The Illusion of Immorality
By Mariah, age 15, Minnesota
In this day and age, when you flip through the channels, you are faced with sex, violence, innuendo, and vulgar language. Parents are worried about their children viewing pornography or watching racy late night comedians on television when, in reality, there is a far greater problem that remains overlooked.
We are paying too much attention to which late night programs our virgin-eyed and virgin-eared children are watching on television, yet we are not trying to solve the main problem that plagues the eyes and ears of our adolescents: sensationalized media.
According to a September 6th, 2006 article by Peter M. Sandman, once himself a journalist, news reporters are only supposed to find leads and cover stories that are of interest to viewers and readers. They look for stories that are more likely to cause an outrage, as opposed to news reports that will inform viewers or readers to true hazards.
For example, a report about five people dying from anthrax, eight people dying from a salmonella outbreak, or someone getting killed by a shark will make headline news because each has the potential to torque someone's nerves and create hysteria. However, you may be unaware of true hazards that are often overlooked by our media because they are boring and all too common.
♥ In the United States, on average, 114 people die each day (42,000 annually) in automobile collisions.
♥ Annually in the United States, more than 20,000 people die from the common flu.
♥ On average, 550,000 Americans die each year from cancer - that's 1,500 deaths per day. About 163,000 of these deaths are caused by lung cancer alone.
♥ 400,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related illnesses.
♥ 910,000 Americans die from heart disease each year.
There are risks in every form of transportation. However, commercial airline travel is among the safest. According to the group United Justice*, from January 1982 to March 2001, there were a total of 8,109,000,000 (that's eight billion) passenger enplanements. During this time there were only 2,301 casualties and 348 serious injuries. In conclusion, you have a 0.00003% chance of being seriously injured or killed in a commercial airline accident, far less than other popular methods of transportation.
We should be more afraid of getting into a car accident or contracting a deadly common disease. Adolescents and adults alike overlook these dangerous illnesses and collisions because we're too apt on cleaning out our lazy susans so we don't get botulism, salmonella, or E. coli, yet the masses of Cheetos, Doritos, caffeine-containing beverages, and high-sugar energy drinks still clutter our cabinets and refrigerators.
According to a May 8th, 2008 Associated Content article, the media is starting to have a greater authority over adolescents these days, as opposed to parents and friends.
We are too worried about finding a Playboy magazine hidden under our child's bed when we should be searching for a pack of Marlboros. We should be telling them to put down that video game or get off of the internet and go play outside with their friends. But that wouldn't work, because they are also instant messaging and texting them as a means of replacing first-person social interaction.
We fear the F-bomb more than we fear the A-bomb. We are alright with violence, as long as no one takes their shirt off or starts using vulgar language. Once we hear that offbeat derogative term or see the man and woman start to get a little too frisky, the television is turned off. So, as a result, we go to our room and play our Medal of Honor or Kuma War video game ...
Priorities. Priorities. Priorities.
* Statistics from United Justice