Treading the Thin Line of Appropriate TV Viewing for Tweens
My 11-year-old turns to my husband and I the other day and says: "Family Guy is hilarious, but I'm not sure if it is funnier than Modern Family."
Huh?? We don't let our kids watch those shows. That was his way of telling us that he can get around our TV limits by watching YouTube at his friends' houses. But that doesn't mean that we are opening the floodgates around here. We just let him start watching The Simpsons last week, and of course there was a hooker reference in the first minute. Let's be honest, The Simpsons is pretty tame in comparison to what else is out there and at least it is intelligent compared to most of what is on TV.
Our kids don't live in a bubble, we want them to be part of the cultural conversations that go on around them; but Aaron, our eldest, is a very intellectually mature yet socially immature kid and he isn't quite ready for all the sexual innuendo on those shows. In fact, I hate some of the shows that are aimed at his age (I'm talking about you, Suite Life on Deck). Even watching Glee is still a topic of debate around here.
When I start getting worked up about all the inappropriate cultural influences that my kids are exposed to; I remember Love Boat. I watched Love Boat every Saturday night since I was about nine and that was some sexy stuff.
So, you know your kids are going to watch inappropriate shows one way or another. What do you do about it?
When in doubt we go to commonsensemedia.org to check out what they say about the shows. We are a talky house, so I try and talk about the shows that they watch. These ideas from a Today's Parent article are a good start:
• What did you like about that show?
• Why do you think that the main character did what he did?
• How would you have felt if that happened to you?
• Was there anything you didn’t understand?
And, full disclosure. Even though we denied my son The Simpsons until he was eleven, he watched it with his 5-year-old sister beside him. We have always found that once it is in the house, everyone sees it. So I will be talking a lot.
You know what we won't be watching for a number of years? These shows. Almost makes you want to cancel cable.
Do you limit what your kids watch? Do you talk to them about what they are watching?
Want more chaos? Last year, I asked if dads encourage riskier behaviour than moms.
I have a tiny quote in today's Globe and Mail about MomtheVote, an intiative that some mommy bloggers (including me) started to get women talking about the Canadian federal election. Also, check out the MomtheVote Facebook page.