13 September 2013

What does your reaction to the VMA’s say about you?

Now that it has been sometime since Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke took to the stage at the Video Music Awards, the dust seems to have settled. During the event, 10.1 million watched on TV and then took to social media, generating over 18 million tweets, the literal meaning of ‘going viral online’. Then the blog posts followed some praising, many calling out Cyrus. A couple days later, the married Thicke started getting attention. Everyone wanted in on the discussion, having Thicke or Cyrus as a tag, I am sure, helped increase traffic to their site, because there were over 12 million searches for ‘Miley Cyrus’ a week after the VMA’s. It is also interesting that Thicke and Cyrus have bookended this performance with Album releases; Thicke released his album in July and Cyrus is releasing hers in October.

Many parents are upset about the performance because their once reliable and family friendly character, Hannah Montana, has now changed. But it’s ironic that her performance did not stop people from watching, there was a 66% increase in viewership this year, the bulk of the viewership were 12-34 years olds. If parents were so appalled by this performance, why wasn’t there a drop in viewership? Why was there such a spike in the twitter-verse? How come there has been such an interest in online searches? And why have parents been using Thicke and Cyrus as examples of what not to be? Doesn’t saying don’t be like them bring attention to them anyways?

There have been and are several avenues to take with this subject, one is that we as parents need to be better monitors of our child and teens programming. We need to realize that people do change, for better or worse. Another is that by saying “don’t do this” only peaks interest in what not to do. But the avenue I wish to take comes from, I must admit, a comedian named Paul Aldrich. In one of his parody’s he does a cover of an Adam Sandler song. A line in the song goes: “I’ve made millions of dollars acting like a fool, but you’ve paid millions to watch me. What’s that say about you?”

Even despite our outrage over the performance, we still tuned in. We as a society have continued to search for the clips on YouTube and Facebook. We have gone out and searched for the ‘dear daughter, don’t be a Mily Cyrus’ or ‘dear son, don’t be a Robin Thicke’ internet letters, and then shared them. What does this say about us?

If we were truly appalled by their performance, we should have turned the TV off. We should not search them out or use them as topics. We should not support their new products. Instead, go out and find performers on YouTube that encourage the behavior’s you want to see, and are role models for your children. Go through your own music collection and see if you are contradicting yourself to your children. Check your own website history. What does what you have surfed online say about you? What do you watch and listen to say about you? Are you conveying the message to your children that you want them to see?

We need to start pointing towards examples of what to do, instead of what not to do.