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freeman801
10-07-2009, 12:11 AM
I was in my comic book store the other day when a twelve, maybe thirteen year old child wanted to buy a horror comic. I had already read the book since it had been out a couple months and remembered it being VERY violent, with torture, blood, guts, you name it.

My comic book guy, Matt, looks at the kid, looks at the comic, and says. "I hate to be a pain, but I don't think I should sell this comic to you."

The kid rolls his eyes. "Why? It‘s not illegal."

"We can’t sell Mature rating comics to minors without parents permission. Its store policy. I also know what is in the book, and I just don't feel good selling it to you."

He rolls his eyes again, shrugs, then walks out the door.

Five minutes later his mom comes in, walks up to the counter with her son, and hands Matt the money. "My son can buy this comic. He can buy any comic in here except those with nudity or sex in it. But other than that, sell him anything." She said the bolded words like they were curse words.

Matt nods, shocked. He rings up the book and the customers leave.

We both looked at each other, our mouths hanging open. This comic even made me squeamish at parts, and she is letting her twelve year old son read it!?

Matt and I then ranted. God forbid he gets a look at a nude body. God forbid he looks at something that everyone has done or will do in their lives, which is completely natural and wonderful. Instead he is aloud to look at torture, murder, and abuse. It doesn’t even have a happy ending! He is allowed to witness anti-social behavior where the killer goes after females more than males, and mutilates them. But he can’t read/see a comic with one scene of brief nudity, even though the rest of the comic could be the best written comic ever?!

Needless to say, it confused us.

And still confuses me.

Yesterday I came upon something like this again.

I was watching Stargate: Universe. And in the first fifteen minutes of the show there is a sex scene, no nudity, just some groans and breathing and revealing skin. It seems they like each other a lot, may be in love. It lasted ten seconds maybe? The rest of the show didn’t have anything else like that.
After the show I read a review. The person complained that Stargate is a family show, and it was no longer family friendly due to the sex scene.

Never mind that in Stargate SG1 the first episode ever had full frontal nudity. And the rest of the series had people being murdered, tortured, and enslaved. That’s family friendly? And its not just the aliens killing, torturing, or enslaving us. Its we humans killing other aliens, sometimes with no moral implications.

I am by no means saying I don’t like this stuff. I love Stargate, my favorite TV show! I am also a comic nerd. I enjoy everything, from the violence to the sex to the nudity. That’s life. Deal with it.

I am against censorship in all forms. But censoring your kids to well done brief nudity and feeding them mutilation and torture? But saying a television show is a family show and it is ruined due to an alluded sex scene where the WHOLE series has been about people, humans, being murdered, enslaved, tortured? (Of course there are humans fighting against this also!)

Doesn’t make sense to me.

Your thoughts?

Wayne K
10-07-2009, 12:14 AM
"Excuse me mam, but a parent must accompany him to buy this material for each purchase."

"But..."

"Next."

Williebee
10-07-2009, 12:14 AM
my thoughts?

just one.

yup.

Jcomp
10-07-2009, 12:28 AM
I still sort of abide by my idea that violence is more familiar to kids than sex just by the nature of life itself, and that's why we are generally more accepting of kids viewing / reading about violence than sex. I do think people often take it to extremes, there's a lot of violent stuff I wouldn't allow my kid--whenever he or she may come into existence--to read, watch, interact with via the medium of video games.

But from as far back as I can remember, violence was easier to understand than sex. Not always confrontational or deliberate, but it was present. It can appear in the sports children play--even the less / non-violent ones like basketball and baseball. You can see it in an accident on the playground where a kid breaks his or her arm. Its aftermath is visible in the roadkill on the highway, the broken neck of a bird on the ground after it's crashed into a window. There's even, I think, a vague understanding at a fairly early age amongst non-vegetarian kids that some violence was committed upon the formerly living slab of meat now resting on their dinner plates.

Violence, at that age, is more readily present than sex. It's understandable, in my opinion, for parents to be more tolerant of violence (within reason) than sex.

GraysonMoran
10-07-2009, 01:01 AM
But from as far back as I can remember, violence was easier to understand than sex.

Not to mention easy to come by.

Strange Days
10-07-2009, 01:13 AM
I don't see what's wrong with nudity in violence. Period. Kids do start talking about women in sexual way probably around the age of 11-12. As far as I remember my own childhood, at least. And kids do enjoy it. What's wrong with that?
But then- what's wrong with violence either? Comic books? Ha! Most famous classic children book (for ages 4-7) - "Shockheaded Peter". I don't remember what century it belongs to, but way before 20th. Kids (and people around) die there. Horribly. One bleeds to death after his fingers get chopped off. The girl burnes to ashes after playing with matches. And kids stomached it all right. And Hauff's and Hoffman's tales too. Yes, including the one where a Man Eater butchered a girl, pickled her body and ate it... Modern comics are by far weaker than those CLASSIC tales... And yes, now what- prohibit kids from listening to Alice Cooper, too?

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 01:29 AM
But from as far back as I can remember, violence was easier to understand than sex.

When you put it that way, it makes sense. I guess it's not that hard for people to let their kids see movies or drawings depicting violence and still teach them that violence is bad. Maybe they want to protect their kids from seeing sex because while sex is good and natural, it is also for adults. I don't really think that telling kids, "you're too young to see this" is the same thing as teaching them that it's bad. Likewise, allowing them to see something is not the same as teaching them that it's good. Especially if the kid is 12, as opposed to a very young child.

I know that when I was an adolescent, I had a hard time understanding why certain sexual behaviors were for adults, because I was "mature for my age" and all that. But yeah, it IS for adults, and not 12 year olds.

As for the nudity, I don't really agree with that. But I will say that when I was 12, any comic book that had nudity in it was usually pretty sexual. There were some skimpy outfits, but there wasn't a lot of artistic nudity. Nudity in comics usually meant porno comics. Likewise, most sex scenes were implied unless...well, you get the idea. ;)

veinglory
10-07-2009, 01:41 AM
Isn't nudity easier to understand than violence. I mean we are born nude.

Jcomp
10-07-2009, 01:54 AM
When you put it that way, it makes sense. I guess it's not that hard for people to let their kids see movies or drawings depicting violence and still teach them that violence is bad. Maybe they want to protect their kids from seeing sex because while sex is good and natural, it is also for adults. I don't really think that telling kids, "you're too young to see this" is the same thing as teaching them that it's bad. Likewise, allowing them to see something is not the same as teaching them that it's good. Especially if the kid is 12, as opposed to a very young child.


Great, great point as well. Hadn't thought about that really, but you're right.

As for nudity, I'm actually with you on that, but it is indeed fairly rare to find examples of nudity (or even--dare I say--just examples of female characters nowadays) in mainstream comics and other forms of mainstream entertainment media that aren't primarily there for titillation as opposed to authenticity or some other pursuit.

veinglory
10-07-2009, 01:58 AM
To a viewer who doesn't understand sexuality, nudity really can't be titilating--no matter how it is depicted.

Toothpaste
10-07-2009, 02:06 AM
So sex is for adults, but violence is for everyone?

I think the idea that sex and nudity are less prevalent when you are younger speaks more to our society than to a general truth about humans. There are tribes out there where the people are basically nude all the time. And the greatest of art deals often in the beauty of the human form. There are many other cultures who can view nudity as simply that. The idea that nudity is tied in with sexuality is one that western society likes to push forward, and has made a naked body little more than a sex object.

The idea that kids come across violence more easily than sex is also kind of untrue. I'm not talking about watching two people go at it, though again, I have to wonder, what would be wrong with that really - showing two people who love each other demonstrating that love? But I'm talking about it in the same way as someone describing violence as kids roughhousing or seeing a dead animal. We have examples of sexuality on that level all the time too. Kids playing kissing games (I did when I was 5), kids hugging. The girls chasing the boys around the yard. Parents showing affection towards each other by holding one another and kissing.

Let's face it. Violence is more acceptable because it has not been as stigmatised as sex. It's very simple. Heck look at religion. Catholic priests aren't allowed to have sex, for example, but the church has no problem giving a sermon beneath a man nailed and bleeding on a cross. This idea that we have some universal truth that violence is easier to accept than sex is wrong. Our society has created that division. Now of course we have to function within that society, and make our own decisions as to how to raise our children. But I utterly disagree that violence is just more innately palatable.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 02:10 AM
I think what it comes down to is very few parents forsee their kids partaking in deeply violent behavior, but sex and all of its negative ramifications (disease, pregnancy) is a much more imminent possibility, more and more at a young age.

Toothpaste
10-07-2009, 02:17 AM
I think what it comes down to is very few parents forsee their kids partaking in deeply violent behavior, but sex and all of its negative ramifications (disease, pregnancy) is a much more imminent possibility, more and more at a young age.


Depends on where you live. I'd say actually most kids on the planet have a far more intimate acquaintance with violence than we'd like to think.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 02:26 AM
Depends on where you live. I'd say actually most kids on the planet have a far more intimate acquaintance with violence than we'd like to think.

I agree. But it's all about the perception in our society. Will little Tommy be more likely to grow up to imitate the murderer he sees in the movie, or have sex like he sees on TV? I think most parents are resigned to the fact their kids are going to grow up and have sex, but it's a matter of when.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 02:29 AM
So sex is for adults, but violence is for everyone?

Uh, no. Just because you let a kid see something doesn't mean that you automatically teach them that it's a good thing.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 02:33 AM
To a viewer who doesn't understand sexuality, nudity really can't be titilating--no matter how it is depicted.

I don't think that really applies to 12 year old boys.

ChristineR
10-07-2009, 02:50 AM
Comic book nudity is light years away from "It's 110 degrees and raining so we all walk around naked" nudity. Comic book nudity is (almost always) designed to titillate. It has huge inflated breasts on tiny little stick figure girls who would fall over if they actually existed. It has enormous butts sticking out so far that the girls would have trouble walking. And there's almost no male nudity in comics at all, but when there is, it's just as titillating and unrealistic, maybe more so, what with guys with triceps so huge that they couldn't actually even use their arms.

I don't know, I do agree that our society has strange ideas about sex and violence, but people will usually do things like point to porn movies and horror movies, and say something like "I'd rather have my kid watching and imitating the porn than the horror!," when porn itself is so constricted and unnatural that it's ritualistic.

veinglory
10-07-2009, 03:03 AM
I think you are stereotyping comics. Graphic novels are a format--you can by sexually demeaning one, violent ones, or ones that won literary rewards. Remember in respecting out fellow writers that some of us write comic books.

