Parents can be better prepared to protect their children if they understand what their children are being exposed to, said Superior Court Judge Danny Craig.
"If you're of the opinion that your children are not constantly bombarded by some of the most blatant suggestions, then you're deaf, dumb and blind, because the media that you grew up with in the '50s or '60s or '70s is not at all what the media is today," he said in a speech to the Episcopal Day School Parent Association on March 11.
"Do it if it feels good. Do it if you're enjoying your life. Do it regardless of respect to others, because you only have one life to live and you need to live it to the fullest," he said. "That's the message that your children are getting from the media."
In his presentation, Choices for a Lifetime: What the Entertainment Industry Won't Tell You About the Life It Glamorizes, Judge Craig discussed teen and parent responsibilities with respect to alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, criminal history, bullying and Internet crimes, as well as the consequences of each.
What might seem "not that bad" can have tough consequences, he told the parents.
For example, he often tells students that there is no such thing as a "cheap joint."
"I can't stop you; your parents can't stop you; and none of us are going to fool ourselves to suggest that we can. But don't think that it's just a $5 joint of marijuana," he said.
The cost, he told the students, could end up being a lot more.
Parents have to stop letting the media be their baby sitters, Judge Craig said. "You have to turn the television off to save your child."
He said he hoped that parents understood from his presentation how important their jobs are.
"Parenting can never be put on automatic pilot. There are no days off," he said. "Every missed opportunity to mentor a child subjects a child to dramatic and sometimes traumatic consequences."
Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.