It was unbelievable. It had lying, disrespect, conniving, stealing, anger, and fighting. Did I mention that it had lying? Lots and lots of lying. Almost everything that was said was a lie, or a withholding of the truth. If it wasn't a lie, it was a put down to an authority figure. And it all took place during a one hour special of a popular sitcom on a popular children's channel.
We always watch several episodes of any new programs with our children before we allow them to watch the show alone. We watched several episodes of the particular show mentioned above, and decided it was too much in favor of making the kids look responsible, and the parents look like bumbling idiots. Not really the subliminal message...Oh, who am I kidding?...the overtly in- your-face, cram-it-down-your-throat message we wanted our children weekly indoctrinated by. So after the initial watching together of several episodes, and talking about them, we decided it was not in the best interest of our children for them to watch it any more.
Okay, with that said, and us not having watched any more of that show's episodes for quite a while, they began advertising for a one hour special. I thought we would give it a try - after all, the commercials made it look like a really funny episode. So I set the DVR to record it, and we watched it, and I was disgusted. It consisted of one lie after another (to which there was never a consequence). At one point, one of the son's "friends" pleads with him to steal from a store resulting in one of the only good things in the whole show, when the son stands up to his friend and says no. The friend then whines and says, "Can't we at least steal (a smaller less expensive item here)". At another point, the daughter suggests stealing something. The mother acts incredulous and asks the daughter if she is actually suggesting that they steal the said item. The daughter says yes. And the mother replies, "Yes! And the student becomes the master!" in celebration that her daughter came up with a plan to steal something, and insinuating that she is the one who taught her such behavior, and not only approves of it, but is proud of it.
Hello!?! Testing, testing...Is this thing on? Are we the only parents that are bothered by this? The whole thing was not funny (there were two small parts where we snickered in the hour long program - more from the silliness of the actors, than the content). It was really morally depressing. And kids everywhere are watching this junk on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. And we wonder why they act the way they do!
For instance the recent incident of the group of children bullying, and mercilessly taunting the New York bus monitor. Where on earth would they get the idea that they could treat an adult (an authority figure) in such a demeaning manner? Ummm...one has to look no farther than their own living room, and the absolute junk that comes over the airwaves under the guise of entertainment.
Am I saying the television is the only reason? No, I am not. But I do strongly believe that it plays a large part in how children behave today.
The old saying, "Garbage in - Garbage out" comes to mind. Society is all worried about what our children eat, and the size of the sodas that they drink, and how much exercise they receive, but is no one concerned about the moral poisoning of our children's hearts and minds? And keep in mind that I'm talking about a show on mainstream children's programming, nothing controversial, just average everyday programming. I know I would be bothered by the controversial shows. And don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of thinking that if it is animated, it must be okay, because the animated shows can be just as influential and damaging.
Our family IS concerned. We watch what we watch, and we watch what our children watch as well.
We are not perfect parents, and we make our share of mistakes, but this is one area where we don't compromise. And I totally believe our children benefit from not watching all of that garbage.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
What a great guideline! And what a different world we would live in, if we all followed this guideline. And if you do not watch the shows that your children watch, I strongly encourage you to do so. Watch how the children on the show interact with the "authority" figures. Then ask yourself, if that is the way you want your children to interact with the authority figures in their life. Watch how the authority figures are portrayed. Are they really the people in charge, or are they always out of the loop, put down and disrespected by the kids? Is this the way you want your children to see you, and treat you? If it isn't, maybe it would be best if your children weren't getting a steady diet of that particular show.
I will say that as our children have gotten older, we allow them to watch a little more, but we also discuss things with them, and help them sharpen their discerning skills. We want them to be able to decide if a show is appropriate or not, by themselves, from a Biblical standpoint, not just blindly sit and watch everything and totally accept it. I love it when they decide it is time to turn the channel on their own. They are learning to watch what they watch, but it is a learning process, and until they have mastered the skill, we will continue to watch what they watch as well.
What about you? Do you watch what your children watch? If so, are you as disturbed by the trends that you see on television as I am? What bothers you the most about children's/teen's television programs today? What guidelines do you have in place to protect your children?