Also you can't have it both ways, either sexuality it hard to understand or it isn't. Developmental studies demonstrate that nudity has no meaning to kids until the onset of sexuality. I had to sit through a very long presentation on this when comics were considered for a rating system in NZ. In the end voluntary systems were deemed sufficient.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 03:20 AM
Also you can't have it both ways, either sexuality it hard to understand or it isn't. Developmental studies demonstrate that nudity has no meaning to kids until the onset of sexuality.

"the onset of sexuality" does not equal "complete understanding of sexuality."

Chasing the Horizon
10-07-2009, 03:55 AM
I'll never understand censoring what kids read and watch, probably because my parents always let me read and watch whatever I wanted. I'm sure not seeing sex as something mysterious or forbidden contributed to me being so much less interested in it than most of my friends. All the exposure to violence seemed to have little effect either way. I enjoy violent books and movies, but am not particularly inclined to violence in real life. *shrug* I've tried for years to understand what the big deal is, but apparently it's just beyond me.

GraysonMoran
10-07-2009, 04:02 AM
I mean we are born nude.

We're born violent, too.

Alpha Echo
10-07-2009, 04:14 AM
I didn't read all the posts, so someone may have all ready said this, but...

I don't read comics, however, my thought is this. Violence, for most humans, is so obviously wrong. I doubt there are many parents that even have to teach that the blood and gore is bad. I mean - a fight on the playground is one thing. Whether to fight back is one thing. But as far as the violence on TV, in movies, in comics and other books - it's obviously wrong. It's usually the 'bad' guy who initiates it.

Sex and nudity, on the other hand, is something that is desired by everyone. It's something everyone get curious about at some point. I mean, boys are very young when they realize touching themselves feels good. I'm a chick, and I was pretty young when I realized touching my body felt good. And sex is for adults.

So perhaps, the reason adults seem to be more against their children seeing nudity and sex is because those are things the kids are going to want. Violence - for most - is something no one wants to really be a part of. Some might think it's cool to see - we all crane our heads as we drive by an accident. We're curious. But do we want to be a part of it? Hell no. Unless we're the "good" guy.

virtue_summer
10-07-2009, 04:20 AM
My parents didn't censor and I have never understood all the controversy. I mean none of us would exist without sex, right? So why not recognize it as just another aspect of life, which it is? Then parents could focus on discussing the real issues surrounding it with their children rather than trying to hide its existence altogether.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 04:36 AM
That's something I don't get about American values: graphic violence is fine, even a family value for some, but nudity and sex? That's like "you go straight to Hell." Compared to the Europeans, I really do think we have it backwards.

But that's just me.

Apsu
10-07-2009, 05:19 AM
I agree. But it's all about the perception in our society. Will little Tommy be more likely to grow up to imitate the murderer he sees in the movie, or have sex like he sees on TV? I think most parents are resigned to the fact their kids are going to grow up and have sex, but it's a matter of when.

I'm with katiemac on both of her posts. As a parent, I avoid sexually explicit tv and movies. I avoid over-the-top violence as well, but don't have a problem with your average action movie.

Why? My wife and I had children as teenagers. It totally dominates the course of your life, limiting your options, and, for the most part, who will even be friends with you.

I don't regret it, and if my children choose that life that's fine, but sex in movies, on all levels, moves you toward something that is a very common direction you can easily pursue. Barring the odd case of a child sociopath, the options to choose if you are highly driven emotionally from watching violence on tv and movies are joining the military or police or some such, which are not limiting your options, offer a large social base, and are more difficult and deliberate to pursue.

That's completely ignoring disease of course, but if my children want to grow up and serve their country as a soldier or cop, that's fine. It's their decision. If they end up with diseases and unwanted pregnancies, their options start to be dictated for them rather than pursuing their dreams.

I don't know if that was that clear, but it's time to go work on my book.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 05:39 AM
But why does nudity and sex assumed to promote unwanted pregnancies and STD transmission? To me, in fact, the problem with American culture is that "sex" is such a taboo that the teenagers tend to "act out" even more without getting the correct information to protect themselves. Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancy and STD rates in Europe (which has a much more liberal view on sexuality in media) are actually lower.

Plus, where are the parents? Do parents talk to their kids of sex? Do they use what's in movies and on TV to spark conversations about responsible behaviors, or do they rather avoid talking about sex at all? Is it healthy to pretend sex doesn't exist and that teenagers are going to abstain? To me, this "hush hush, we don't talk about this" attitude (we hardly have any graphic sexual content on TV or movies, relatively speaking) is why we have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the industrial world.

Meanwhile, we have songs that glorify raping one's sisters, chopping people off, and burning down your parents' houses and the parents allow their kids to listen to that crap. Why?

Apsu
10-07-2009, 05:53 AM
But why does nudity and sex assumed to promote unwanted pregnancies and STD transmission? To me, in fact, the problem with American culture is that "sex" is such a taboo that the teenagers tend to "act out" even more without getting the correct information to protect themselves. Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancy and STD rates in Europe (which has a much more liberal view on sexuality in media) are actually lower.

Plus, where are the parents? Do parents talk to their kids of sex? Do they use what's in movies and on TV to spark conversations about responsible behaviors, or do they rather avoid talking about sex at all? Is it healthy to pretend sex doesn't exist and that teenagers are going to abstain? To me, this "hush hush, we don't talk about this" attitude (we hardly have any graphic sexual content on TV or movies, relatively speaking) is why we have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the industrial world.

Meanwhile, we have songs that glorify raping one's sisters, chopping people off, and burning down your parents' houses and the parents allow their kids to listen to that crap. Why?

I can only speak for myself and my family, but you're slipping things into your premise that don't relate to what I said or how we live. There is no "hush hush". We don't pretend sex doesn't exist.

I think the idea that we would use sex in movies or tv, or pornography (if we really think watching it is the way to broach the subject) is kind of a ridiculous concept.

We do talk about sex, but the kids don't need to become sexually aroused to do that. Again, they also aren't being exposed to much of what you listed in the last paragraph. We don't freak out if there's a tit in a movie any more than we freak out if something gory happens. We just don't seek it out, and try to avoid it when we can without becoming unreasonable.

This is nothing about taboo. Read what i wrote again if you're actually speaking about what i wrote and not just making a blanket statement about christian fundamentalist culture.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 06:15 AM
But why does nudity and sex assumed to promote unwanted pregnancies and STD transmission? To me, in fact, the problem with American culture is that "sex" is such a taboo that the teenagers tend to "act out" even more without getting the correct information to protect themselves. Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancy and STD rates in Europe (which has a much more liberal view on sexuality in media) are actually lower.

I'm not disagreeing with your larger point, because I do think it leads to problems when sex is considered taboo. But your first line is bad phrasing. Nudity and sex is not assumed to promote unwanted pregnancies or STDs, not in the least.

But the fear is there that nudity and sex leads to kids experimenting in sexual situations, and those situations CAN lead to pregnancy and STDs. Whether that fear is unfounded or self-fulfilling isn't necessarily the issue. In this current society, kids are viewed as likely have sex at a young age, more so than they are viewed as likely to be violent. It seems to me, then, society is more likely to want to guard kids against sexually themed entertainment than violent ones.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 06:21 AM
I make no comments about Christian culture. In fact, I didn't even know you were speaking of Christian fundamentalist culture in your post. And I wasn't talking about your family values -- obviously you know what is best for your family.

I'm speaking of Americans in general, and you have to wonder: the US is one of the developed countries with the least sex and nudity in our media, and yet we have one of the highest unwanted pregnancy rates. I'm just wondering what went wrong here, and if there's a strong correlation between sex in media and pregnancy/STD rates, then it doesn't make sense.

I'm just throwing that out. To me, I don't think allowing children to see sex is appropriate -- sex is an adult matter -- but I'm personally disturbed by the amount of graphic violence in movies, TV, music and video games. Back to the OP's point: Why is that parent allowing his young child to read graphic violent comic books? Does she really think that's okay while nudity is damaging?

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 06:30 AM
But the fear is there that nudity and sex leads to kids experimenting in sexual situations, and those situations CAN lead to pregnancy and STDs. Whether that fear is unfounded or self-fulfilling isn't necessarily the issue.

Maybe, and that's something hard to prove and disprove. Still, it'd be a mistake to think that just because sex is not presented, teenagers are not going to experiment with it. And in the society like America where personal freedom, and freedom of choice are valued, it becomes a dichotomy. Contraction. On one hand we're allowing young people to make choices based on their beliefs and the information they have, but on the other hand, we're skittish about providing them with such information -- I know of parents who are unwilling to talk to their teens about sex, and they are not happy with the school teaching sex ed. They just assume that their kids are going to "know better" and resist temptation. That just baffles me.

And I'm not convinced that by not seeing sexually explicit (or even just suggestive material) is going to deter hormonally-charged children to do it. I think the real challenge lies in education, and what kind of values the parents instill in the child from a VERY young age.

Brutal Mustang
10-07-2009, 06:34 AM
Depends on where you live. I'd say actually most kids on the planet have a far more intimate acquaintance with violence than we'd like to think.

Not true! Don't forget a hundred years ago, Mom would tell little Tom to grab the axe and slaughter the piglet for her.

Oops. Somehow I read Toothpaste's comment as "modern kids" and not "most kids". Duh. Where was my brain?

katiemac
10-07-2009, 06:34 AM
And I'm not convinced that by not seeing sexually explicit (or even just suggestive material) is going to deter hormonally-charged children to do it. I think the real challenge lies in education, and what kind of values the parents instill in the child from a VERY young age.

I agree. And personally I believe the problems with kids and sex in America developed somewhat independently from media and entertainment. Yet we hear about kids in sexual situations more often than we hear about kids with machine guns (irony alert: we hear from the media), and thus the heavy backlash falls more onto protecting kids from sex than from violence, entertainment included.

Apsu
10-07-2009, 06:39 AM
I make no comments about Christian culture. In fact, I didn't even know you were speaking of Christian fundamentalist culture in your post.

No, I didn't say you did. And I wasn't. I'm not sure where the miscommunication is coming from....


Back to the OP's point: Why is that parent allowing his young child to read graphic violent comic books? Does she really think that's okay while nudity is damaging?

I have no idea. It seems bizarre to me as well.



And I'm not convinced that by not seeing sexually explicit (or even just suggestive material) is going to deter hormonally-charged children to do it.
No, of course not. But I don't think it can be denied that the material is likely to sexually arouse them.

MGraybosch
10-07-2009, 06:45 AM
Doesn’t make sense to me.

Your thoughts?

I agree with you, but I like sex and violence in my entertainment (just not necessarily at the same time). To be honest, I think that deliberately keeping children ignorant in order to "protect" them is abusive.

