What about the Children?

The Rejects concert last Tuesday was great. But there was one minor thing that bothered me – pun intended – a lot of little kids in the crowd. No, I’m not talking about high-schoolers, I’m talking about 8-11-year-olds standing next to mom or dad. Now, there’s nothing wrong with bringing your kids to a concert for a good time. But when Tyson Ritter threw an inflatable sex-doll into the crowd and said “Put some clothes on this thing or the f*cking show’s over, no sh*t,” I started to question why a parent would bring their 4th grader to this kind of venue.

I suppose it was a repeat performance of last September’s “103.5 The Beat” concert which was heavily attended by lots and lots of – you guessed it – kids. Last year’s concert culminated in a surprise performance by Trick Daddy, who did a rendition of “Sugar on my Tongue,” only he substituted the word “p*ssy” for “sugar” and introduced himself by saying “Let’s get it started in this motherf*cker!” Let’s get one thing right: I’m not saying the content of these concerts should be changed; hell, Trick Daddy was awesome. But I think these venues are intended for a different kind of crowd: older kids and adults.

I think the real problem is parents who bring their young kids to these shows. I don’t know what they’re thinking, but I would feel a little awkward if I had my child perched on my shoulders as the two of us listened to streaming profanity. Why are kids being exposed to these things at so young an age? I know that the internet, television, and today’s media have made it really easy for even the youngest of children to become aware of sex, drugs, or whatever else. But relaxed standards have also definitely played a part. When a parent takes their elementary-schooler to a mature movie or concert, or lets them stay up till 12:30 a.m. on a school night to watch “Mind of Mencia”, it seems as if they’ve given up the battle to instill their kids with a sense of decency and responsibility.

I don’t know if I have any viable solutions to the problem, and some readers may not even think this is a problem. That outlook shows how the situation is not really an issue of changing times, but rather that people are changing their values. Maybe we need to stop and ask ourselves how we want the next generation to turn out, and the way we raise our children will be entirely responsible for determining that. If you want, let your fourth-grader watch MTV all afternoon, play video games all night, and download the latest 50 Cent album onto their iPod.

Or, as an alternative, get them into team sports, get them to respect hard work, and wait until they’re at least 13 before letting them go see their favorite band or rapper in concert. I know that since I don’t have kids yet this is really a comment from the peanut gallery, but I think some people need to ask themselves what it means to be a responsible parent.

Charles Hanna is a sophomore majoring in architecture. He may be reached at hanna_charles@yahoo.com.