- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2006

Parents should launch their own “daily battle” against the “cultural sewage” America’s massive media machine generates, a conservative author and family advocate told a World Media Association forum yesterday.

Homes have become the primary receptacles for misogynistic music, highly sexualized programming and violent video games that glorify rape and murder, Rebecca Hagelin told the forum on media influence in the culture at The Washington Times Arbor Ballroom.

The media is pervasive and is shaping youth, but parents can begin by assessing what’s in their homes and making adjustments, said Mrs. Hagelin, author of “Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That’s Gone Stark Raving Mad.”

“Your battle is not with your child,” said Mrs. Hagelin, who is vice president for marketing and communications at the Heritage Foundation. “Your battle is with adults who have a different worldview than you do, and [who] have been able to capture your child’s ears and eyes because we have let them do it by default.”

The “media” is no longer “an old-fashioned big box” that sits in the living room and has “four grainy channels,” said Charmaine Yoest, vice president of external relations at the Family Research Council.

Today’s media is hundreds of TV channels, computers with streaming videos, video games, IPods and cell phones, she said. These multipurpose devices make media “mobile, on the go; it’s media everywhere we look.”

Young people are particularly affected by such media — positively and negatively, Mrs. Yoest said. Girls, for instance, are bombarded with images of skin-and-bones actresses and plastic surgery reality shows that seem to say, “You’re not OK the way you are,” she said.

“The best way to scare the media is to have teens who can think for themselves,” said Lan Tsubata, youth coordinator at Washington AIDS International Teens. Young people “have to know their own value,” she said at the forum, which was co-sponsored by the Women’s Federation for World Peace.

Mrs. Yoest praised the idea of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, which would sharply raise fines for indecent broadcasting. She also urged media companies to be “responsible corporate citizens” and provide more positive influences.

Earlier this week, at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, a coalition of entertainment groups promised to establish a $300 million educational campaign to inform parents about the V-chip television rating system and urge them to control what their children watch on television.

However, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin said at the NAB convention that he’s “not sure that’s the complete answer” because some shows aren’t rated and many TVs do not have the V-chip technology.

“The V-Chip reads information encoded in the rated program and blocks programs from the set based upon the rating selected by the parent,” according to the FCC.

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