when they reach the tween ages, they will start having peer pressure over having relations just makes me want to vomit.
Bottom line, yes as scary as it is, perhaps we do have to accept that how the way things worked when we were kids will not be the same way when we raise kids of our own. The age that kids are hitting puberty is actually getting younger and younger, and on average is 3-5 years younger than it was at the turn of the 20th century. At the same time, things in pop culture of the time are hitting kids much younger than they did three to five generations ago, and thanks to today’s technology, they can be exposed to even more of it at the touch of a button rather than having to discover it. You can say that at the same time it is harder for the older generations to keep up, BUT… it actually is much easier for the parents to look it up, gain better understandings of what the thing in question is about, and helps them better decide what’s right and what’s wrong… that is if parents actually TAKE that time and do it the correct way. We don’t have to look at things on the outside and judge books by their covers in that sense, and instead we can look deeper in the pop culture figure and see if they indeed are the right kind of role models for your kid that you want your kid to look up to… which will be the topic of the next rant.