MGraybosch
10-07-2009, 06:49 AM
But the fear is there that nudity and sex leads to kids experimenting in sexual situations, and those situations CAN lead to pregnancy and STDs. Whether that fear is unfounded or self-fulfilling isn't necessarily the issue. In this current society, kids are viewed as likely have sex at a young age, more so than they are viewed as likely to be violent. It seems to me, then, society is more likely to want to guard kids against sexually themed entertainment than violent ones.

For my part, easy access to pornography allowed me to indulge my sexuality in a safe manner, but I suspect that most parents would freak out if confronted with the notion of their teenage children masturbating. My own parents did when they surprised me. I simply pulled up my pants, wiped my pants, and said, "Would you rather I screwed a girl and risked knocking her up or getting a STD?"

katiemac
10-07-2009, 06:52 AM
Here's an interesting PBS documentary, Merchants of Cool (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/view/). It's been awhile since I've seen the whole documentary, but it's about advertisers and media guys who study the teen demographic to understand what they want and like -- what is 'cool.' They take their research and it ends up in the media.

There's an interesting section where the discuss the 'feedback loop.' Teens do something, it then goes on TV, and teens then imitate what they see on TV. It doesn't suggest that kids wouldn't be having sex, for example, if teens weren't having sex on TV. But it does show data that suggests there is loop that because whatever thing is cool on TV, kids do that more. And then when researchers go back to find out what kids are doing, they find out they're doing what they put on TV, and put more of it on TV. The example they used was mostly geared toward sexual situations.

It's an interesting documentary and free to watch online--I suggest everyone do so. Note that it's fairly old, so it discusses shows like Dawson's Creek instead of Gossip Girl, but still relevant.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 06:54 AM
No, of course not. But I don't think it can be denied that the material is likely to sexually arouse them.

:) Trust me, when I was a teenager, I didn't need sexually explicit material to be aroused. :) And being constantly aroused as a teenage didn't make me do anything I would later regret. Again, I think there's no use to try to control how and when the teenagers would think of or be aroused by sex, but what we can control is what kind of values and knowledge we give to our kids from a young age. Talking about sex when they're already sexually aroused may actually be a little too late (in some cases) -- I mean, there are expectant mothers as young as 13 or 14! Something definitely is wrong there...

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 06:59 AM
But it does show data that suggests there is loop that because whatever thing is cool on TV, kids do that more. And then when researchers go back to find out what kids are doing, they find out they're doing what they put on TV, and put more of it on TV. The example they used was mostly geared toward sexual situations.

I'd like to see them do one on violence. If anything, I really would like less graphic violence in media, especially like games and DVDs that are readily available to children. Teenage pregnancy and STD are problems, but I think bashing someone's head in with a bat is even more alarming.

Like that Horrorcore slaying that's now being reported... the guy is only 20-year-old.

Apsu
10-07-2009, 07:06 AM
For my part, easy access to pornography allowed me to indulge my sexuality in a safe manner, but I suspect that most parents would freak out if confronted with the notion of their teenage children masturbating. My own parents did when they surprised me. I simply pulled up my pants, wiped my pants, and said, "Would you rather I screwed a girl and risked knocking her up or getting a STD?"

Eh, this is a tough one for me, primarily because the current young generation is the first to have such massive access to pornography.

If you were speaking of soft porn like Playboy, I could kind of see your point. But current access to pornography seems to me to refer to the internet. I think there's a lot more kids getting their porn there nowadays than are hiding magazines under the mattress.

I could be wrong, like I said, this is a new level of porn access for kids, but I just don't see the porn on the internet nurturing a healthy image of women. It's just gone way beyond a naked woman standing in front of the camera. And everything that's gone beyond that point is as easy to access as the softer stuff.

Maybe my son will grow up with more modern attitudes and hook his boys up with porn and prostitutes to just "get over it" and minimize pregnancy issues and STDs (assuming it's a clean cat house). Maybe he'll tell stories of how hard his old man was and how difficult it was to get porn or get laid. I'm just not ready to mold his childhood with the kind of view of women that internet porn offers until it's been demonstrated that it's all healthy. And unfortunately for him, he'll be grown by then.

Of course, he's his own person, and will probably manage what he can. But as a parent, I just try to do the best I can for him.

MGraybosch
10-07-2009, 07:14 AM
I'd like to see them do one on violence. If anything, I really would like less graphic violence in media, especially like games and DVDs that are readily available to children. Teenage pregnancy and STD are problems, but I think bashing someone's head in with a bat is even more alarming.

If I couldn't beat somebody into the ground in a video game, I'd be more tempted to do it in real life. Do you think that aggressive impulses simply go away in the absence of an outlet? Do you think that they can always be sublimated?

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 07:18 AM
But why does nudity and sex assumed to promote unwanted pregnancies and STD transmission? To me, in fact, the problem with American culture is that "sex" is such a taboo that the teenagers tend to "act out" even more without getting the correct information to protect themselves. Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancy and STD rates in Europe (which has a much more liberal view on sexuality in media) are actually lower.

Like KatieMac said above, I'm not disagreeing with your larger point. But movies and comic books with sexual situations are not really on the level of "correct information" about sex. In fact, a lot of times, sexuality in movies and comic books is pretty ridiculous and over-the-top. It's easy to see why parents would not want their kids to see it. When I was young, I thought that movies I watched represented what real life was like. I assumed that the adults who made them knew more about real life than I did. It never occured to me that adults would make something that was completely silly. But they do, all the time.

The truth is, we don't really know what the woman described in the OP teaches her kid about sex. Just because she doesn't want him to see it in a comic book, which is often a fantasy representation, and not real life, does not mean he son doesn't know sex exists. She may want him to have accurate information about sex, and she doesn't think a comic book is the right place to get it. I do think it's a bit messed up that she included nudity, but as I said above, nudity in comics is usually pretty sexual. Even Alan Moore's The Killing Joke, which is for mature readers, only has implied nudity.

Why does she let her kid read a violent comic book? Who knows? Maybe he's 12, and he doesn't get scared by violence. She's confident that she's taught him right from wrong, when it comes to hurting people, and she feels he can handle it. As others have said, I think it's a much easier concept to teach kids that they shouldn't physicially hurt anyone than it is to teach them about the morality of sex, why adults like to write about sexual situations in ways that don't represent real sex at all, etc.

All in all, I agree that our culture tends to get more offended by sex than violence. But I don't think that's necessarily what parents are thinking when they make decisions like these.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 07:26 AM
When you mix sex with violence, that's the worst.

Apsu
10-07-2009, 07:28 AM
:) Trust me, when I was a teenager, I didn't need sexually explicit material to be aroused. :)

I'm a human male. I didn't really think that needed to be said, but for what it's worth... it doesn't mean that sexually explicit images don't arouse young people.


And being constantly aroused as a teenage didn't make me do anything I would later regret.

As I said, I don't regret having my children by any means. But it did drastically alter and limit the course of my life. I'm far from alone in this, and I'm starting to wonder if katiemac and I are the only ones participating in this conversation who actually are parents and have spent years seriously thinking and caring about this issue. I mean, this isn't a "one evening" conversation for me. I've given it very serious thought and discussed it with my wife for years. Every decision I make for my children is to increase their potential for freedom, to do whatever they want with their lives, and not get locked into a single reality with a small range of options before they've had time to pursue their dreams.



Again, I think there's no use to try to control how and when the teenagers would think of or be aroused by sex, but what we can control is what kind of values and knowledge we give to our kids from a young age.

Of course there's no use, because it's physically impossible. Unless maybe there are drugs, but I haven't heard of parents taking it to such extremes. I definitely agree with the second part, which I guess is why I'm taking so much time to defend the position from which I parent my children. I'm not with the lady in the OP, but I do take an active role in my childrens lives and don't just leave it up to what society thinks is right for them.

By the way, I should put up a smiley somewhere to try and avoid coming off like an ass. I worry I can come off a bit abrasive when I'm just trying to deal with thought and ideas without a lot of regard for personality.

:rant:

Dammit, that wasn't right.

:Soapbox:


Shit, nope, that wasn't either.


:Sun::Sun::Sun::Sun::Sun:

Ahh, that's better.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 07:30 AM
Celia, you make a good point about realism.

Joss Whedon still gets praise today for an episode of Buffy that aired more than ten years ago. Buffy loses her virginity to Angel, which turns out to be a bad decision. Yeah, the fallout was fantasy-based, but the metaphor still stands: The results of sex are not always good ones, and sometimes you will regret that decision.

Likewise, I read in an entertainment magazine just today about an episode of Gossip Girl. I don't normally watch the show but I know it's famous for racy situations, in so much its ad campaign was "a parent's worst nightmare." Apparently they're planning a threesome for an upcoming episode. I thought these characters were still in high school. Is that at realistic portrayal of sex? I guess I don't know what high schoolers really are up to, but it does seem blown out of proportion.

MGraybosch
10-07-2009, 07:32 AM
I guess I don't know what high schoolers really are up to, but it does seem blown out of proportion.

I never got to have a threesome in high school. Hell, I'm 31 and I've only been with one woman at a time.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 07:32 AM
If I couldn't beat somebody into the ground in a video game, I'd be more tempted to do it in real life. Do you think that aggressive impulses simply go away in the absence of an outlet? Do you think that they can always be sublimated?

I don't play violent video games. Can I/Do I have a tendency to become violent? You bet. But I have no urge to go out and bash someone in the head with a bat. Thought of it? Of course, when I was really angry. Again, I think it has to do with values and education; there are plenty of outlets to release the violent tendency or emotions without resorting to fantasies and virtual violence. Letting your 10yo play ultra violent games would be excessive, IMHO, especially without parental guidance. You don't know how that would affect the child's brain while it's still developing.

The thing I'm talking about is, without parental guidance, how does a kid know the line between fantasy and reality? When does he know hurting people in video games is okay but in real life, it's not? And then you hear stories about 9-year-olds beating a baby to death, and you wonder what went wrong there. Or the Horrorcore guy killing four people with blunt force trauma. Of course, the media itself is probably sensationalizing it. Still, do we really know the correlation between sex/violence in media and real life? So why did they do a study on sex, but not one on violence? Why do we so easily brush off violence as "no big deal" when we're so uptight about nudity (I'm not even talking about explicit sex... just nudity, which is the natural state of the human beings).

MGraybosch
10-07-2009, 07:33 AM
When you mix sex with violence, that's the worst.

Try telling that to BDSM practitioners and see how far you get.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 07:40 AM
Try telling that to BDSM practitioners and see how far you get.

That's not the kind of violence I was talking about. To me, BSDM is fantasy between consenting adults; live and let live.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 07:42 AM
I'm far from alone in this, and I'm starting to wonder if katiemac and I are the only ones participating in this conversation who actually are parents and have spent years seriously thinking and caring about this issue.

