What TV Shows Do You Forbid Your Kids to Watch?

Janelle Harris

Children, televisionFolks are flabbergasted when I tell them the so-called classic movies I’ve never seen because my mama ran a tight ship when it came to my TV time. That meant she wasn’t letting anything slip past her radar. I never saw Eddie Murphy’s Raw. Never saw The Last Dragon. Never saw Colors or Nightmare on Elm Street (that last one was more because she didn’t want me getting scared out of my little bit of wits and trying to sleep with her for the next two weeks).

TV screening is a practice I’ve enforced in my own household with my own kid. So Bad Girls Club? Out. Jersey Shore? Nope. And I even had to cut Degrassi off because though I don’t try to shield Tween Missy Poo from real-life issues and situations she may be confronted with somewhere down the pipeline, they got a little too graphic for my liking. If I, as a grown woman, feel awkward watching it, what in the world would make me give the green-light for my kid to tune in regularly? 

In conversation with another parent who lets his daughter of the same age watch pretty much anything she wants, I was a little taken aback at his reasoning: it’s fine by him because she gets straight As and doesn’t give him any trouble. Well heck yeah, I guess I wouldn’t rock the boat either if I was 12 and had free and clear access to a wide assortment of soft porn smut, blood-and-bomb violence, and a dictionary’s worth of constantly renewing trashy language.

Heck, even kids know how to err on the side of caution when they’ve got it while the gettin’s good.

Far be it from me to wag a scolding finger at him since my beloved offspring is neither a walk in the park nor a straight-A student (she was, once upon a time. Then middle school reared its ugly head. Grrr). But it seems to me that your kid shouldn’t qualify to watch shows that are way too grown for them. That’s clearly why they’re so popular with kids that age — they’re not supposed to be watching them. That’s part of their appeal. So TV has a lineup of pooty poot tomfoolery that’s very mature in content when they know darn well the majority of their viewing audience is teens and kids.

It’s kind of sad, really. In trying to protect her from growing up too early, I have to shield her from much of pop culture in general. She can’t talk about Snooki’s latest antics with her friends or the 40,001th outbreak of catfight brawling on Bad Girls Club. That sure doesn’t win me any Coolest Mom I’ll Ever Know Award.

But mothering ain’t a popularity contest and watching trash just for the sake of watching it ain’t part of my childrearing checklist. Young Skylar will have to deal with it for now — or until she gets her own TV and her own cable, and has to play catch-up on stuff she’s been missing for over a decade, just like I had to do.

What won't you allow your children to watch? And why are you so opposed to it?


Image via skippyjon/Flickr

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