New Rules About Nudity & Profanity on TV Mean Moms Need a New 'Babysitter'

kid televisionHey parents, remember when actress Charlotte Ross' buns got their seven seconds of fame on NYPD Blue? And when Cher and Nicole Ritchie blurted out curse words at live awards shows? Well it's official: They got away with it. The Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the FCC to fine broadcasters for those fleeting moments of nudity and profanity.

But that was then and this is now. The Supreme Court did NOT rule on whether it's okay to fine broadcasters for nudity and profanity in the future. They said the FCC could make new rules about that, you know, whenever. Which brings me to this question: What are parents supposed to do in the meantime?


Just to be clear, the Supreme Court's ruling had nothing to do with parenting or morality. This comes down to a technicality -- something to do with the FCC not giving networks enough notice before fining them ... bla bla bla.

More from The Stir: Television for Toddlers: Even When It's Good It's Still Kind of Bad

Anyway, now it's an open question. The FCC can make new rules about brief profanity and nudity during prime time. But some folks say that's just more government intrusion. Like, why can't parents just not let their kids watch the bad stuff, or something. It's your responsibility!

ORLLY? Let's imagine a world where broadcasters are allowed to do whatever the hell they want.

Your kids go to bed at 8:00. You turn on your grown-up TV show. Your 3-year-old can't sleep and sneaks into the living room just as someone streaks across your screen in their birthday suit.

Or: You let your 8-year-old Gleek stay up to watch the Emmys. Darren Criss lets loose an F-bomb.

Or: A real-life example, that time before cable TV was regulated and my young siblings and I stumbled upon full-frontal strip tease at 2:00 in the afternoon. Yes, that happened. No, our parents never found out. Yes, we were kind of freaked out to learn grown-ups take off their clothes for each other just for fun.

So now you have to have one of those conversations with your kid. And you find yourself saying, "I know I said that word, too, last Friday, and I shouldn't have." Or you say, "Well, the human body is beautiful, but in our family, we kind of like to keep our private parts to ourselves because, um ... (???)"

Ugh. You know what? I know times are changing. And I don't want to go back to the days of Leave It to Beaver. But I am also not so desperate for one of those "I'm the Only Person Responsible for Raising This Child" medals of honor that I can't appreciate a little bit of help from the FCC. I mean, rules need to be clear and a little more liberal. But I'd still like there to be at least some baseline of acceptability on prime time television.

Should the FCC have rules on profanity and nudity for prime time television? What should those rules be?


Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr

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