Parents Against Violence, Not Just Gun Violence

by Dagmar Bleasdale on December 17, 2012 Parents Against ViolenceAs a mom of a little boy in first grade who went to school half an hour away from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the tragedy of the massacre touches me deeply.

I can’t imagine the nightmare those poor parents who lost their children must go through right now. I learned about the death of those 20 precious children right before I was able to pick up my child from the school bus.

No parent should ever lose a child to gun violence. I personally don’t believe that guns in the schools are the answer — no teacher will be able to load a gun in time to stop a gunman on a mission like that — but maybe metal detectors are the answer so guns can’t get into the school.

I found this on the site Majors Against Illegal Guns: “In the 10 years since Columbine, more people have died from gun violence than soldiers killed in World War II” … “In 1988 and again in 1997, Britain introduced strict gun-control laws in response to a mass shooting. Last year (2009), there were 42 gun deaths in Britain, a country of 61 million people. There were more than 30,000 gun deaths in the United States.”

Australia banned assault weapons after a tragedy 16 years ago and there hasn’t been another such tragedy since then.

There is no reason a civilian should be able to own semi-automatic assault weapons — those laws need to change or these tragedies will keep happening.

Guns don’t stop guns — the will of the people stops guns, as seen in the example of Britain and Australia. And taking better care of people with mental illnesses.

I want strict gun-control laws, but I want to address something else: when will we finally take a stand in this country and say enough with the violence — on TV, in movies, in video games, on YouTube, on the front page of newspapers and magazines?!

I’m bringing this up because I do believe that kind of constant exposure to violence and desensitization plays a role in the Newtown gun violence and those kinds of tragedies, and the violent acts that happen every day in this country that we don’t hear about because they happen so often that it’s not newsworthy anymore.

No matter how much I try to shelter my son from images of violence, they are everywhere!

Parents, let’s stand up and say enough is enough! Don’t support violent kids movies with characters that punch each other every few minutes. That’s supposed to be funny? It sends such mixed signals to children.

And violent commercials are allowed to run on TV all day, when little kids can see them. That’s NOT okay!

Why are they allowed to run at all?! Who needs to see commercial for violent movies? If you are an adult and want to see such a movie, go see the movie, but the rest of the public should not have to suffer through gratuitous violence, especially kids, not even for 30 seconds.

How can we teach kindness to our children and being nice to each other when kids’ favorite TV and movie characters are mean and foul-mouthed, and hitting each other?

And then that kind of brutality gets played down and shown as not hurting the character at all, and we are surprised when some kids start hitting their siblings or classmates and don’t realizing that that inflicts pain. Parents Against ViolenceI see it as my job, my responsibility, to shelter my child from harmful influences, be that unhealthy food or disturbing images. I will try to guard my son’s innocence as long as I can.

For me, that means not allowing my son to watch more than preschool shows like Little Bear unless I watch the show or movie with him. It means ignoring the criticism of other people who think I’m sheltering him too much or that I’m overreacting. I believe in gentle parenting. I want to guard his little soul from the negative things in this world, and I don’t see how that can be a bad thing.

I try my best to shelter him from aggressive, violent TV shows, and we don’t go to the movies much because the movies Hollywood makes and thinks are appropriate for kids I don’t find appropriate for my child. Just because everyone is running to that new movie doesn’t mean it’s a good movie with a positive message.

Common  Sense Media is a great resource with information about what age is recommended or appropriate for movies, video games, books and TV shows.

After reading their information and reviews about the new Ice Age movie, Ice Age: Continental Drift, I wouldn’t pay money to see it with my son, for example.

Apparently, it includes “some cartoonish violence, mild romance, a smattering of insults, and some scatological humor.The reviews also mention “name-calling, including “freak,” “wiener,” “stupid,” “loser,” “idiot,” “tubby,” “cry baby,” and “pinhead.” It gets better: dialogue that includes “I’ll bury y’all and dance on your grave” and plenty of other verbal threats about killing someone. That is not the kind of movie I want my son to see.

Most parents wouldn’t allow that kind of language in their home, yet looking at the box office numbers those kinds of kids movies draw, ten thousands of parents pay money for their kids to hear that kind of language and see violent behavior. It’s disappointing and a sad reflection on our society, in my view.

We are better than this, and we can and need to do better for our children. There is no need for cruel language and violent images in our lives, none. Enough with this culture of violence.