:D No kids. Far from it, actually.

Apsu
10-07-2009, 07:48 AM
:D No kids. Far from it, actually.


Well, I guess it was kind of prejudiced of me to suggest that my position is more likely to be held by other parents than people without kids.

I won't make any excuses.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 07:53 AM
Well, I guess it was kind of prejudiced of me to suggest that my position is more likely to be held by other parents than people without kids.

For what it's worth, I'm not advocating kids should be shielded from violence or sex in entertainment. I'm not sure it's necessarily the right call, but I haven't been in a situation to make that judgment.

I'm just unpacking the OP's question based on how I perceive our society to operate.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 07:53 AM
I was just about to say, "wait until katiemac sees that..." :)

I don't have kids, but I can only go by my own experiences. My parents were rather lax with me and my brother when we were growing up. They might be strict on certain things, but they definitely gave me the tools to make decisions from a very young age. No fear- or guilt-based upbringing here. Wasn't taught that sex was dirty, etc. but my parents tried to lead by example. I first "witnessed" sexual images when I was about 8 -- it was embarrassing but my parents didn't make a big deal out of it. My dad had a frank talk with me about sex when I was sixteen. I watched my first real porn the same year. I would say I had a very healthy outlook and understanding of the subject matter. I understood this is what people did, but I didn't have to do it. I had a choice. I didn't have sex with anyone until I met my college girlfriend at age 20 (not that I lacked any opportunities before then); I just felt that everything was right when it happened.

Now, I don't mean to say I'm the rule or the exception, but that brings back to my point that I think values and education are so important. I was brought up to view sex as another aspect of being a person, but there were things I needed to know, consequences and pitfalls, etc. but I was free to make my own decisions. I had a girlfriend when I was in high school, and I came to the US all by myself at 18. My parents never questioned my decisions, whether I was having sex at 16 or 18 or 20.

I guess it also illustrates that it depends on the child, too. And the parents as well -- no one but the parents should decide how to raise their children, and there are many different variations. Some children are very mature and they think. Some aren't and they don't. You have to know your children, and there is a point when you must realize, you can't really control them. They are going to do what they want to do -- the best protection you can give them are the values, and the tools to make such decisions. My parents gave me the tools, and they trusted me to make the right decisions for me.

Apsu
10-07-2009, 08:04 AM
I was just about to say, "wait until katiemac sees that..." :)

Haha, i could have sworn she said she had children up above somewhere...



Now, I don't mean to say I'm the rule or the exception, but that brings back to my point that I think values and education are so important. I was brought up to view sex as another aspect of being a person, but there were things I needed to know, consequences and pitfalls, etc. but I was free to make my own decisions. I had a girlfriend when I was in high school, and I came to the US all by myself at 18. My parents never questioned my decisions, whether I was having sex at 16 or 18 or 20.

Your parents sound like they must have been very cool. I don't disagree with any of what you say here. My daughter just turned 16 and is already working on an associates degree at a community college. She's planning on going to France after she gets it at eighteen. She's seriously considering staying there if things work out well. Only time will tell...

Nick Blaze
10-07-2009, 08:14 AM
I would just like to point out a simple fact about music, or art in general. I listen to a large variety of music, particularly metal (death, thrash, power, progressive, black, heavy, folk, and doom) as well as opera and the like. The lyrics in a lot of mainstream death metal bands are, indeed, about gore. And black metal about anti-Christ. And power metal about saving maidens and finding magical swords. But the lyrics, the violence, mean nothing to me. I simply enjoy the music.

That's all it is: music. It sounds good and I like to listen to it. If you don't take the silly attempts at brutal lyrics seriously, you can appreciate it. The same with movies. Most of the movies are BAD movies with much violence and gore. The only point in watching them is the violence. But well-done movies with violence, even excessive, can still be overlooked from a mature perspective.

But it is up to the parents to teach their kids this perspective. Teach them to appreciate art, movies, music, and books and they will have a better chance. And the same with sex: the more they know, the better they will be protected from the inevitable.

Most everything else has been said, but people need to learn to appreciate the art in art. They need to look past silly things like lyrics, which are now the FOCUS on music (when in classical, a song did not need vocals to be good). Or the well-written scenes without any spoken word in a movie.

maestrowork
10-07-2009, 08:21 AM
My daughter just turned 16 and is already working on an associates degree at a community college. She's planning on going to France after she gets it at eighteen. She's seriously considering staying there if things work out well. Only time will tell...

I'm sure she will do fine. Arm her with self-esteem and goals and values, and she will always try to make the right decisions. Now, I can't say she won't make mistakes -- we all do. I guess that's one of the biggest challenges a parent would face: how do you let go and let your children be their own persons but stand by them when they do make mistakes? I'm not a parent, but I can understand it must be tough.

Apsu
10-07-2009, 08:29 AM
I'm sure she will do fine. Arm her with self-esteem and goals and values, and she will always try to make the right decisions.


That and self-defense. OK, also the ability to think for herself and learn.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 08:36 AM
Likewise, I read in an entertainment magazine just today about an episode of Gossip Girl. I don't normally watch the show but I know it's famous for racy situations, in so much its ad campaign was "a parent's worst nightmare." Apparently they're planning a threesome for an upcoming episode. I thought these characters were still in high school. Is that at realistic portrayal of sex? I guess I don't know what high schoolers really are up to, but it does seem blown out of proportion.

Things may have changed since I was in high school, but I didn't have a threesome until I was 19!

I was one of the real bad kids, too! Geez!

Exir
10-07-2009, 08:47 AM
If I couldn't beat somebody into the ground in a video game, I'd be more tempted to do it in real life. Do you think that aggressive impulses simply go away in the absence of an outlet? Do you think that they can always be sublimated?

That is inaccurate psychology. The human mind isn't a hydraulic system with a set amount of energy that can be shunted from one place to another. In fact, by acting out violence, you are simply "rehearsing" it, not "letting it out".

MGraybosch
10-07-2009, 03:34 PM
The human mind isn't a hydraulic system with a set amount of energy that can be shunted from one place to another. In fact, by acting out violence, you are simply "rehearsing" it, not "letting it out".

So I'll know what to do if I happen to be in Tokyo when demons invade? Yeah, right. Ever hear of "catharsis"?

Alpha Echo
10-07-2009, 03:46 PM
Likewise, I read in an entertainment magazine just today about an episode of Gossip Girl. I don't normally watch the show but I know it's famous for racy situations, in so much its ad campaign was "a parent's worst nightmare." Apparently they're planning a threesome for an upcoming episode. I thought these characters were still in high school. Is that at realistic portrayal of sex? I guess I don't know what high schoolers really are up to, but it does seem blown out of proportion.

I've seen a couple episodes of that show, and trust me - nothing they protray can possibly be anything like the real world. These teens act like adult, the adults are hardly around, the school scenes are so beyond anything I've ever experienced - granted it's about rich kids at a private school, but still. I sure hope it's not really like that.

Exir
10-07-2009, 07:00 PM
So I'll know what to do if I happen to be in Tokyo when demons invade? Yeah, right. Ever hear of "catharsis"?

Yes, I know what "catharsis" is, but consult any up-to-date psychology textbook and you'll realize it works very differently from the simplified model of "we gotta let it out somewhere or else where will all that energy go?", as we commonly assume. That belief started from (a possible misinterpretation of) Freud's work -- and trust me, Freud is to psychology what the luminous ether is to physics.

Jcomp
10-07-2009, 07:45 PM
Ha... that goofy luminous ether....

Nivarion
10-07-2009, 07:58 PM
I''m not a parent myself, but I've helped raise my 5 younger brothers all my life. I spend a lot of time around kids, and classmates that could really be counted as children.

So this is the world from my twisted POV. :)


Depends on where you live. I'd say actually most kids on the planet have a far more intimate acquaintance with violence than we'd like to think.

I can attest to that. A couple of times I've mentioned in the research forum about a 13 year old that tried to kill me.

I first hunted when I was 10, and have been proficient at killing animals since. Its never bugged me one bit. I kill them, butcher them, freeze them, cook them and eat them.


So sex is for adults, but violence is for everyone?

I think the idea that sex and nudity are less prevalent when you are younger speaks more to our society than to a general truth about humans. There are tribes out there where the people are basically nude all the time. And the greatest of art deals often in the beauty of the human form. There are many other cultures who can view nudity as simply that. The idea that nudity is tied in with sexuality is one that western society likes to push forward, and has made a naked body little more than a sex object.

The idea that kids come across violence more easily than sex is also kind of untrue. I'm not talking about watching two people go at it, though again, I have to wonder, what would be wrong with that really - showing two people who love each other demonstrating that love? But I'm talking about it in the same way as someone describing violence as kids roughhousing or seeing a dead animal. We have examples of sexuality on that level all the time too. Kids playing kissing games (I did when I was 5), kids hugging. The girls chasing the boys around the yard. Parents showing affection towards each other by holding one another and kissing.

Let's face it. Violence is more acceptable because it has not been as stigmatised as sex. It's very simple. Heck look at religion. Catholic priests aren't allowed to have sex, for example, but the church has no problem giving a sermon beneath a man nailed and bleeding on a cross. This idea that we have some universal truth that violence is easier to accept than sex is wrong. Our society has created that division. Now of course we have to function within that society, and make our own decisions as to how to raise our children. But I utterly disagree that violence is just more innately palatable.

Honestly, I agree that children should be allowed to experience sexual things in a controlled environment, with parental guidance.

No I don't mean porn, or anything like that. Nudity maybe, so long as its reasonable.

Anyways, As it stands now, most children get their first experience of the of the naked body of a person of the opposite sex in a couple of ways.
1. Diaper changings. They have to be changed and little children always seem to want to look on so they can go "Ewww, poop!"
2. they find something on the internet.
3. Making out with bf, gf they touch something and "Wow, whats that?" and things go on their own from their.
4. Mom/Dad sits them down and tells them about the birds and the bees.

The first and last situations are acceptable becuase there is an adult present who can explain things, and head stuff off if it gets to get out of hand. The other two can lead to problems.

The human body is quite stigmatized in our society. It wasn't too long ago where a woman was a scamp for showing ankles. And men could get turned on by ankles. Do ankles turn you on now? (Note: don't answer if you have a foot fetish)

Meanwhile, there are nudist colonies, and tribal societies where none of that stuff turns any one on. It has to be an actuall attempt at sex to get them going. Why? Well its because they've seen it all before. Lots.


Uh, no. Just because you let a kid see something doesn't mean that you automatically teach them that it's a good thing.

