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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Television

How much influence do you think it has on young children/teens? I ask because I am very cautious about what I let my children watch. All ratings over PG/TV14 are locked and only accessible through a code that only Ryun and I know.

I am not naive. I know that much of what is seen or heard on TV that I may deem inappropriate they will see or hear about elsewhere (at school, on the bus etc). I guess I feel like it may be the one thing I have control over. A recent discussion with other family members about the show, "16 and Pregnant" has brought this to the forefront. I need to put it out there that I have never actually seen the show so I base my opinion only on what I have heard about it. Apparently it is a show about teens who get pregnant and what life is like for them. The focus is mainly on the difficulties of children raising children and that most of the teens in the show say if they had it to do over again, they would.

That being said, there are a couple of things that come to mind immediately. Without knowing for sure, I would almost stake my life on the fact that there are teens getting pregnant or trying to just so they can be on the show. There is no way that there aren't teens that would be immature, self serving and immoral enough to consider a show like that, "their big break." Beyond that, and of a more personal nature, no matter how the show is portrayed, I don't want my kids getting their education around sex and all that it entails from TV show. As a parent, that is my job. Yes, there will be other "influences" educating them but TV is the one thing I can control so I say, why not?

As a parent, it is my job to provide my kids with a solid foundation of which they can build and go out in to the world. They will form their own opinions, make their own decisions and at some point, watch whatever they want. It is my hope that the education they have received at home will be a strong guiding force in whatever choices they make. Until then, I will continue to do whatever I can to make sure that the foundation is and remains a solid one from which to build.

9 comments:

Kathy said...

I totally agree with your opinion on "16 and Pregnant" - I think it makes it seem like having a child is rather easy - as it is for many of those girls because their parents take on the childcare. My biggest problem with it is how horrible the girls are treated by their boyfriends - and they stay with them - crazy!!

I, too, try to carefully monitor what the kids watch - but somehow "The Simpsons" and WWE Wrestling has worked its way into our home - and I'm not happy about it (needless to say my husband thinks I am making a big deal out of nothing!).

I miss "Arthur" and "The Wild Thornberries"!!

Sharon said...

Ryun is the same way...thinks I am making a big deal out of it. But hey, as long as he doesn't let the kids watch things I don't agree with, he can think I am crazy, LOL.

Anonymous said...

TEST COMMENT

Emma said...

I'm going to have to be careful to not get long and/or irrelevant if I write about this.

First of all, "16 and Pregnant" - while I've never heard of it before - sounds absolutely idiotic. I don't really watch much TV because I just don't find most of what's on to be interesting. Actually, most of what other people are watching annoy me. But anyway.

I can see there being validity to your concerns about what your children are watching. To a degree, especially with younger children. Certain things, like godawful reality shows, are not really beneficial to anyone in any way. And there's some things that just don't need to be seen at young ages. But...

Especially once dealing with teenagers, it comes to a point where you're just playing escapist from reality. You're not the only one controlling the messages. They are going to hear about sex, drugs, and alcohol (and in Whitman-Hanson, this started in about the eighth grade). Yeah, I know - it sounds young, but that's part of why I'm bringing this up. Speaking as one, for children whose parents are very protective - there's an image that we can't talk to you about these things. That we just have to follow whatever you told us without question - stay away from these goddawful heinous things - and leave it at that. Heaven forbid we actually talk to you about these things or the, "WHO, WHERE, WHEN, HOW?" Hammer might rain down.

And at least when I was in high school, not that long ago at all, you could buy marijuana in the cafeteria. No, I don't know from experience LOL - but someone at my table did it once. And you hear about things. And parties, alcohol, people getting absolutely wasted - these are the things that go on all the time. You raise you're kids, you know them, you know they wouldn't do any of that - fine. I didn't. When I had friends, they were geeks. For the most part geeks are very clean and straight edge. But don't create an atmosphere where you're children can't talk to you. About anything. It's not something that wears off quickly.

You may hide them from teenage pregnancies, but what happens when they see the pregnant girl walking down the hallway (I have, it will probably happen). What if they ever go and do something you wouldn't approve of? Are you sure they'd tell you? Would they feel like they could tell you? I'm not criticizing you as a parent, Sharon, I'm criticizing mine - I just want to make sure you don't end up being crazy overprotective because it never ends well.

Sometimes people have to find things out for themselves. Better that they're not doing it alone. You're not going to do your children any favors by monitoring where they go so carefully that they just end up alone, or expecting so much of them that if they did something they think you won't approve of - they'll just lie about it. Bad parent/child relationship, bad interpersonal relationships, good starting point for an anxiety disorder.

Emma said...

And back on topic, I think that there's a lot more in your children innately than they pick up from television. They have personalities. I played Grand Theft Auto without becoming a serial killer. Sometimes what they're interested in is the result of who they are, not the cause of it. Which is not to say it's wrong to stop them from watching something blatantly inappropriate. Just remember that they're going to see it someday - and if you're that strict, it probably won't be around you. They probably won't talk about it. You might never know.

I never felt that I could talk to my parents. I still don't. Because they were trying to raise a perfect child, and I'm not one. I'm pretty damned far from one. There's things they don't know about me and probably never will. I can't even be honest about whether or not I've had alcohol, and I'm 21 for goodness sake. There's a line between being a responsible parent and being overprotective. Be careful of it.

(personal rant section)

I hope you'll never find it objectionable for your children to be around me, by the way. It's such a goddamned shame that no one can, no one will, even mention being transgender in a high school health class. Because the world would end, because the parents would not approve. If it happened across the country, so many people could be helped. So much prejudice reduced. But apparently it's too much to take a moment in the reality based community. I saw someone black out transgender from their card that they were supporting the Day of Silence. Why is it so trendy to hate us? Why aren't we even treated as people? All for something that you were born with. All these things that people hate: race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, all of it. Because they think it's wrong, because they taught their children that it's wrong. I at least trust that you would never teach your children to hate anyone.

(finished)

I hope that didn't come off as too offensive.

<3 Emma

Sharon said...

Emma, Can I email you? I have so much to say that I couldn't possibly comment here without going on...well, forever. For now though, suffice it to say that I totally agree with everything you said! Send me your email address through a FB message if you want! : )

Jay said...

Kids are people too.

Don't be too overprotective. Don't be too closed. Help them be informed, intelligent, sensible and, yes, independent. Being Mom isn't a job and doesn't have life tenure. It's being Mom, not a helicopter.

A show that's unrealistic? Hey, great educational and conversational fodder! Whatever the decision about actually watching.

Overprotective can lead to overdependent, or underconfident, or eventual explosive escape.

You can't do the prime parental task of preparing kids for the rest of their lives as adults if you infantilize them indefinitely.

Sharon said...

Uh...duh...I'll just send you a message on FB...don't need you're email. Me thinks it's time for another cup of coffee.

Sharon said...

Believe me (sorry Mom and Dad...love you guys) but, if anyone knows what it's like to be the product of overprotective parents it's me. It certainly doesn't make it any easier when parenting my own children not to over do it sometimes. In this case though, I don't think I am, as long as my not letting them watch is followed up with open and honest conversation on my part (and theirs) when it comes to the realities of life.