So 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