Just last night, I came across the family program Funny Videos while channel surfing. I was always troubled by this form of entertainment and decided to see if that were still the case. I remembered how oftentimes that those "funny" home videos show time after time a child getting hurt in one way or another while the audience howls with laughter. Sure enough, there was one video where a toddler, too young to stand securely on his own, was videotaped climbing up a child's slide, reaching the top and attempting to stand. Naturally, the child toppled over only to be caught just in time by a young woman, quite likely the mother, by the ankles, leaving the little one suspended upside down while the camera continued to roll and the audience shrieked with amusement. Another home video showed some very small children playing in a kiddy pool until an overgrown man decided to take a mad dash down a Slip'N Slide and body slam the three little ones, scattering them with stunning force. More jubilant praise came from the audience.
Is it any wonder then that today's New York Times had a disturbing article titled Report Sounds Alarm on Child Accidents. The sidebar stated,
This is an unsettling statistic. One of the major types of the fatal injuries is falls, according to the report by World Health Organization and Unicef. Perhaps those children in the home videos weren't terribly injured, otherwise those videos would quite likely not have made it on television. They are the lucky ones. Yet, I do wonder why some find it entertaining when a child comes in harm's way. Catching a little one on film when he or she makes a funny face or pulls grandpa's dentures out of his mouth can be humorous, but when danger is involved, that becomes something else.
An estimate that preventable injuries kill 830,000 children a year worldwide.
Taking it a step further, there are parents who are often too distracted to keep an eye on their children, let alone videotape them. I've witnessed this on several occasions, one most astonishing is the mother standing in a store's foyer perusing the remaindered books while her three-year old pushed open the door to outside and ran into a very active parking lot. I was across the store witnessing what was happening and raced over, yelling to the mother that her child had just run into the parking lot. She looked at me as if I were overreacting before she went out into the parking lot and retrieved her little one who, fortunately, didn't become a statistic.
I'm not saying we should bubble wrap our kids, but instead of using them as entertainment, more parents should take a responsible role in keeping them from becoming a victim and adding to the unacceptable statistics that the report revealed. It's simply no funny matter.