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Bring Back the PSAs of the Early Millennium

Are we outta time?

The popular 80s movie Back to the Future was beyond its time

Whether we admit it or not, us 90s kids all have that one nostalgic guilty pleasure piece of media from our childhoods that we keep coming back to, despite it being decades in the past. The 80s, 90s, and early 2000s gave birth to some powerful pieces of media that are just plain worth bringing back, if not keeping on our new millennium screens for all time.

We are bombarded, day after day, with shows and movies laden with sex, and a ton of important issues are trivialized and passed off as humorous. Netflix-funded shows such as Sex Education and Bonding have deeply troubling undercurrents which often become lost in the humorous messages they convey on the surface. These messages are presented as being unimportant in favour of the stimulating drama the characters face. It gives us a free ticket to emotionally check out of the responsibility of our actions when we compare them to the actions of those on screen. It’s as if society has become unable to talk about important topics with the seriousness and gravity they deserve.

Photo by Jakub Gorajek on Unsplash

Now don’t get me wrong; there is something truly cathartic about indulging in escaping reality with some comedic drama every once in a while, where we get to live through the characters’ experiences without actually doing so in our own lives. It only becomes an issue when we take this behaviour on in our own lives, while failing to zoom out and take responsibility for the consequences.

It’s not about the label (Quebec City C’est Cool; Quebec City, 2011)

With identity politics increasingly taking the front row seat in the minds of our current society, I fear we have neglected certain issues in the process of finding our identities. As a society, we tend to gear toward placing labels on everything, even ourselves and who we are, sometimes at the expense of action. (Check out my other article Labels Are Overrated for a more in depth explanation of why this might be an issue). As a society, we spend a consequential amount of time worrying about who we are and thus tend to neglect what we are doing. I personally do not believe the end justifies the means in that we cannot end up with a favourable outcome through less favourable means; the outcome will always be tainted with what it took to reach the endpoint if the means were less than favourable.

This is what the 80s, 90s, and even the early 2000s understood well and aimed to teach us as kids. It’s not about defining who we are. It’s about living by our moral compass. And it’s about doing it.

It’s about doing it.

What we do is far more important than what we say or what we define ourselves as. I cannot stress that enough. And neither could this PSA by Australia’s National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN).

Videos such as this are profound in their message. They do not try to trivialize or cover up the gravity of their message with humour; they simply state their message honestly and bluntly. This is what makes them so powerful and moving. It forces the viewer to be emotionally present with the message of the video. I’m sure this video would trigger many people, but perhaps we need to be triggered. Perhaps we need to become more aware of the effects we have on the malleable and adaptable minds of young children as well as of those around us.

Because what children see, children do.

And children become our future.

The video highlights that it doesn’t matter what you tell children (or people in general) to do. Children will always follow what you as the adult are doing, not what you are saying, and not what you define yourself as. Anyone can place a label on themselves or on others, but not everyone can practice what they preach.

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