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Dynamic Chiropractic – October 21, 2004, Vol. 22, Issue 22

Letting the Wrong People Raise Our Children

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher
Two of the principles I appreciate most about chiropractic are the principles of wellness and independent thinking:
  • Chiropractic's concept of wellness looks at the whole person and seeks the highest quality of life through the application of interventions that are as safe, natural and free of side-effects as possible.
  • Chiropractic's willingness to go against the grain of political medicine and the drug companies that support it is imperative to the survival of that wellness concept. One of the primary reasons the public and many medical doctors have moved toward what they call "alternative medicine" is that (unlike osteopathy) we have stood our ground with the vision that eventually, most health-conscious people will figure it out, and most have.
These two principles also work well with my Christian beliefs of serving God, loving people and standing up for what I believe in. It is our concern for people's total welfare that drives most of what we do here at Dynamic Chiropractic.

While reviewing the latest health research last week, I happened upon a study titled: "Watching Sex on Television Predicts Adolescent Initiation of Sexual Behavior."* While it is not my intention to talk about sex, the paper makes the following points:

  • "Watching sex on TV predicts and may hasten adolescent sexual initiation."
  • Adolescents who watched TV with sexual content "had a predicted probability of intercourse initiation that was approximately double" those who didn't watch very much.

If you are a parent, this study should make you uneasy, especially when you consider that those studied were only 12-17 years old.

The study makes a point that I believe can be easily applied to a multitude of behaviors:

What you continually watch on television, you will eventually do.

I learned this firsthand at a rather young age, watching black-and-white World War II movies (my favorites as a young boy) on television. In one of the more intense scenes from one of those movies, the hero's best friend runs out of ammunition and is brutally killed by an enemy soldier. In response, our hero runs at the enemy soldier, shooting him an inordinate number of times, cursing at him in the process.

Less than three hours later, I found myself using the same profanity at a friend's house. Needless to say, I got a serious spanking - but the impact had already been made. That ugly phrase was now part of my vocabulary and my experience.

There is the reason why the drug companies spend tens of billions of dollars on television commercials each year ... it works! They have recognized television's power to mold people and convince them to do things they might not do without continual encouragement. They can probably tell you what the presentation formula is to manipulate people's thinking, and how many times a person needs to see the ad before he or she will consider a buying decision.

How many of the activities the children in your community participate in are the result of what they watch on television? Sex, drugs, violence, rebellion, hate, brutality ... the list goes on and on, and examples of all are available nightly on the tube.

As a person who doesn't really watch television (with the exception of a program on the cooking channel or an occasional old movie), I am often appalled at what many parents allow their children to watch. Many otherwise conscientious parents have literally turned their children over to Hollywood to tutor them from age 3 until adulthood, with very predictable results.

As a doctor of chiropractic, you can help reverse this trend. As a health care advocate, you can encourage parents to limit the amount of television their children watch and to screen out what is unsuitable.

When you observe children in your office, it is not hard to guess what they have been watching. Disrespectfulness, rebellious attitudes, provocative clothing and violent behavior are the consequences of literally thousands of hours of unsupervised television viewing.

You can alert parents to the realities of television's influence and encourage them to change the pattern now. When they take action to correct the problems, their children's behavior probably won't change immediately. In fact, their kids will probably get very angry when their television and video viewing are censored, especially after years of unrestrained use. But if parents work at it, they will begin to instill their own values into their children and override some of what television has taught them.

In my thinking, wellness is as much about the emotional health of our children as it is about their physical health. Loving people means that you make the effort to impact their lives in a positive way, knowing that when you do, the results will last a lifetime.

  • Collins RL, Elliott MN, Berry SH, et al. Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior. Pediatrics 2004;114:e280-e289.


Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.

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