06/03/2013 10:30 am ET Updated Aug 03, 2013

Children and Families Need to Be the Number One Priority in Our Society

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) 50th Anniversary Conference just took place in Los Angeles, California from May 29 through June 1, 2013. AFCC is "the premier interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict. AFCC members are the leading practitioners, researchers, teachers and policymakers in the family court arena."

The Keynote Address was given by James P. Steyer, CEO and Founder, Common Sense Media, and Author of "Talking Back to Facebook." Mr. Steyer gave an exceptional and very powerful speech, which set the tone for this amazing conference.

Did you know that kids spend more than 7.5 hours a day using the media and more than 11 hours a day, if you include multi-tasking? Did you know that kids send an average of nearly 3,000 text messages a month? Did you know that violent video games can teach kids to be aggressive? By the way, they can be downloaded from the Internet for free, even onto smart phones. Don't feel uninformed if you did not know this information because I did not know it until now.

According to Mr. Steyer, we cannot properly address gun control, if we ignore the fact that watching violence teaches aggression. "Evidence from a large body of research has shown that playing violent video games affects players' readiness to engage in violent behavior.... Habitual violent video game play provides opportunities for sustained observational learning that promotes the development of knowledge structures, such as hostile expectations and attributional styles, and the formation of aggressive scripts. Through the portrayal of violence as normal and appropriate, media violence strengthens the normative acceptance of aggression that disinhibits aggressive behavior. Finally, repeated exposure to violent media cues lead to reduced psychological and affective arousal by violent media stimuli that is related to a decrease in emotional responsiveness to real-life violence and suffering." In other words, among other things, it has been shown to increase aggression and simultaneously decrease empathy, not a good combination.

Unfortunately, however, violence sells. As a result, Hollywood and others benefiting financially from the sale of violence (and the politicians in their pockets) have blocked legislation on these issues and the widespread distribution of this information.

Did you know that kids self-reveal before they self-reflect? Did you know that deleting things posted online does not erase such postings? Do you think our government has any interest in entertaining the idea of regulating such things and requiring an "eraser button?" Would it surprise you to learn that the unresolved issue regarding the ownership of the data collected by online sites and services has interfered with such legislation? It seems that "business demands for such data" takes precedence over an individual's right to privacy.

Did you know that 1 in 4 children in the U.S. lives below the poverty line? Did you know that federal poverty line for a family of 3 in 2013 is $19,530.00 in the continental United States? Is the education system solely responsible for the fact that we cannot properly educate such children, or are our values as a society responsible?

Children and families need to be the number one priority in our society. Currently, we only pay lip service to such things. Our children are our future. Isn't it time that we reflect on our true values as a society? I am by no means referring to what others have called "family values." With regard to "family values," I will only state that "the choice to judge someone as good or bad, right or wrong, starts with judging ourselves."

I strongly recommend that everyone look into "Common Sense Media."