No one welcomes chaos, but why crave stability and predictability?
– Hugh Mackay
I suspect the secret of personal attraction is locked up in our unique imperfections, flaws and frailties.
Parents should be encouraged to read to their children, and teachers should be equipped with all available techniques for teaching literacy, so the varying needs and capacities of individual kids can be taken into account.
Universal literacy was a 20th-century goal. Before then, reading and writing were skills largely confined to a small, highly educated class of professional people.
It’s Australian to do such things because, however uncivilised they may seem, it’s human to do them.
Still, most of those effects occur in the context of harmless play and it is patently obvious that children are not normally turned into aggressive little monsters by TV or video games, since most children do not become aggressive little monsters.
One reason we resist making deliberate choices is that choice equals change and most of us, feeling the world is unpredictable enough, try to minimise the trauma of change in our personal lives.
Reading is a huge effort for many people, a bore for others, and, believe it or not, many people prefer watching TV.
Recounting their histories, people often sound like interested bystanders to their own lives.
I’m in total sympathy with Dick Smith’s sentiments; I only wish there were grounds for saying we Australians would never tolerate such appalling treatment of refugees being carried out in our name.
On average, Australians watch more than three hours of television a day, compared with 12 minutes a day spent by the average couple talking to each other.
Obviously, every child should be given the best possible opportunity to acquire literacy skills.
But the rule seems to be that the bigger and more life-changing the decision, the less it will seem like a decision at all.
Is it possible that literacy standards are falling because young Australians are growing up in a culture in which they can be entertained and informed, and in which they can communicate effectively, without having to master any but the most rudimentary literacy skills?
So, if falling crime rates coincide with the rise of violent video games and increasing violence on TV and at the cinema, should we conclude that media violence is causing the drop in crime rates?
A strangely reflective, even melancholy day. Is that because, unlike our cousins in the northern hemisphere, Easter is not associated with the energy and vitality of spring but with the more subdued spirit of autumn?
The question is, will we continue to fight what may be a rearguard action to defend universal literacy as a central goal of our education system, or are we bold enough to see what’s actually happening to our culture?
The underlying message of the Lancet article is that if you want to understand aggressive behaviour in children, look to the social and emotional environment in which they are growing up, and the values they bring to the viewing experience.
Actually, I can’t imagine anything more tedious than a perfect person, especially if it was someone who also demanded perfection from me.
The copycat effects of media violence, similar to those previously attributed to westerns, radio serials and comic books, are easy to exaggerate.
I wish we didn’t have to own up to a policy deliberately designed to inflict suffering on people who have already been traumatised in the countries from which they’ve fled.
Some researchers sensibly suggest that rather than worrying too much about which programs our children are watching, we should concentrate on trying to reduce the total amount of time they spend in front of the screen.
Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.
Perhaps it’s the people whose lives have taken sudden new twists – people who have learned to embrace the creative possibilities of change – who stand the best chance of penetrating life’s mysteries.
Indeed, in the present climate of mistrust of institutions, many people who yearn for a more meaningful and fulfilling life would regard the church as an unlikely place to go for guidance.
Although we love the idea of choice – our culture almost worships it – we seek refuge in the familiar and the comfortable.