We should protect children

To the editor:

After the Steubenville case made headlines, one cannot help to wonder, “How did our society get here?” According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 720 people are sexually assaulted every day in the United States. These statistics are evidence of the increased sexualization of our culture. Sex can be viewed in common new releases, on the magazine racks and listened to in our music and jokes.

Unfortunately, adults are not the only targets for this profusion of messages. According to Dannah Gresh, in 2006, 1.6 million thongs were sold to girls between the ages of 8 and 12. The University of Michigan estimates that weekly, children watch an average of between 28 and 32 hours of television, and see their favorite characters drinking, smoking and participating in sexual activities. Seventy percent of the top 20 most viewed shows by adolescents include sexual content.

By the age of 18, the average youth will see 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders. Unfortunately, most violent acts depicted go unpunished and conveyed with humor. Children see a glamorized version of violence, giving the message that violence will get you what you want, without consequences.

If you find all of this as concerning as I do, then please speak up. Speak up at your local stores when you see inappropriate material for sale or if someone tells a crude joke. Write to a music artist or radio station if their material is degrading. Please take a stand personally, privately and publicly to protect our children.

Heidi Bishop

National Association

of Social Workers intern