Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Fallacy of Parental Censorship

My two year old was running around the house singing 104 days, 104 days, 104 days last night.

I guess we watch a lot of Phineas and Ferb around here. 

We do, but it's okay with me.  It's a cute animated show, Perry the Platypus is the funniest cartoon character currently, and it doesn't drive me insane. 

There was a post on one of the sites I follow about children's shows.  Well, more correctly, it was a generalized post on television shows, asking for input from women about what they let their kids watch.  Which turned almost instantly into a bash-fest.  

Women.  Sheesh.

All the shows these women forbid their kids from watching, all the reasons why.   The shows like Glee that normalize homosexuality (that actually very normal thing that it is), the shows like Phineas and Ferb that undermine parental authority, the shows like Spongebob that are just plain strange.  People found reasons to forbid just about everything, even down to preschool cartoons. 

I guess I shouldn't tell them that I let my kids watch just about everything.  Except Law & Order and those kind of shows.  Kids don't need to be watching forensic investigations and shows about sex crimes. 

We do pre-screen some movies we aren't sure about before we let them watch them, but we let them watch almost anything at the end of the day.

I'm just not a censoring type of parent.  Sure there are shows I'm not the biggest fan of, and I steer the kids towards something else whenever possible.  I hated Caillou - that kid is just a brat.  And Max and Ruby?  Where are their parents?  Olivia is also a brat and mean to her younger brothers.  

I don't love tween programming, mostly because I don't like the fact that my kids are rapidly approaching that age.  It's not the fault of the show.  Kids are always naturally intrigued by stories about people just a few years older than they are.  I mean, honestly, how many of us moms read the Sweet Valley High books when we were actually in high school?  None of us, we were done with them years before that. 

It's not a new phenomenon. 

Difference being, parents are crazy now.  Can you hear the thump thump thump of the helicopters outside?  They have to micromanage every aspect of their kids lives, sheltering and protecting them from every questionable influence.  Put them in a bubble. 

Here's the thing though: it is a fallacy.  Kids today are growing up even faster than we ever did, and pretending that isn't happening by forbidding things isn't addressing the real issue.  Often the same parents squirming when their 10 year old watches anything rated above PG are the same ones getting their kids cell phones at the same age.  Totally inconsistent.

It's a false sense of protection.

As for me, I'd rather sit and watch the shows with them then pretend that they've never seen them before.  Talk about the issues raised, let them ask questions.  I want them to know that I know what they are seeing, what they are interested in, what they want to learn about. 

Censorship doesn't work.  At least not nearly as well as actual parenting does.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! I've never censored what my kids read/watch and they are both nearly out of high school. You won't meet more well-adjusted, normal teenagers, even if they've seen "Saw" one too many times for my comfort level. =]



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