Mom Confession: I Let My Daughter Watch Gruesome Crime Shows

Say What!? 27

chalk outlineSo I recently read a story by a mom who was afraid she'd turned her daughter into a hypochondriac by letting her watch too many TV medical dramas and shows about bizarre conditions, and I instantly knew exactly what she was talking about: My almost 12-year-old daughter is obsessed with crime shows like Law & Order: SVU and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. And at first, I was similarly concerned about the sometimes gruesome and probably inappropriate content and its potential to warp her still-developing mind. Should a tween girl have visions of dead hookers dancing in her head? Most likely not. But then something happened that put a completely different perspective on my daughter's TV viewing habits. Not only am I no longer concerned about her morbid fascination with crime shows, I'm HAPPY about it. Here's why:

One day not so long ago, I was driving with my daughter and her two best friends in the backseat. Half-listening to their non-stop chatter, my ears perked up when I realized they were talking about their favorite episodes of Law & Order: SVU. So they ALL watched these shows! That was comforting. Sort of. Then one of my daughter's friends said something about how she always walks home from her bus stop really fast just in case there's a guy hiding in the bushes somewhere waiting to attack her.

Oh my god I do the SAME thing! said my daughter's other friend.

Because even people who LOOK nice could be totally creepy, said my daughter.

I like, NEVER make eye contact with strangers, said friend #1.

Hmmm, I thought.

That's when I realized: I'd rather have my daughter be street smart and slightly paranoid than be a walking target who thinks everybody is super-friendly and good at heart. Maybe that's a pessimistic view to take, as a parent, but I like the idea of walking home fast and not making eye contact!!

Is that so wrong?

Do you let your kids watch crime shows?

 

Image via Erica Cherup/Flickr

friends, safety

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mamat... mamatreat

Yep! Hit the nail on the head on this one. My 9 year old watches these shows so I can talk to her about them and explain them and answer questions she has. They aren't 100% factual, but close enough to SHOW my daughter the dangers t there.

amnew... amnewlon8982

I was a law enforcement dispatcher for 11 years. I never shielded my eldest from what mommy's career choice was and she even went to work with me on occasion and gasp, I allowed her to listen to some of the calls I took and dispatched. It has made her aware of the evils in this world which is vastly different from the one I grew up on where we didn't bother to lock our doors.

amnew... amnewlon8982

I was a law enforcement dispatcher for 11 years. I never shielded my eldest from what mommy's career choice was and she even went to work with me on occasion and gasp, I allowed her to listen to some of the calls I took and dispatched. It has made her aware of the evils in this world which is vastly different from the one I grew up on where we didn't bother to lock our doors.

bella... bellacazzate

Statistically and psychologically, "walking fast" or walking in a way that is perceived as someone being afraid or worried is often aids in drawing predators or attackers. Anything that denotes a lack of confidence, meekness, etc.  


This is just perpetuating the media myth that the world is far more dangerous than it actually is (when in actuality, we haven't been this safe in years). Why encourage someone to live in fear of a boogeyman in the bushes when if she was attacked at all, it would likely be by someone she already knows. 


I see where you're coming from and all and I think we think (wrongly, but it helps you sleep at night) things like this all the time because it reassures us that the kids are aware of something (even if it's from a television show), but when it's said aloud or written about, it sounds, well, dumb. 

momof... momof1teengirl

My daughter watches Low and Order, and SVU, and we discuss the issues.  She is far more aware of the dangers of drugs, rape - including date rape, consequences of actions, etc.  She knows the difference between "real" and "TV", but it has brought up many awesome conversations about her choices, her choice of friends, the risks of drinking, drugs, sex, etc.  I think each parent needs to judge based on their own child, that child's maturity, etc.

Melinda Woodard

My 6yo actually surprised me a week or so ago by telling me she was watching crime shows one morning before I went to work. It was a weekend and I was stunned that she'd opted for this instead of cartoons. Nonetheless, she is a VERY observant child and the program she watched was apparently a documentary format where it was actual stories. She told me how these guys had grabbed these girls (sometimes from their bedrooms) and killed them and buried their bodies. She told me how their parents were crying and sad because their little girls got killed and they missed them and wanted them back. While I wasn't sure how I felt about her seeing the actual program, it gave her a clearer understanding of why mommy and daddy won't let her go to the park alone, or why we won't let her wander to a different part of the store without us, or why we insist she hold our hands.

Leatitia Mallett McGinnis

I let my daughter watch scared straight! Best show ever!!!! She is only six, but she totally grasps the concept of doing right and wrong. I think it teaches her early about the consequences of bad choices.

Francie Conley Kastellos

I was thinking the same thing as others...you should ALWAYS make eye contact with creeps and stare them down. You need to let people know you are a fighter and you SEE them and will be the worst idea they have ever had. But as far as the shows goes, my daughter is almost 9 and LOVES detective shows...but my son is totally not into them they are scary. So each kid is different...you need to go with the flow.

Jo Skiff

I too used to watch these shows with my pre-teens - it gave us opportunity to talk about things that otherwise don't come up regularly in conversation. Being aware is being prepared. Kudos Mom!

Lisa Bliss

I let my daughter watch those shows as well (she is 13) but I am very hesitant about letting her watch The Following. Hubby and I love the show but feel it may be a bit too intense for her.

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