Exactly, but you need to be there to explain questions for them to understand that that isn't real life. And sadly, not a lot of parents are.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 08:08 PM
Exactly, but you need to be there to explain questions for them to understand that that isn't real life. And sadly, not a lot of parents are.

I'm not sure what you mean by this? I was referring to parents choosing to not let their kids read or watch certain things.

Rarri
10-07-2009, 08:19 PM
If I couldn't beat somebody into the ground in a video game, I'd be more tempted to do it in real life. Do you think that aggressive impulses simply go away in the absence of an outlet? Do you think that they can always be sublimated?

Being able to express and relieve those feelings through games is important, the problem is, i think, when that becomes the only outlet for children; what about teaching them that writing is a good form of expression, or running, martial arts etc. This is the basis of helping children cope as adults, if games become their only outlet, then that can't be healthy.

With sex, i think there needs to be balance; good, honest representations of sex but also an opportunity for children to be entertained with no sex involved (think High School Musical); Melvin Burgess and Stephenie Meyer etc. They're not the best examples, but that's the lead we plan to take: the whole spectrum, though excluding the entirely inappropriate (gross violence or nudity etc). I'm not sure if that makes sense, but for me, i think the damage occurs when there isn't a balance of both issues.

Lady Ice
10-07-2009, 08:34 PM
You can explain the consequences of violence much more easily: 'Don't hit Johnny because he will get a bruise and cry and you will be told off'.

Nivarion
10-08-2009, 01:07 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by this? I was referring to parents choosing to not let their kids read or watch certain things.

I understood it as just because you let them see something doesn't mean that you understand it.

If a parent lets his kid see violence, isn't it the parents responsibility to explain violence so the child understands it? And if the parent tries to shield them from it, it is still their responsibility to make sure they understand.

and in other news, I think I just fractured my leg.

Celia Cyanide
10-08-2009, 01:47 AM
I understood it as just because you let them see something doesn't mean that you understand it.

If a parent lets his kid see violence, isn't it the parents responsibility to explain violence so the child understands it? And if the parent tries to shield them from it, it is still their responsibility to make sure they understand.

Actually, what I was saying was, just because you let a kid see violence doesn't mean that you're telling them violence is a good thing. A parent can teach their children that violence is wrong, no matter what they let them watch or read.

seun
10-10-2009, 05:23 PM
That's something I don't get about American values: graphic violence is fine, even a family value for some, but nudity and sex? That's like "you go straight to Hell." Compared to the Europeans, I really do think we have it backwards.

But that's just me.

It's not just you, Ray. I know this is going to come across as a big generalisation, but here goes:

Americans have always struck me as having a really odd view of sex and violence. After wandering around the message boards on IMDB for a few years, I've lost track of the number of questions I've seen on the boards for violent/horror films that ask if there's any nudity or sex. Take a look at the board for 28 Days Later and see how often the point of Jim being naked in his first scene comes up. It's as if the sight of one man's penis is a make or break decision on whether to watch the film. Who cares about the violence?

Mr Flibble
10-10-2009, 05:46 PM
Americans have always struck me as having a really odd view of sex and violence.

It's fascinating too. And I thought us Brits were supposed to be the straightlaced ones!

My kids have always known about sex, right form that documentary about penguins when my son was two. 'What's that penguin doing to that other penguin Mummy?' 'Making more penguins' I've always answered questions as they crop up ( I may have overstepped the mark one time. My son had been told in the playground that sperm was transferred by kissing. I explained the reality. He looked at me with horror. ' You mean you did that twice! I'm only going to ever do it once and hope my wife has twins'. I wish I taped that convo) Same with violence - consequences are explained and / or shown.

However I'm still careful as to what they read / watch. They know about it, they see some of it in what they watch or read, but there's plenty of time for them to see / read the really graphic depictions when they're older and more able to understand for themselves.



It's a matter of leading them by degrees towards comprehension rather than dumping it all on them in one go.

Libbie
10-10-2009, 06:04 PM
Eh. Well, personally, sex doesn't bother me. It's something we all do (eventually) and when it's done right, and for the right reasons, it's joyous, fun, feels good, and makes people happy. I am pro-sex, and if I had kids I wouldn't have a problem with them seeing sex scenes that were between consenting people and in which both people were happy. I know that makes me very European in my thinking, and is unusual for an American, particularly one who was born and raised in rural Idaho.

Violence, on the other hand, should be revolting to people. I'm disturbed by the role violence has taken in entertainment. We've become civilized enough that we no longer put real people in gladiator rings to fight to the death; we no longer watch public hangings and beheadings for entertainment; we no longer look with pride on bullfighting and we punish people who make animals fight for entertainment. This is good. But our desire to be entertained by violence hasn't gone anywhere. Now we just do it with fictional characters. It's still just as disgusting. It still represents the same cruelty in our society.

If I had kids, I wouldn't allow them to see violence until they were much older than that kid in the comic store; not because I think watching violence will make them violent -- that's patently ridiculous -- but because I'd hope I'd raised kids who were empathic enough that even fictional violence would disturb them quite a lot.

So I took three long paragraphs to say, I don't get it, either. Sex is normal and kids shouldn't be raised to feel guilty or afraid about their natural sexual feelings. That's psychologically damaging. But they should be raised to think violence isn't an acceptable way to be entertained. We're better than that, as a species.

kaitie
10-10-2009, 06:06 PM
Oh man hard topic. I'm with Exir on the psychology aspect. Catharsis has never been proven, and a lot of research is at the very least mixed and at the worst shows more acting out and aggression after viewing violence. Think of modeling, for instance. Children model behavior, it's how they learn. So if you have a very small child watching violence they might at the very least be more likely to model that behavior.

I think there is also a big point for violence in understanding reality and make believe. I was always pretty okay with violence in things (and I am so one of the least violent people you'll ever meet), but I also always had a pretty good handle on what was real and what wasn't. I also had great parents who would talk to me about things I saw.

So I mean, think about it. If you have one parent who sees something violent on tv and talks to their child about it, i.e. "Do you think that was okay?" etc., their kid might be learning to make better decisions than say a parent who throws their three year old in front of a violent tv show using it as a babysitter.

In the same vein, I think it's very important to consider where the child is developmentally in terms of their views of what's right and wrong. If a movie or tv show is working on an assumption that an adult will understand more subtle moral statements involved, a five year old won't get those same statements. I wish I could think of an example. This is a bad one, but I always think first of Grand Theft Auto. My friends and I used to play and that game is just about as amoral as you can get. We had a blast with it. But we also understood at that point that the things going on in the game were wrong and an exaggeration, etc. I think it's fair to ask if the child in question (all children are different developmentally, as well) understands that.

So personally, there are quite a few things I wouldn't want my children being exposed to--until they are ready for it. I think that's the main thing. I don't see it as "You can't ever watch this it's terrible." I wasn't allowed to watch Silence of the Lambs as a kid. Seeing it years later I'm glad for it. I have a feeling it would have been far too much for me. The same way I couldn't stomach the Gunslinger by Stephen King at 14, but now I consider it one of my favorite books.

Sex...I agree completely that American viewpoints about sex are almost hypocritical, and no doubt very different than in other countries. Heck, I can sit on the train next to someone here and the guy sitting next to me is reading about high school girls being gang raped in comic form. Okay...I'll also add that Japan is kind of nuts in some ways haha. But point being, this is also something that I think is about age appropriateness. Some things children don't need to see before they can understand it. At the same time, it can also open up a good dialogue.

I'm hitting like fifteen different posts here haha. I read through this thing and have thoughts on almost everything. But Maestrowork said something earlier about sex and violence being mixed and how that's a negative. I definitely believe this. There are some studies that have shown that (wish I knew where to find these now), but I've also had friends who as younger kids found things like violent pornography online, and the overwhelming consensus from them has always been "I wish I'd never seen that."

Again, I think that goes back to what I said before about being able to understand. I'd also be concerned with an unrealistic depiction of sex, etc. And I don't even necessarily mean on the because there are no negative consequences scale. ;) I don't think my examples would necessarily be appropriate to post, however haha.

So yeah, I would definitely censor some things from my children, particularly online things, but I think there's a big difference between "when you're older" and "you can't ever do this." I also think it's incredibly important not to make sex a shameful thing.

Who knows. The closest I've come to having kids yet is nannying for a little while. But I did have a great mother who did a darn good job with her kids, and I'd be proud to follow in her footsteps on most things.

kaitie
10-10-2009, 06:08 PM
So I took three long paragraphs to say, I don't get it, either. Sex is normal and kids shouldn't be raised to feel guilty or afraid about their natural sexual feelings. That's psychologically damaging. But they should be raised to think violence isn't an acceptable way to be entertained. We're better than that, as a species.

Double posting because I'm lazy, but I just loved what you said here. I'm not even considering movies like Saw, etc, in my comment before, but when I think about things like that I do find it repulsive and think the same thing you do.

Libbie
10-10-2009, 06:14 PM
Yes, I know what "catharsis" is, but consult any up-to-date psychology textbook and you'll realize it works very differently from the simplified model of "we gotta let it out somewhere or else where will all that energy go?", as we commonly assume. That belief started from (a possible misinterpretation of) Freud's work -- and trust me, Freud is to psychology what the luminous ether is to physics.

Catharsis means cleansing. I think it's funny that we've turned "cleansing" into "purging." It's not the same concept at all. ;)

Brutal Mustang
10-10-2009, 06:19 PM
We've become civilized enough that we no longer put real people in gladiator rings to fight to the death; we no longer watch public hangings and beheadings for entertainment; we no longer look with pride on bullfighting and we punish people who make animals fight for entertainment. This is good. But our desire to be entertained by violence hasn't gone anywhere.

Of course not. Man is earth's ultimate predator. As such, we probably require an outlet for violence.

Brutal Mustang
10-10-2009, 06:39 PM
Sex...I agree completely that American viewpoints about sex are almost hypocritical, and no doubt very different than in other countries.

You know, before making a claim like this, like a lot of people in this thread have (I'm not just picking on you), perhaps you should pull up some hard, unbiased statistics--preferably from more than one source--showing why Americans are backwards on sex.

Is the average American teen more likely to get an STD or pregnant than a European teen?

What is the age when an American teen becomes sexually active? And European teen?

How many abortions do European teens use as birth control (which can be viewed as a sloppy, costly, and barbaric form of birth control) compared to American teens?

What do psychologists say about exposing kids early on to sex?

Rarri
10-10-2009, 06:47 PM
It's worth also making the distinction between European teen and UK teen; there's big differences when it comes to stats. The UK has a terrible rate of teen pregnancies compared to many other countries (IE Holland is a good example) and, from the parenting sites i used to use, UK parents don't always seem much better than US ones on the sex front.