We need to be our children’s biggest advocate. Unless we stop going to those violent movies and demand more child-friendly, positive stories on TV and the movie screen that enrich our children instead of disturb them, things won’t change. Don’t we all want a more peaceful world? Change is always possible — we just have to be willing to open our mouths and demand our voices to be heard.

Join me and be a Parent Against Violence:

  • don’t support movies with violence in them — cartoonish violence is still violence
  • support movies and TV shows that have a positive, loving message
  • as best as you can, shield your child from violent TV shows and commercials
  • don’t buy papers and magazines that have pictures of violence or war on the front page that kids could see
  • have a civil, factual discussion with people who think it’s okay for their kids to see violent behavior
  • speak up against this culture of violence

What else should I add? Let me know in a comment.

Feel free to use the button for your website or blog.

Parents Against ViolenceHere is the code:

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I found this really helpful: Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

And please pin this post, tweet about it, post it on Facebook, and/or stumble it. Let’s get a movement started.

What do you think? Do kids nowadays see way too many images of violence? Do you think that plays a role in the kind of gun violence we see in America?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

delmer December 25, 2012 at 6:31 AM

they should make bullets out soft Styrofoam! i do believe your right1 here exsample on today’s news in Texas of police man shot and killed along with by stander – his gun didn’t protect him. they want to make our schools like wild west. it more about money than safety, and or gun rights!.


Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) December 19, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Hi Dagmar – This issue has polarized many people. I am surprised how many people are holding onto the idea that the second amendment should be so broadly interpreted. I have had a few people on Facebook say they think teachers should be trained as police officers as well (!!!). Thanks for this post.


Tonya Tomplait December 19, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Glad I found this website. I live in Texas and the govenor just announced that Texans will keep their guns and he wants teachers to carry guns in the classroom. Our school superintendent just announced the same. This all makes me frustrated. This tragedy is being viewed as a punishment for taking God out of school’s instead of a result of mental illness and poor gun ownership.


esbee December 19, 2012 at 4:48 AM

parents in the 60’s campaigned against the wesetern tv show deeming it too violent…they won, the western has been dead for years and look what took its place…watching any of those old westerns they are morality stories where the bad guy gets killed or brought to justice and there is no blood when they get shot. NOW LOOK AT TV—CSI and other shows that portray bloody realistic violence and the seedy side of life…no wonder some kids who are marginal go off the deep end!!! it is waaaaay past time when parents flood the networks and game makers with letters and calls about how angry they are and quit buying that crap for their kids. What kids see on TV does influence them and advertisers know that—that is why they pay millions for commercials to sell their items.


Lexy December 18, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Oh I think we are all on the same page. It is combination of everything/ too much violence in this Country, easy access to guns, mental illness and to some degree broken Families.

NO WAY do you tell your Son about what happened. He is way too young. I agree with that and did not mean to imply you should.

My point about coddling kids was more about the fact that there comes a point when you just cannot anymore and that would be around ages 9-10 when they learn about things at school from other kids whose Parents are NOT controlling what they are subjected too. That is when you need to find out what your child does know and sort out fact from fiction.

Sadly all of the precious children in that school do know about it. That breaks my heart. How does one even try and explain to them what happened?

Another thing I learned was once a child is 18 you cannot force them to seek mental health support… it needs to be caught before that but even after, if they do not continue treatment there is nothing one can do.
It’s all a hot mess.

My Son never played violent video games or saw violent movies at a young age. It was always age appropriate. They do have WARNINGS on many video games and you are required to be 18 to buy them BUT Parents buy the for their kids anyhow. :(


Tracy December 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Dagmar, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I agree with every single word of this post. When I grew up my sister and I played Super Mario Brothers, and Duck Hunt. That was about as violent as video games got back then. You shot ducks, and they fell to the ground. Now you shoot real life looking people and blood splatters everywhere. And young kids are playing these horrific games, they are seeing adult movies.

Let your children be children. They will become adults one day.

I don’t agree with ONLY stricter gun laws, or more mental health facilities even though I think those are part of it. Thats not all there is to this problem. There is way to much violence in childrens lives.

Like you I am raising boys, and I am teaching them to be nice, kind, and loving individuals. I want them to be children.

Now to link this to my blog.


