Are kids learning bad behavior from the media?

Quit being such a bad example for our kids., September 19, 2014.

An excellent and thoughtful article by Greg Trimble with some serious concerns about the troubling way the media is affecting our kids. To be sure, basic issues like the glamorizing of sex and violence come to mind quite easily. But Trimble is writing about something at once more subtle and insidious: role modeling and values.

Draft Day movie stillHe uses the film “Draft Day” as a vehicle for his arguments. The film is built around the day that college football players are drafted into the NFL, but the idea is that a thirteen year old could watch this movie and “learn” quite a bit about sex, male-female relations, dishonesty, machoism, extramarital sex, etc, all within the confines of a PG-13 flick, and none of it very positive.

The idea is that the male characters use women for sex, show no real interest in the women as anything but sex objects, and find themselves in compromised situations through which they must find a way to some resolutions. But the makers of the film are not interested in anything like inspiring honesty or mutual respect between men and women but rather in selling their wares.

Trimble himself acknowledges that he watched the movie in the first place because he liked Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams,” and was looking for a kind of sequel. Not the case, he learned. So he was lured in by the film star and found not another peach of a film but rather a lemon.

Specifically, he found that, though the sexuality was hidden in shadow and innuendo, the guys took advantage of the women as they were supposed to. After all, they were insensitive and self-centered jocks who were making bank by playing a kids’ sport. But the problem is that the 13-year old watching the film may not have the capacity to see the flaws in these guys and rather sees them as role models. To be sure, the issue is played out on a subliminal level. The kid simply drinks in the raw data of the film and never, or at least not usually, has a mature discussion with anyone about the true meaning of how the men are treating the women, and vice versa, but rather simply incorporates the values and role models into his world view and hence his way of proceeding in his or her own life.