I have to thank @coffeepinkicing for giving me inspiration to post today, as she made the observation that all MTV shows now is my Super Sweet 16 and Teen pregnancy shows.
Au contraire my friend, MTV brings us such finery as “Jersey Shore”. What would pop culture be without its Guido references? *Fist pump*
Still, TV in general paints a bleak picture of what we can expect from generations to come.
Many people, self included, can talk about the shows they will never forget from their childhoods. While it seems that Sesame Street is here to say, good shows like Eureka’s Castle, Allegra’s Window, and Gullah Gullah Island have made ways for Bob the Builder, The Wiggles, and Yo Gabba Gabba. I won’t say these shows don’t have life lessons to offer our children. They do. It is interesting that we have transitioned from shows with puppets, to shows with puppets, kids, and adults, to shows with just puppets and adults. In those shows were the children start to learn about the world around them, very few of those shows have real world models. I know I’m not the only adult who wonders why kids are in love with a man who wears nut-hugging orange overalls and a fuzzy pimp hat. If your child (or younger sibling, cousin, or whomever) was gravitating toward such a character in real life, that would be all bad news, right? If the answer is no…well, I’d NEVER leave any of my babies in your charge.
Still, I love that those shows try to give our children the lessons that are going to be important for them to know when they start to socialize with other children at school. I can’t say I have always seen children apply those lessons (or turn those lessons into group singalongs), but hey, the real-time experience helps them to get those real-time lessons. There is even a little bit of that with Tween shows like “ICarly, and the Suite Life of Zach and Cody”. I’d argue we lose all of that with shows for the older kids.
I saw Degrassi (both pre and post Drake) and I don’t think that a show that kids should watch without adult supervision/adult commentary. I don’t want kids thinking it is okay to bust a slob (or kiss) in the hallway, I don’t want my kids watching shows that regularly talk about teen sex and heavy issues that we used to cover during after school specials. WHAT HAPPENED TO AFTER SCHOOL SPECIALS?!
Why is it that parents don’t take the same care watching TV with their kids that our parents used to take with us? Could it be in part because there are so many babies having babies, a la 16 (and under) and pregnant? While on the one hand I love this show for showing kids that sh*t won’t be sweet if the girl ends up getting pregnant, I hate the fact that it shows some girls who are JUST older than my youngest sister having babies. I get teary eyed when I think about Teen Mom and the fact that out of the girls that are on there: one father passed away, one father is a jerk, one father gets beat on, and the couple that IS together decided to give their child up for adoption.
I’d even go so far as to say the reality show craze has given children unrealistic expectations of what they need to do to get famous. Even though one could argue Montana Fishburne is old enough to know better, the child thought she could get Kardashian famous by making a sex tape. Though these shows are supposed to show “reality”, we all know they are cut, pasted, and edited so that only the most interesting parts (or controversial, or drama filled, or whatever you want to call them) are shown. Any work (hard or otherwise) that the stars do is conveniently left on the editing room floor, so that the naive watchers amongst us get a false understanding of what it takes to be successful. Overnight success RARELY happens overnight.
I won’t say “hide ya kids”, but I will say it is worth your while as a parent, godparent, aunt, uncle, or older sibling to discuss the culture and the values that media is instilling in our children.
And in case you are wondering…I do have watched all the shows I wrote about.