Lexy December 18, 2012 at 4:56 AM

NO, I disagree that violent movies/images/gamescause a person to pick up a semi automatic weapon and gun down his Mother followed by 20 innocent little children and 6 adults.

these are the issue as I see them.

1. NO CIVILIAN in this country has one solid reason to own a semi automatic weapon. none. they are meant for one reason and one reason only….to kill other humans. Many of these deadly weapons were not in existance when the fore fathers wrote the Constitution. There were NO ASSAULT weapons when the 2nd admendment was written.

2. Mental Illness
It is up to us as parents to seek out help for troubled chilldren/teens PROMPTLY and not be ashamed. This Country needs an overhaul on the way mental illness is treated.

when someone with mental illness has access to semi automatic weapons BAD THINGS can/will happen.

My Son played video games as a teen. he went to see movies that you would consider violent. He did not massacre people because of it. he was taught right from wrong, he was taught what is real what is not. He has empathy for others. He does not have mental issues. He was taught at an early age to have respect for others and to not bully. THAT is my duty as a Mother. To monitor and teach and be involved in his life. You have to prepare them for this scary world.

Saying that violence on TV causes these mass shootings is as ignorant as someone saying a coddled, breast fed 6 year old that is shielded from the world will grow up to be gay or bullied and then turn around and mass murder his bullies That is CRAZY talk.

The young men, as it always seems to be young men 18-22 that do this, are MENTALLY ILL and they have easy access to weapons that should not be available -PERIOD. This evil doer from Friday took his weapons of mass destruction from his MOTHER!! She knew he has mental illness. Was help sought out? We know the HOW of what he did but we do not yet know the WHY? i very much doubt it was caused by a viewing of Ice Age.

Yes we need to ADVOCATE for our children but keeping them in the dark and allowing them to think the world is unicorns and rainbows is not the way to go. one day they will be men. then what? Have you prepared them? are they ready for the big wild world? What if your child is bullied? what if yout chilfd bullies others? what if you child shos signs of mental illness?

this tragedy in CT could have been prevented. Why was this evil doer now helped sooner? I guess we will never know.

The Columbine killers had been bullied. so we have the WHY there. what is the solution for that scenario? not all bullies committ mass murder so what so how do you know which one’s will and which won’t?

first step is taking away ALL SEMI AUTOMATIC weapons out of the hands of every American. that is a start.

You have 2 comments. mine makes 3. i understand why so few.

I Live in Oregon. My mall was shot up last Friday. He had signs…quit his job, sold his possessions and told his friends a very strange “goodbye”. those are all signs of depression and possible suicide. not mass murder. Not one person said one thing. If you ask me what happened here in Oregon may well have been what caused this kid in CT to do the heinous acts that he did. who knows? what are the answers? I do not have them all but I have some.

Volence is out there and we HAVE A DUTY to tell our kids what is age appropriate. One day your Son will be a man and you cannot protect him forever. sadly. Young children should not be subjected to violent images,not because it will cause them to be mass murders but because it is just wrong!

we need to take the guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. I will give you that violent things should not be on TV when young children are watching. personally during the day i have not encountered that. ‘

This is yoo upsetting for me to continue. it is a sad day time for our Nation.


Dagmar Bleasdale December 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Dear Lexy, thanks for your comment. I didn’t say that violent video games cause this kind of tragedy, but I think the culture of violence in America is hideous and not necessary and out of control and plays a role and needs to stop.

I totally agree with you. — no semi-automatic weapons in civilian hands! And I also agree that we as parents and as a community must do better when we see kids who are struggling with mental issues.

My son just turned 6 and I’m not ready to tell him anything about this. I will address it if it comes up, but not until then. Thanks again!


esbee December 19, 2012 at 4:51 AM

good idea getting semi-automatic weapons out of the hands of the people but you and I both know that criminals will always have them.
and if the people have no guns they will get other weapns…i.e. chinese citizens have strict gun control BUT crazies have used knives to kill school children and teachers in similar attacks.


Holly Pavlika December 17, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Totally agree. I think exposure to the kind of content that is on TV and video games is doing harm. My son is older but I still tell him video games have reset buttons and real life doesn’t.

But it’s more than just media, it’s a multitude of issues and it’s time to say enough.


Dagmar Bleasdale December 17, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Thanks for your comment, Holly!


PragmaticMom December 17, 2012 at 9:51 AM

I also want stricter gun control laws.


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