A recent study by the RAND research organization shows that teenagers who watch “sexy TV” are more likely to become sexually active and pregnant.
I know what you’re thinking. “Duh.” Ok, well, that’s what I’m thinking.
My wife and I are pretty lucky. Her daughters, 15 and 13, are still thrilled when an all-new episode of Hannah Montana airs on the Disney Channel. But we can’t kid ourselves. When it comes to trying to maintain a family-friendly atmosphere, we are outgunned, outnumbered and out of our minds if we think they’re not going to be bombarded with words and images of sex.
I mean, they’re into hip-hop. