2014-04-04_14-48-37We’ve all been talking about how in today’s world kids are getting more violent because of video games, movies, music, etc. I am here to voice my opinions and I am honored that Athens Now is allowing me to do so.

The first thing I would like to address is video games. Video games are becoming a target on showing kids things they shouldn’t be seeing or doing. I believe that you as the parent should know that video games aren’t for everyone anymore like they were in the 80s. There are video games for everyone from kids to adults and they have a rating system called the ESRB. This rating system is much like that of movies. On every video game box, usually located in the bottom left corner, there’s a letter telling you what it’s rated. Also, on the back in the bottom right corner, is typically a description of why it’s rated that.

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The letters are C, E, E 10+, T, and M. C is for children and appropriate for 3 year olds. E would be like a G rated movie. E 10+ would be a PG rated movie. T would be PG-13 and M would be similar to an R-rated movie. If you wouldn’t let your kids see an R-rated movie, then you probably shouldn’t let them play an M-rated video game. For more information on the rating system, visit www.esrb.org.

The second thing I would like to address is music. Parents, please pay attention to what music your kids are listening to. In today’s music, no matter what genre, (Country, Rap, Hip-Hop, Rock, or Metal) there’s good and bad lyrics. Most bands have lyrics demonstrating how badly he/she wants to kill someone or how he/she wants to get drunk and/or high on drugs to get away from their problems, or how badly they want to have sex. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these lyrics sung in every type of music. So please pay more attention to what the bands are singing, and not just about what they sound like.

I also would like to say that none of these forms of entertainment should be fully blamed for today’s violence. If that were the case, I would like to blame the history books for teaching kids how they could be violent. Kids could get ideas on torture and whatever else from those as well. Let’s face it: there’s always going to be violence. If you want to put all the blame of today’s issues on video games, music, movies, etc., then I guess Hitler must have somehow played a violent video game, watched a movie or heard song and got the idea from that to kill the Jews. I mean come on, don’t put all of the blame on any one thing.

This leads me to the final thing I would like to address. Kids could come up with the ideas of violent behavior from their parents, brothers, sisters, friends, or people in general. How are you the dealing with your problems? People, no matter how young or classic (no likes to be called “old”), are living and basing their lives on examples that their mom and dad were/are like, what their brothers and sisters were/are like, what their home is/was like, what morals they live/lived by. Are you a violent person yourself? Are you always talking about how badly you would like to do something to someone, or how badly you would like to see someone get hurt or have their feelings hurt? Are you drinking away your problems? You might need to take a look at yourself and see what kind of example you are setting for your kids.
By: Hunter Williams

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We’re Southerners. Winter or not, we would never guess that we were going to wake up to a snowstorm. Athens suffered broken pipes and frozen fingers, but, bizarrely enough, it was much worse south and east of us.

2014-02-07_14-55-19After the tornadoes came through on April 27th, 2011, some people lost the meat in their freezers, a few days of work, and the ability to refill at the local pump. Others lost their homes, their property, and many, their lives.

There is a tendency to blame someone else. There always is. Granted, it’s a little hard to blame a tornado on anyone. It happened, and while we can beg for money from the government or complain to our neighbors, it’s not exactly anyone’s fault.

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A tornado is sudden and unexpected. A snowstorm, on the other hand, lends itself to scapegoats.

Governors, mayors, weather forecasters; on every level someone was finding someone to blame. “We should have been told, we should have been warned,” people said. I guess we should have had the governor issue an ultimatum with a curfew, restraining regular citizens from their superfluous schooling and working and driving. Just in case we…what, woke up to snow?

Blogger Brian Barrett, in a post that went viral, put it best. “Waking up in Birmingham to snow,” he said, “is like waking up in New Hampshire to quicksand.”

“They took a gamble,” says Al Roker, a television personality at NBC, who – incidentally – has never lived south of the Mason-Dixon. “They didn’t want to pre-treat the roads; I don’t think they wanted to spend the money and do what they needed to.”

Which is probably correct. If he wanted to ship some trucks from New York – you know, the kind that “pre-treat” the roads (I’m Southern, I don’t even know what that means), he could have saved all those people from what turned into a horrible disaster.

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Children stuck in schools and on buses, snarled traffic, and lives put at risk is no joke. But that doesn’t mean we have to locate a target to throw rotten tomatoes at.

If mistakes are made, they need to be set right. Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia took an impressive and unprecedented stand when he stated, “I’m not looking for a scapegoat. I am the governor. The buck stops with me.”

Regardless of our proven ability to blame a politician for the weather, it makes far more sense to make sure that we, personally, are prepared for when disaster strikes.

Spend the money, take the time, and make sure you have bottled water in the closet, flashlights with fresh batteries in the drawer, and extra coats and/or blankets in your car trunk.

We live in the age of the Internet. We can watch a weather radar just as well as the meteorologist on television. The question is not whether we’re informed, it’s what are we going to do with that information?
By: Melissa Kirby

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