Rarri
10-10-2009, 06:56 PM
Not the best of replies, but here's a few links on UK and Europe teen pregnancies:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1079321 http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1079321&rendertype=table&id=tbl1

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/uk-has-highest-teenage-pregnancy-rate-in-europe-397153.html

The UK also the worst teen drunks too. But, i'm a big believer in not getting on at the teens until the adults clean up their act too.

Mr Flibble
10-10-2009, 07:24 PM
Yeah we have our problems. However, I don't know about anyone else, but I was talking about the film industry stance etc to sex and violence in the US as opposed to the UK.

Not about parenting skills us v them

MGraybosch
10-10-2009, 09:06 PM
Oh man hard topic. I'm with Exir on the psychology aspect. Catharsis has never been proven, and a lot of research is at the very least mixed and at the worst shows more acting out and aggression after viewing violence. Think of modeling, for instance. Children model behavior, it's how they learn. So if you have a very small child watching violence they might at the very least be more likely to model that behavior.

If you put children in an unfamiliar setting, make them deal with unfamiliar people, order them around, and make them watch material they didn't choose for themselves, then even watching the Teletubbies is going to make them act out.

kaitie
10-11-2009, 05:46 AM
This isn't always true. If this were the case, then control groups as well as experimental groups would act in the same way. Oftentimes they don't.

Second, a lot of research done on this type of thing is self-report. Having parents describe the type of television children watch, etc., and then following those children to discover how they act behaviorally.

Like I said, though, this research is far from conclusive. When I was in school, mostly what we learned is "there isn't enough evidence to prove anything," but that it was still being researched. And again, considering every child is different, it could be that one child (myself for example) might be perfectly okay with violence, where another might have serious problems if exposed.

The only reason I mentioned it is because I have seen enough examples of studies in the past few years to make me at least question this. And as I said above, my personal take on the studies is not so much that what children watch is 100% responsible for children's behavior, but that parenting and involvement, the type of violence, and how the parents deal with it are all going to be a factor as well.

I don't know if this adds anything or not to the debate, but I think a good example of "it depends" for me might be if you have the bad guy or good guy being violent. While I as an adult love characters where the good guy is stretching the limits (and often write very, very bad people doing very bad things), I would be a lot less apt to allow a child to watch a good guy who is excessively violent just because of the role model factor. That's my own personal take, however.

brokenfingers
10-11-2009, 06:06 AM
But why does nudity and sex assumed to promote unwanted pregnancies and STD transmission? To me, in fact, the problem with American culture is that "sex" is such a taboo that the teenagers tend to "act out" even more without getting the correct information to protect themselves. Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancy and STD rates in Europe (which has a much more liberal view on sexuality in media) are actually lower.

Plus, where are the parents? Do parents talk to their kids of sex? Do they use what's in movies and on TV to spark conversations about responsible behaviors, or do they rather avoid talking about sex at all? Is it healthy to pretend sex doesn't exist and that teenagers are going to abstain? To me, this "hush hush, we don't talk about this" attitude (we hardly have any graphic sexual content on TV or movies, relatively speaking) is why we have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the industrial world.

Meanwhile, we have songs that glorify raping one's sisters, chopping people off, and burning down your parents' houses and the parents allow their kids to listen to that crap. Why?I only got as far as this post in this thread, and just want to reply to this for now:

I think it's the fact that seeing sexual situations has a direct effect on kids, whereas seeing violence doesn't.

I mean we all, even as adults, know the effects of sexual situations and porn etc. It has a very real and immediate effect on us. But I remember as a young teenager being turned on by the mildest of things. Movies like Porky's were the ultimate in sexual titillation for me (meanwhile I re-watched it recently and laughed at how mild it is.)

Viewing sexually charged scenes have a more lasting and real-life effect than watching violence. Unless you're a teenage psychopath, you're not gonna get the tinglies in your private areas from watching violence.

But, with their hormones raging through their bodies, and them unaware of how to react or control them yet, many teens will get aroused and/or curious when witnessing sexual scenes.

So yeah, that's why parents put more emphasis on sex scenes than violent ones.

Toothpaste
10-11-2009, 06:14 AM
So yeah, that's why parents put more emphasis on sex scenes than violent ones.

Because god forbid they should feel sexually aroused? Doesn't it make more sense to discuss these feelings as opposed to pretending like they don't exist?

And I beg to differ about the watching violence thing. Maybe watching violence doesn't make kids want to engage in it, but I know as a kid I was deeply affected by watching violence. I would cry, have nightmares, still do from things I saw as a child. You can get quite emotionally disturbed by such images. I think a lot of people are now immune to violence in our culture. But as someone who isn't, I can tell you, it can have a very profound visceral effect. And just because you don't feel it doesn't mean others don't.

brokenfingers
10-11-2009, 06:19 AM
Because god forbid they should feel sexually aroused? Doesn't it make more sense to discuss these feelings as opposed to pretending like they don't exist?Yeah, with the activities of teens, by which I mean even 10 and 11 year olds getting busted having oral sex in school bathrooms etc and the high teen pregnancy rate, I'd say it's a very real concern for parents that their kids get sexually aroused.

And have you ever tried discussing something with a teenager? They know everything. Yeah, some parents and their kids have good relationships where the kids aren't swayed by their peers or cultural waves, and the kids listen to what they say, but I can say that. in the thousands of households I've seen, that's the rare minority.



And I beg to differ about the watching violence thing. Maybe watching violence doesn't make kids want to engage in it, but I know as a kid I was deeply affected by watching violence. I would cry, have nightmares, still do from things I saw as a child. You can get quite emotionally disturbed by such images. I think a lot of people are now immune to violence in our culture. But as someone who isn't, I can tell you, it can have a very profound visceral effect. And just because you don't feel it doesn't mean others don't.True. But just cuz you feel that way doesn't mean the majority of people are affected that way also.

kaitie
10-11-2009, 06:23 AM
I think it's the fact that seeing sexual situations has a direct effect on kids, whereas seeing violence doesn't.

I mean we all, even as adults, know the effects of sexual situations and porn etc. It has a very real and immediate effect on us. But I remember as a young teenager being turned on by the mildest of things. Movies like Porky's were the ultimate in sexual titillation for me (meanwhile I re-watched it recently and laughed at how mild it is.)

Viewing sexually charged scenes have a more lasting and real-life effect than watching violence. Unless you're a teenage psychopath, you're not gonna get the tinglies in your private areas from watching violence.

But, with their hormones raging through their bodies, and them unaware of how to react or control them yet, many teens will get aroused and/or curious when witnessing sexual scenes.

So yeah, that's why parents put more emphasis on sex scenes than violent ones.


I don't think it's necessarily right to assume that just because someone is turned on by something that means it's a bad thing. I also don't see how it necessarily automatically has a longer lasting real life effect. So what if a teen gets aroused by something? They might get aroused by seeing a scantily clad member of the opposite sex, or a particular dance, or that person they sit next to in math class.

Teenagers do have hormones, etc., and they're going to get turned on by various things every single day--even if it's just whatever is going on in their own imagination. To assume that by shielding them from sex scenes you are going to keep them from being aroused and therefore they won't have sex seems almost naive to me.

I'm not saying you should let your kids watch porn and that you shouldn't monitor what they watch. I just think that if you want to keep your teenager from making bad choices, then it's important to keep an open dialogue with them and discuss the consequences, etc. of their actions and make sure that they understand sex is something that comes with huge responsibility. If your child knows this, understands this, then they're going to be more likely to make good decisions. Personally I think its' much more dangerous to shield them entirely and just assume that they will therefore not make bad decisions. In that case they're going to be curious and not know limits.

I'm not saying you shouldn't monitor what your kids watch, and I do think there is a difficulty in the fact that sex in movies is shown a) VERY quickly and between people who often don't know one another at all, and b) often without consequences and with no discussion of protection, etc. They aren't very realistic views, and children need to hear otherwise. I'm again talking about normal average sex scenes here, not pornography or violent sex, which I consider a different matter.

I also don't agree with saying violence doesn't count because it doesn't make you sexually aroused. It isn't intended to. That's not the purpose of it. The question is more does it acclimate you to violence and cause you to see it as an acceptable form of expression, and violence in general is going to be more of a problem with young children than with teenagers in any case. Though I will agree that teens who are more violent might be more drawn to violence. Hard to tell a cause with correlation there. In any case, I just don't understand the logic here.

kaitie
10-11-2009, 06:28 AM
Yeah, with the activities of teens, by which I mean even 10 and 11 year olds getting busted having oral sex in school bathrooms etc and the high teen pregnancy rate, I'd say it's a very real concern for parents that their kids get sexually aroused.

And have you ever tried discussing something with a teenager? They know everything. Yeah, some parents and their kids have good relationships where the kids aren't swayed by their peers or cultural waves, and the kids listen to what they say, but I can say that. in the thousands of households I've seen, that's the rare minority.

That's why you have the discussion from the time they're younger, so that when they are teens and know everything they'll know this as well. And kids having oral sex, etc., are not doing it solely because they are sexually aroused. They do it because they don't have adults teaching them limits, etc., and I would also guess are seeing it from older people around them, perhaps siblings. The average ten year old isn't having sex. And the teen pregnancy rate is alarming and teens need to be taught to make good choices. You can't know how to make good choices if you aren't taught how.

And that's not to say that a really good kid who knows how to make good choices, etc., isn't going to mess up sometimes. Sometimes those mistakes have big consequences. But I think we should definitely be discussing things with our kids (particularly considering pregnancy rates and sexually transmitted disease rates) and make sure they understand sex, how to make choices, and don't believe the myths etc., and also know that oral sex and anal sex "count." Again, beating a dead horse here, but you don't get that from sheltering. You get it from dialogue.

Edited to add in that I agree completely with the nightmares, etc., thing, and that's why I say we should pay attention to what children can handle. Those kinds of things can be very disturbing (and long lasting).

brokenfingers
10-11-2009, 06:30 AM
Sex is rampant among teens. So you're saying parents shouldn't try to do what they can within their own environment and not promote sexually charged movies? An attitude of Laissez-faire?

"Oh well, they're gonna do it anyway, so..."

It's up to each parent to raise their kids to the best of their ability. You may not agree with some of those choices but that's too damn bad as they're not your kids.

The question was asked why society doesn't equate violence in movies with sex, and I proposed my answer. Because many parents view sex as an immediate problem they wish to avoid. Most parents don't worry about their kid going out and killing people or trying to blow things up.

And yeah, those who do have that problem probably shouldn't let their kids watch violent movies either.

brokenfingers
10-11-2009, 06:37 AM
That's why you have the discussion from the time they're younger, so that when they are teens and know everything they'll know this as well. And kids having oral sex, etc., are not doing it solely because they are sexually aroused. They do it because they don't have adults teaching them limits, etc., and I would also guess are seeing it from older people around them, perhaps siblings. Yes, from seeing it from everything but movies. Not that.


