Thoughts on a thriving life.
As a mom of two school aged boys, navigating the world of video games and movies is constantly on my radar. I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to find movies, televisions shows, or video games that I feel comfortable allowing my boys to watch. News reports are full of children and adults committing horrific crimes with little hope of things changing in sight.
Educator, author and founder of The Parent Coaching Institute, Gloria DeGaetano recently re-wrote her book on media violence. I was horrifically enlightened as I read “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill.” It details the effects we are already seeing in today’s society and encourages us to take action. The statistics were a wake-up call and fueled my resolve to be informed and engaged as I navigate this world with my boys.
I am excited today to introduce you to Gloria through this guest post. I feel privileged to have learned from her on so many levels. I encourage you, no matter if you have kids or not, to read her post, read the book, and spread the word because changing the world starts in our own homes.
Guest Blog by Gloria DeGaetano, educator, author, and founder, The Parent Coaching Institute
Many parents, unfortunately, seem to think that their children can handle M-rated video games. Nothing can be further from reality. Yet, so many moms and dads are looking the other way, while children as young as six years old, look at inappropriate content such as murder, torture, and prostitution for up to six hours a day.
In a new survey, 50% of parents weren’t keeping tabs on the video games their kids played. This is such a tragic situation. Have you seen the psychopathic and sadistic images in popular video games? Even in this age of “information” when supposedly we know so much more about child and teen brain development, parents don’t fully understand the relationship between their kids’ exposure to media violence and its impact on healthy emotional and social development.
I started the Parent Coaching Institute and the Parent Coach Certification® Training Program so that family support professionals would have a specific coaching system for helping parents make daily choices in alignment with their child’s brain development. I call it Brain-Compatible Parenting™. It’s a passion of mine to translate all the knowledge we now have about what makes smart, emotionally stable, and compassionate brains into parental actions.
This has been a two-decade uphill battle, even though it’s not rocket science.
Although laying down neural pathways is a complex process, it’s the simple things parents do that activates this complex process and makes mature brains possible. Simple things, like making sure kids get enough physical exercise, proper nutrition, and solid sleep that add up to big differences over time. And one thing is for sure in our media world, when parents monitor screen content, young brains have the best chances of growing optimally. If we leave them free as birds with their devices, they will fly so far away from our values we may not recognize them as adults.
I recently updated my book, co-authored with Lt. Cold Dave Grossman, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence (Harmony/Random House, 2014). The title is a bit misleading. The book is more about the risk factors of all kids when exposed to an on-going diet of media violence and what we can do about it in our homes, schools, and communities. And while only a fraction of kids will act out the murders they have rehearsed for countless hours while playing video games, most kids will be affected by media violence in becoming more aggressive, fearful, or more desensitized to harming others.
We are in a crisis of emerging mindless cruelty for our entire world if we keep allowing inappropriate screen content into our homes. One way to think about it:
If a stranger lived in our homes teaching our kids how to fire headshots with precision, or if we encountered a teacher in the school training kids to communicate with others so they would want to harm themselves, of course, most parents wouldn’t allow it. They would put a stop to it at once.
But with media violence, it’s a different story. We urgently need to change that story—now—by letting parents know about the serious side effects of media violence.
If you understand the brain science and if you know a parent who needs to connect the dots between their youngsters’ exposure to violent video games and their young brains’ inability to handle, filter, understand and resist the emotional havoc that these images induce, please, please discuss this with that mom or dad. Explain the vulnerabilities of young brains and why video games of violence and prostitution are not appropriate entertainment for children or teens. There is a reason these games are marked M. And there are so many non-violent, age-appropriate games, apps out there now.
Please talk with a parent about this today.
If not you, then who?
Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano. 2014. Used with permission.
Gloria DeGaetano, founder of the Parent Coaching Institute, has been a media literacy educator since 1987. She is the author of several books, including Parenting Well in a Media Age: Keeping Our Kids Human (Personhood Press, 2005) and the recently released (with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman), Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence (Harmony Books/Random House), 2014.
I'm exhausted yet refreshed.
For Mother's Day weekend, I enjoyed the gift of a weekend with my "sisterhood." The sisterhood are my girls. These woman have my back and have theirs.
When Zane was 5 months old, my also new-mom friend invited me to a mom's group. As a new mom struggling to understand my new role, the invite was just what I needed. What I did not know that first meeting was how these woman would change my life. Our weekly "play-dates" evolved into a group of woman I cannot image life without. We have invited each other into the good, the bad, and the ugly of our lives. Its humbling, challenging, and beautiful.
Life has moved some of us away but for one weekend each year, we meet-up, kid free, to enjoy just being together. We talk, laugh, eat, drink, and hardly sleep. Its glorious!
This year, one of my sister's phone somehow did not make it to our girls weekend and I left my phone charger at home...Mistakes that turned into gifts. On Friday evening I turned my phone off. I can't remember the last time I turned my phone off. I turned it on once of Saturday morning and once again on Sunday to check messages but no Facebook, no Pintrest, no e-mail all weekend long. The gift of unplugging this weekend focused me on just being fully engaged in the present moment. To enjoy the conversation, take in the view, and actively pursue the relationships right in front of me. It has challenged me to be conscious of this in daily life. To pick up my phone less and engage in my beautiful life more.
Below is a video I saw this past week. Its made its way through Facebook, but if you haven't had a chance to watch it, I challenge you to take a moment to do so. Its a simple message of the importance of the relationships. Our phone and the "social" media it allows us to engage in is not the relationships that fulfill us. How many missed relationship opportunities have we been robbed of by our need to be plugged in?
As I step into the week ahead, my heart is to put my phone down more and look up to see the people right in front of me. To unplug so I can plug into life right now.
As a woman, mom, friend, and lover of Jesus, it is my desire to live present and wholeheartedly in each moment of my life. Daily Rhythms is full of thoughts, encouragement, parenting information, and my personal journey in living wholehearted in the daily rhythms of life.