Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm Not a Prude, but.....

I joined the fire department when I was 16. I was able to hang with the boys pretty well and not be offended by the moments of locker room humor. I consider myself laid back, but as a Mom I think my tolerance for certain things has changed a LOT. For some reason, some of the television programming for pre-teens and teenagers out there seriously befuddles me.

Before I sound "high and mighty", I have to disclose that my guilty pleasures include the "Real Housewives" (New Jersey, Atlanta, BH...). When I was sick, I watched a Jersey Shore marathon during a sleepless night. That being said, I'm 34 (not to mention a married, "boring" Mom). I think I am beyond the impressionable phase.

Once upon a time, I loved "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "The Real World" (like seasons 1, 2, 3...). When the new version of "Beverly Hills, 90210" came out, I watched the first few episodes. Those who admit to watching the original series remember that it was a BIG deal when someone drank or did drugs, and Donna Martin deciding whether or not to sleep with David Silver consumed episodes. It wasn't "The Brady Bunch", but by today's standards the subject matter was lame. I watched the first few episodes of the new version. Holy cow...drunk texting, sleeping around, the 1990s version on crack. I know times have changed, but if my daughter was 13 she would not be watching the show.

Apparently, it gets worse. During the aforementioned "Jersey Shore" marathon, I saw commercials for the new MTV show "Skins". Talk about blatant promiscuity, drugs, drinking, sex. None of these things seemed to be taboo or risky, either. Just normal teenage behavior. So The Washington Post published an article yesterday about the show. (You can read it here). Normally I would probably scoff at critiques by the Parents Television Council, but this one seems to be spot on.
In the 42 minute premier, there were 41 visual and spoken references to drugs and alcohol. This doesn't include the sex.

"On January 17, the Viacom-owned cable network MTV aired a teenager-based drama, 'Skins.' The episode included all manner of foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content. Moreover, future episodes promise much more of the same," PTC said.

So maybe I am turning into my mother, who I had to beg to let me see "Dirty Dancing" in 6th grade because there was...ummmm....dirty dancing in the movie. I wasn't a perfect teenager, and I definitely tested the boundaries, but do we need our pop culture making it so ok for kids to engage in these risky behaviors?! My 8 year old has already come home singing Ke$ha songs she learned on the playground (in the days when I refrained from letting her hear such songs on the radio). How do you explain that it isn't ok to brush your teeth "with a bottle of Jack"?

Ok, so perhaps this is a rant. Perhaps a Mom trying to figure out how to empower my children to make good choices, and wishing that society made it a little easier!


  1. the Skins previews are terrifying. I said to Rich the other day that I KNOW I was a goody goody in high school, but do teenagers really do this stuff? I read an article today on yahoo about a teacher suspended because 2nd graders were performing oral sex in the middle of the class room. SECOND GRADERS! It made me want to vomit. I want to keep my kids in the house forever. *sigh*. But on a side note...Jersey Shore is one of my favorite shows to watch on the bike trainer, LOL

  2. In many ways I agree. It is tough becasue I like TV, and I don't want to shelter my kids completely. That said, MTV is the worst for these shows. Have you seen the Real World lately? It is just crazy. I know there is a lot of research to show that parents think that once their kids are 10-12 that they don't need as much supervision, but this is the time when they need the MOST help. OK - rant over.

  3. I agree it is really scary. These shows just send the wrong message, its OK to be totally out of control and act irresponsibly. It is really sad. Off course now that there are 800 channels the TV folks feel they have to go to extremes so they generate some "buzz" and people will tune in.

  4. and people wonder why kids are miessed up.....

  5. My mom wouldn't even let me watch the original 90210!! I agree that these shows are out of control, but I would be lying if I didn't say I watched all of the 1st season of Gossip Girl...

  6. First, I am not a parent...but I am an Aunt, and so..I speak from there...I agree that the shows are kind of pushing the edge and in a way, making kids older before they need to be. Sure, we have option to turn it off, but it is EVERYWHERE - so a challenge for sure...the messages that it is cool to sleep around and get hammered or yeah, I am with ya

  7. I'm not a mom, but I get it completely! I have seen a lot of hoopla for SKINS and quite frankly, it's sad to me. And I wonder why I'm scared to have kids... :)

  8. I totally agree with you. It's really sad. We don't really watch TV. We just find the shows we like and watch them on Netflix and Hulu so I haven't seen previews for Skins, but I can imagine that it's total trash. I just noticed the other day that one of our most recent favorite shows, Psyche, is really good in that way. Sure it's about solving murders and stuff, but it's not gorry and it never even mentions sex. I think that's awesome. I hope other TV stations learn that you can have a good show without having to put all that nasty stuff in.

  9. I am not a parent yet, but still am quite shocked at what stations try to push. Places wonder where highschool kids are getting ideas to have these huge parties with drugs and alcohol, well it is from the tv shows that are pushing the social limits. Much like if you give a mouse a cookie...

    I think that Skins has gone beyond the line, but it seems to be still growing, so obviously it is either not bothering people enough to speak out, or we are growing immune to it.