And that's not to say that a really good kid who knows how to make good choices, etc., isn't going to mess up sometimes. Sometimes those mistakes have big consequences. But I think we should definitely be discussing things with our kids (particularly considering pregnancy rates and sexually transmitted disease rates) and make sure they understand sex, how to make choices, and don't believe the myths etc., and also know that oral sex and anal sex "count." Again, beating a dead horse here, but you don't get that from sheltering. You get it from dialogue.Yes, this works great in the ideal AW world where everybody's perfect and reasonable and intelligent and the kids are well adjusted and compliant and obedient and there's a great level of discourse and interaction between parent and child.

But I'm talking about the real world.

I guess our experiences have been different because I've known thousands and thousands of families and none of them are ideal. Parents aren't perfect and neither are the kids. And such 'naive' solutions as "they just need to talk to each other and discuss these things" don't pertain to many people in the real world.

Geez, how many members of this board alone have meaningful, positive discussions with their parents about anything - much less about a sensitive and awkward subject such as sex.

And this board is definitely not representative of the outside world.

veinglory
10-11-2009, 06:39 AM
Well, given the results perhaps trying to avoid all mention of and exposure to anything sexual isn't very effective when it comes to teaching responsible, loving sexual behavior. Maybe some slightly sensual romatic movies, graphic novels etc would actually not be such a bad thing.

kaitie
10-11-2009, 06:41 AM
Grawr, just accidentally lost my post. Anyway, what I said was that I'm actually saying the exact OPPOSITE of what you're implying I'm saying. I'm not saying okay let your kids do whatever they want. I'm saying that it's dangerous to assume that through censorship alone you will prevent your kids from having sex. Teens are going to be aroused and experience arousal. That's normal. You can keep them from sex as much as possible and it doesn't change that.

What I'm saying is that it's important to talk about it so that children understand and know why having sex at fourteen is a bad idea. There has to be a dialogue. I'm certainly not implying that a teenager should be allowed to watch graphic sex or pornography or anything. You should monitor what they see. I just think that the dialogue is the most important part of this process. I imagine that a child who has been taught the consequences and responsibility of sex and why they should wait will have a better chance at making the right decision than one who is put in a situation for the first time with know knowledge about it.


Because many parents view sex as an immediate problem they wish to avoid.

I actually think this might be the truest thing I've seen on here, but not in the way you mean it. Parents see sex as a problem that they want to avoid. Many parents are uncomfortable discussing it.

brokenfingers
10-11-2009, 06:49 AM
I actually think this might be the truest thing I've seen on here, but not in the way you mean it. Parents see sex as a problem that they want to avoid. Many parents are uncomfortable discussing it.Exactly. Which is why I pointed out that while discussing it is a good thing, in many cases, it's not realistic in the real world. Just like anything else, people usually avoid talking about the hard things.

So, instead parents try to limit exposure as best they can. Especially in things they can control like what movies are watched etc.

You don't see the same thing with violence cuz it isn't a large problem for many parents.

kaitie
10-11-2009, 06:50 AM
Yes, from seeing it from everything but movies. Not that.

Some kids might learn it from movies, though I was again NEVER implying that monitoring is a bad idea. My kids wouldn't be watching oral sex period. However it's been my experience from those kids I did know who were doing things like this that it was often exposure in real life that led to it. I used to work with a group of at-risk kids and we saw some pretty crazy stuff with them. It's also often true that very young kids engaging in sexual behavior have been abused at some point. Not all of them, but it does happen. Most ten year olds aren't out there having oral sex in bathrooms. The vast, vast majority are not. The ones who are have other problems.

And I always had a good dialogue with my mother about sex. I could ask her questions and even when I was embarrassed and wouldn't want to talk to her about certain things, she still could talk to me about consequences, etc. I went to a high school where just walking down the halls you had six or seven visibly pregnant students there. Many people I knew where having sex. And I also recognized at the time that this was a bad thing because of everything I had learned, and myself and my friends all made good choices as a result of the good things our parents taught us. Yes, it doesn't always work, but isn't saying, "No kids can have a realistic discussion with a parent" the same fallacy as saying "All kids will do it?" Not every parent and child has the best situation, but all parents can do is their best. I think it's better to at least try. It's also important to keep in mind the dialogue should start with a ten year old or eleven year old, not a fifteen year old.

Writing Jedi
10-11-2009, 08:03 AM
Well in the original poster's example, there is a good chance the mom was just ignorant of what can be found in comics these days. Maybe she equates comics with Batman and Fantastic Four, and thinks the violence is punching and kicking. Maybe the store owner should have actually shown her what is in these comics her son is reading and made she knew what was being purchased by a 12 year old.

I just recently read in a biography of Michael Jackson that being exposed to sex at a young age (through his father's and brothers' escapades with groupies in their hotel rooms) really traumatized the hell out of him, where he hid under the blankets and cried. Whereas being exposed to mild violence, say Spiderman and Xmen whatever will probably not traumatize children and not lead to violence in them either.

Mr Flibble
10-11-2009, 03:00 PM
You don't see the same thing with violence cuz it isn't a large problem for many parents.

Violent crime rates beg to differ.

MGraybosch
10-11-2009, 06:52 PM
Violent crime rates beg to differ.

Are you sure that violent crime isn't just a symptom of defective people trying to adapt to a defective society?

kaitie
10-11-2009, 07:06 PM
Or guns. :D

MGraybosch
10-11-2009, 07:16 PM
Or guns. :D

Care to explain knife crime in the UK?

kaitie
10-11-2009, 07:23 PM
I was being facetious. Well, to an extent. I'm one of those strict gun laws kind of people.

If you asked me honestly I'd say that the main problem I've seen is a lack of discipline (I don't mean physical, I mean in general) for children, parents not spending the time with their kids they used to, encouraging the child to believe that everything should be handed to them, not taking responsibility for their actions, and all around increasing the number of egotistical people and the number of adults that don't really know how to be adults and make good decisions. That is, however, another matter entirely. But basically yes, I agree with your assessment. I'd have worded it in a less cynical way, however. There are a lot of good people in society, too, and the majority aren't violent criminals. Truth is, I think every society believes their society is terrible and falling apart, and every society has problems and difficulties. I just try to be the best person I can be.

MsGneiss
10-11-2009, 07:27 PM
There is no general rule, and it's unfair to judge parents for the boundaries that they define for their children. Evaluation bodies (such as the ESRB, for example) do a fair job of providing guidelines, but it is each parent's job to assess their child's maturity level and determine what content is appropriate. The store owner was correct to refuse the sale, but once the parent made the decision, he, nor you, nor I are in any position to pass harsh judgment.

MGraybosch
10-11-2009, 07:30 PM
I was being facetious. Well, to an extent. I'm one of those strict gun laws kind of people.

And I'm one of those people who think that rights-respecting individuals should be left free to decide for themselves whether they want to own and carry firearms. However, if I myself chose to pack heat and was a guest in your house, I'd unload my weapon and hand it over to you when I came in -- as a courtesy to my host.


If you asked me honestly I'd say that the main problem I've seen is a lack of discipline (I don't mean physical, I mean in general) for children, parents not spending the time with their kids they used to, encouraging the child to believe that everything should be handed to them, not taking responsibility for their actions, and all around increasing the number of egotistical people and the number of adults that don't really know how to be adults and make good decisions.

I agree with most of that, except for the dig at egotistical people. I've got an ego that makes Yngwie Malmsteen look like a paragon of humility, but you don't see me trespassing against others. For one thing, I've got my pride. For another, I'm not one of those people who buys the idea that the end justifies the means. If anything, I think that that one idea -- "by any means necessary" -- is the root of a lot of our problems.

MsGneiss
10-11-2009, 07:32 PM
I don't think it's necessarily right to assume that just because someone is turned on by something that means it's a bad thing.

I agree with this. Most parents choose to withhold some content from young children not because they are afraid of the sexual arousal that might result but because they don't wish to frighten the children or present them with images that they do not understand. Violence may not cause sexual arousal, but it can cause nightmares, confusion, and frightened feelings just as well as sexual images. Again, there's no general rule, but it's my opinion that in most cases, nudity is less of an issue for young children than violent gore. After all, most children have seen naked people before - parents, siblings- (granted, probably not while having sex), but most children have not seen a beheaded body covered in blood and bruises, for example. So, we can't really make general rules; each child is different in his experiences, maturity, and comprehension.

kaitie
10-11-2009, 07:35 PM
@ Mgraybosch: You don't strike me as egotistical. You might be self-confident and know what you think, but you have yet to strike me as egotistical. What I meant was more along the lines of egomaniacal personality disorder. Geez I'm so tired at this point I don't remember if I got that name right. I do know, however, that I had a class in grad school where a professor called this basically the disorder of our generation. The idea is that, similar to sociopaths, a person will basically only think in terms of themselves, what they want, and how to get it with little or no regard for others and little or or no empathy. I think every one of us can think of at least one (and probably more) person we've met that fits that description.

I like the "by any means necessary" comment. I agree that it's a bad attitude. I think if anything we need to be willing to say "Even if I don't get what I want, I'm not going to do this because it might hurt someone else."

Libbie
10-11-2009, 07:35 PM
You know, before making a claim like this, like a lot of people in this thread have (I'm not just picking on you), perhaps you should pull up some hard, unbiased statistics--preferably from more than one source--showing why Americans are backwards on sex.

Okay.


Is the average American teen more likely to get an STD or pregnant than a European teen?

According to this article, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_incidence_of_teenage_pregnancy) which references studies you can read for yourself, YES, the average American teen is more likely to get pregnant or contract a sexual infection than teens in all European countries, including Poland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_education#Europe)(which has virtually no sex education in public schools) and the UK (which has the next-highest rates of teen pregnancy, STI infection, and abortion in the developed world.)



What is the age when an American teen becomes sexually active? And European teen?

I must say, ages when people choose to have sex don't matter to me personally and I don't see why they're considered significant to determining the sexual health of a country. What's important is how many unwanted pregnancies result, and the spread of disease. If a thirteen-year-old decides to become sexually active and is educated enough to use protection every time, I don't care. If a nineteen-year-old decides to have sex for the first time and never bothers with protection, that concerns me a lot more.

