We are destroying family-friendly institutions. Young adults, to be specific. Our tools for destruction? Obscene language, crass t-shirts, and an all-too carefree attitude. Children are being exposed to inappropriate behavior and language in places like movie theaters, theme parks, malls, and simply public streets – places that should be PG-rated. We wouldn’t have appreciated it when we were kids, so there’s no reason we should be the cause of this trouble now.
We’ve adopted a greatly irresponsible attitude of being too relaxed and carefree. We should be able to do and say whatever we want, right?
We’ve crossed the line and we need to back paddle. T-shirts that say, “Philly is for lovers” is one thing. But “Rock out with your c-ck out” is inappropriate. When a person is walking down the street with a shirt like that, kids can see it. There’s no warning or indication that inappropriate material will be present when a mother or father takes a child for a walk.
Society has established certain indicators to curb these types of situations. The Motion Picture Association of America established film ratings in 1968. Parents know which films will be child-appropriate based on the G, PG, PG-13, and R ratings. Most box offices offer information as to whether or not plays are appropriate for kids. Restaurants, nightclubs, and comedy shows will also state whether or not their attractions are family friendly.
Public streets should be neutral territory where all ages are welcome.
Amusement parks, which are traditionally family institutions, have drifted away from that in the past few years. People that are familiar with New Jersey have probably noticed the decline of the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson. The park has become increasingly populated with more teenagers and 20-somethings than families. Too many of the park guests display lewd behavior, such as shouting curse words at each other, wearing t-shirts with foul writing, and women wearing skimpy bathing suits.
But the Great Adventure management is doing something about it.
Management is en forcing a “no profanity or offensive behavior” regulation at the park. Anyone violating these rules is to be ejected from the park without a refund.
Guests are not allowed to wear t-shirts with offensive writing on it, nor are they allowed to simply wear the shirt inside out. And the park security guards really are enforcing this rule – I saw it first hand.
No bathing suits are allowed to be worn in the main park – only the water park. This is to prevent women from walking around in clothes that could probably pass for underwear.
It’s rare that a management team is so proactive about their regulations. Mandating that people not wear clothes with a certain kind of writing on them is not censorship. It is setting a standard for a company’s private institution and making sure that the customers’ best interest is in mind.
Other institutions, like movie theaters and malls need to adopt Great Adventure’s rules. Gratuitous profanity has no place in attractions that cater to the general public. Furthermore, if such regulations are created, these managements need to stick to their guns, which is asking a lot in this day and age.
It comes down to being more aware of ourselves and having respect for our surroundings. Movie theaters and theme parks are not our personal playgrounds – they are visited by young children and adults. We need to respect all areas as places appropriate for everyone.
Let’s not ruin the institutions that we enjoyed so much when we were kids.
Jesse North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org