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From the Back Porch
It's Our Job, Y'all

By SR Adams

I heard about the judgment on the radio the other night, and I was glad. One of our courts decided to rule in favor of the First Amendment, and against restrictions designed to protect children against porn on the internet. Now, before you get your knickers in a twist over this, I want you to think about what I said. Our judicial system made a decision that puts us parents back where we should be--in control of our children. The internet is only the latest in a series of arenas where parents seem to be taking a "hands off" approach to parenting.

I am appalled at all the things children get into without parental supervision, not to mention knowledge. But what really pisses me off is when children get into trouble, the parents go looking for someone to hold responsible--somebody, anybody besides themselves. There was the case a few years back that was brought against MTV. A child set the house on fire because he had seen Beavis and Butthead do it--huhuhuhuhh, kewl. No one thought to ask the parents where they were when the child was watching television, not to mention where the hell they were when the child decided to play Firestarter. Instead there was a huge backlash against MTV, who changed the times that the show was aired. This case and others may have been the catalyst for the new ratings that are on every show on television, not to mention development of the "V" chip for your viewing safety. My husband and I sometimes laugh more at the warnings that appear before shows like South Parkand Celebrity Death Matchthan we do at the shows themselves. And for the record, our youngest child is not allowed to watch South Parkat all; Celebrity Death Matchis fairly benign--it is, after all, just clay.

Another recent example is a case on one of those television court shows that left me flabbergasted. A twelve-year-old girl was allowed to drive her father's car and subsequently got into a traffic accident. The father didn't think he should pay for the damages she inflicted under his supervision because the other driver had insurance. Where did he get the notion that a twelve-year-old should be allowed to drive, and that he was not liable for the wreck she got into?

What has happened to responsibility? Where in the last twenty years or so did we get relieved of the burden of being held accountable for our actions, and the actions of our minor children? I know I missed jumping on this bandwagon of finger-pointing. Maybe it was when I was overseas protecting this great country of ours that the idea of holding "them" responsible came into fashion. It really bugs me that the American people, who live in the "land of the free and home of the brave" appear to have become a nation of irresponsible idiots. I gave fifteen years of my life in defense of this? I'm ready to change the lyrics of the national anthem to "land of the free to be as dumb as we can."

Did it all start when my homegirl Tipper Gore went before Congress demanding warning labels on music? Parents have worried about their children's musical choices since music began. Mom's generation liked Elvis and his flexible pelvis. Her parents waged war against him while conveniently forgetting how they danced the night away to Big Band and Swing music, which was only a few years removed from the Roaring Twenties. In the seventies, down in the Bible Belt where I grew up, KISS caused quite a riot with all the makeup, not to mention that their name was rumored to be shorthand for Knights In Satan's Service. My sisters and I got great pleasure from singing loudly whenever AC/DC's Highway to Hell came on the radio and Mom was in the car. Recently, I myself almost had a heart attack when my son sang along with Meredith Brooks's big hit, I'm a Bitch. I had been hearing it on the radio for weeks, but had never paid attention to the lyrics until my son started skipping the key word. Did I jump up and file a huge, frivolous lawsuit against the radio station? Did I start a write-in campaign to run Ms. Brooks off the face of the earth? No, I performed my job using the handy parental control device on the dashboard; you know, the one labeled RADIO ON/OFF?

It's very similar to the ON/OFF buttons found on the stereo remote, the television remote, the VCR remote; I don't think anyone actually touches the electronic devices that these remotes control, once they are plugged into the wall. But I promise you that the items on the other end of the remotes also have ON/OFF buttons of some kind. The only thing I can think of that doesn't have a remote control ON/OFF switch is our beloved computers. Bill Gates hasn't invented it yet, but I don't doubt that someone out there will.

Despite the fact that parental control is right at our fingertips, it doesn't seem to me that parents are using their fingers to do much of anything besides call for a lawyer. It's easier to let somebody else do the job of parenting. Parents certainly aren't paying proper attention to what their kids are up to. Remember those corny old commercials asking "It's 11p.m., do you know where your kids are?" In this age of technology, it's more important than ever to be able to answer that question. Now get off your butt and go make sure that your kids aren't in their rooms watching an extremely violent movie while they surf the net for sex, drugs, and how to make a bomb.

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SR Adams is recently retired from the military and has started a second career as a mom. She can also be found quite often in WOW, hosting or just hanging around.

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