But since you asked, according to the Kinsey Institute (http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/FAQ.html#Age), a 2002 study places average age of first intercourse for U.S. teens at 16.9 years for males and 17.4 years for females. Studies for European countries vary widely, because there are so many countries, but here are some: In 2000, a French study (http://www.ined.fr/en/everything_about_population/teaching_kits/population_of_france/age_first_intercourse_france/) puts ages at 17.2 years for males, 17.6 for females. This article (http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/sex_relationships/facts/sexualitythroughoutlife.htm) suggests that U.K. teens were having sex around the age of 15, on average, in 2008. But the U.K.'s rate of teen pregnancy, abortion, and STI spread is still smaller than those of the U.S.




How many abortions do European teens use as birth control (which can be viewed as a sloppy, costly, and barbaric form of birth control) compared to American teens?

It can be viewed that way by some people. By others, not. You're putting your own personal value judgments on this particular statistic, but because you requested it, here it is: In 2000, (http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/indicators/27TeenAbortions.cfm) 14.5 abortions per 1000 teen pregnancies in the U.S. A 1999 Reuter's Health (http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/pro_choice/30487) report made the claim that U.S. teen abortion rates, though declining since the 1980s, are still significantly above European (Netherlands, France, Germany) rates.


What do psychologists say about exposing kids early on to sex?

Depends on the psychologist. Opinions vary from lots of harm (http://www.springerlink.com/content/u8788tv500094713/) to potential for some harm, if not monitored (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/jaaj-eat052809.php), to really no significant or obvious harm (http://www.scribd.com/doc/19159922/Harm-and-Offence-in-Media-Content-A-Review-of-the-Evidence). Why aren't you wondering whether exposure to graphic violence might have a psychological impact on children?

I think it's funny, though, that you just assumed we hold this opinion of American sexuality for no good reason, and that we haven't taken the time to educate ourselves.

By the way, I don't believe that violence in the media can be shown to actually cause violence in children or adults. At least, current studies haven't yet convinced me that there is a significant link between violent media and an increase in violent behavior. There isn't even a correlation, in fact. But I still would choose to shield a child from violence in the media until they were teen-aged; not because I think it will turn them into a violent person, but because I'd hope that I'd raised an empathic enough child that seeing violence would upset them.

And were I raising children, I wouldn't mind if they saw consensual sex in the media. The science is sound enough to assure me that it won't affect their decision about when to become sexually active, and I don't see a problem with their understanding that adult sex can be a good thing that two people who love each other can enjoy together. I would WANT my children to have a healthy, mature, confident attitude about sex. But then, according to the way I vote and where I send my charity money, I'm not your average American.

Libbie
10-11-2009, 07:42 PM
Of course not. Man is earth's ultimate predator. As such, we probably require an outlet for violence.

Actually, as a zoo keeper, I'm of the opinion that man is definitely not Earth's ultimate predator. The Humboldt squid gets my vote for ultimate predator. ;)

willietheshakes
10-11-2009, 10:19 PM
I only got as far as this post in this thread, and just want to reply to this for now:

I think it's the fact that seeing sexual situations has a direct effect on kids, whereas seeing violence doesn't.

Which is why God invented masturbation.


I mean we all, even as adults, know the effects of sexual situations and porn etc. It has a very real and immediate effect on us. But I remember as a young teenager being turned on by the mildest of things. Movies like Porky's were the ultimate in sexual titillation for me (meanwhile I re-watched it recently and laughed at how mild it is.)

Wanking.


Viewing sexually charged scenes have a more lasting and real-life effect than watching violence. Unless you're a teenage psychopath, you're not gonna get the tinglies in your private areas from watching violence.

But, with their hormones raging through their bodies, and them unaware of how to react or control them yet, many teens will get aroused and/or curious when witnessing sexual scenes.

Pity the poor bishop, victim of my flogging...


So yeah, that's why parents put more emphasis on sex scenes than violent ones.

I think -- and I'm just referring to this post, it's not personal, because I do read this as an observation -- that this just underscores a fundamental dis-ease with sexuality. Children, young adults are, and should be, curious about sex. It's natural. And healthy. And... well, fun.

I think this also explains the far higher number of amusement parks in the United States compared to the rest of the world. Why, when I was a teen, I didn't need a rollercoaster -- give me a box of early 70s Penthouse and I made my own fun. The success of Disneyland and Six Flags is commensurate with the discouragement of kids from making their own fun...

willietheshakes
10-11-2009, 10:28 PM
Whereas being exposed to mild violence, say Spiderman and Xmen whatever will probably not traumatize children and not lead to violence in them either.

I know that you were talking about the comics -- I think -- but I immediately went to the recent movie versions of those titles.

My wife and I went to a preview of the first Spiderman movie, and were seated down the aisle from a four-year-old. As a parent, especially in the company of children, I can't help but view a movie with a child in mind -- that movie was BRUTALLY violent. Oh sure, it's all fun and webs and kissing upside down in alleys, but watch the final fight scene with the Goblin with a child in mind -- the crunch of bones, the flying blood, the lingering closeups on wounds...

The little boy down the aisle was beyond traumatized -- he screamed. And shrieked. And his parents? Didn't give a shit.

(shrugs)

My son, at age ten, still hasn't seen any of the Spiderman movies. Or Lord of the Rings. I'm not letting him watch Henry & June or The Lover either, but I have a lot less problem with occasional nudity or adult situations than I do with the fetishization of violence, and the acceptance of that obsession.

icerose
10-11-2009, 11:12 PM
I think it should be based on a child to child basis. We always watch new movies before our kids see them. Sometimes our kids aren't that obedient in not watching them too. For example. We got Ghost Rider. We didn't know if it would be too scary or not. We explained to the kids what we were doing and why.

Almost to the end of the movie, we caught our little boy watching from the doorway, completely enraptured by it, he's 6. We allowed him to come in and finish it, there was only 10 minutes left. It's one of his favorite movies.

He also is crazy about the comic book movies, Ironman and so forth. He loved the first batman but we haven't showed him the second one. We feel it's too much too soon. And that's how we call it. If our kids are okay with it and it isn't causing them nightmares or anything like that, then we try and let them make decisions on what they want to watch and read while balancing it as best we can.

It goes for reading material as well. We'll pre-screen anything new that we're not familiar with and if we feel our kids can and want to handle it, we let them. If something is terrifying them, like some children's movies really scared them, we turn them off immediately. Some of the most surprising choices can scare the heck out our children that are supposidely for their age group while other things above their age group they're just fine with.

I guess it just comes down to being a responsible parent IMO.

Brutal Mustang
10-12-2009, 03:25 AM
Libbie, for one, the squid isn't the ultimate predator. If we wanted, we could blow it of the face of the earth. We could blow any animal off the face of the earth. No other animal has that claim. Speaking as a horse trainer and former vet tech--if you must put forwards credentials (and I'm betting neither of us have ever worked on, or even seen a live giant squid before).

But two, it is easy for you to pick and choose any article off the internet leaning to your political viewpoint. I could do likewise. I am very skeptical about what you have brought forward. Starting with Wikipedia, which should always be regarded with a grain of salt, since any one can edit it. And many of the institutions you have chosen are regarded as highly liberal. If you had neutrally put forward various opposing studies--which, believe me, there are--then your argument might get my attention.

BTW, I'm all for educating teens about sex. However, I think younger kids can't understand it, and are best left in the dark about it. Let their brains develop some common sense. My mom sat my sister and I down for the talk about sex at a very young age. What we did with that knowledge was, well, very childish. I am afraid to say in public what we did! It involved the neighbor boys--I'll leave it at that! :tongue

icerose
10-12-2009, 04:02 AM
I have to disagree Mustang. I don't think you should give them both barrels when it comes to sex, but gradually introducing to them on a level they can understand I believe is far more helpful then having them try to muddle through it on their own. Children become curious about sex and their bodies far younger than most people thing and it's better imo to have some understanding.

MGraybosch
10-12-2009, 04:42 AM
Which is why God invented masturbation.

Actually, he invented masturbation because the sight of Adam and Eve yiffing in the Garden of Eden (http://www.ghastlycomic.com/d/20031019.html) really creeped him out. (Link is NSFW, by the way.)

MGraybosch
10-12-2009, 04:43 AM
I like the "by any means necessary" comment. I agree that it's a bad attitude. I think if anything we need to be willing to say "Even if I don't get what I want, I'm not going to do this because it might hurt someone else."

I prefer the following: "I'm not going to take the easy way out and get what I want by screwing somebody else. I'm better than that."

You see, I might be amoral, lack a conscience, and possess only a rudimentary sense of empathy, but I've figured out how to use pride, reason, and a keen sense of long-term self-interest to emulate a sense of ethics. :)

Salis
10-12-2009, 09:07 AM
Actually, it's somewhat close to impossible to get what we want without screwing someone somewhere down the line. Really the best we can do is making sure that someone isn't a human being.

Nivarion
10-12-2009, 10:27 AM
Actually, he invented masturbation because the sight of Adam and Eve yiffing in the Garden of Eden (http://www.ghastlycomic.com/d/20031019.html) really creeped him out. (Link is NSFW, by the way.)

Oh my god :roll:oh my god :roll:Oh my god:roll: oh my god :roll:Oh my god :roll:oh my god :roll:Oh my god:roll: oh my god :roll:Oh my god :roll:oh my god :roll:Oh my god:roll: oh my god :roll:Oh my god :roll:oh my god :roll:Oh my god:roll: oh my god :roll:Oh my god :roll:oh my god :roll:Oh my god:roll: oh my god :roll:Oh my god :roll:oh my god :roll:Oh my god:roll: oh my god :roll:


ahem. That was horribly wrong and you should put an adult materials waring on that.

snigger. My little sister uses this site. (ETA AW)

ETA an obvious warning. I didn't quite get that one till after the matter.

willietheshakes
10-12-2009, 12:01 PM
ETA an obvious warning. I didn't quite get that one till after the matter.

I dunno... I thought NSFW was pretty obvious.

Besides, there'd be something pretty... strange, if not outright ironic... about a flashing "ADULT CONTENT, DON'T LET YOUR LITTLE SISTER CLICK!" message in THIS thread, of all places...

MGraybosch
10-12-2009, 10:31 PM
ahem. That was horribly wrong and you should put an adult materials waring on that.

snigger. My little sister uses this site. (ETA AW)

ETA an obvious warning. I didn't quite get that one till after the matter.

Sorry, but "ETA" means "estimated time of arrival" to me. NSFW means "not safe for work", which is the standard tag for anything naughty.

Nivarion
10-13-2009, 02:04 AM
Sorry, but "ETA" means "estimated time of arrival" to me. NSFW means "not safe for work", which is the standard tag for anything naughty.

ETA also means edited to add. Or, at least it does around here.

GraysonMoran
10-15-2009, 05:15 AM
Why does it have to be sex VS violence.
I like them both. Preferable simultaneously.

So do kids, I'd say.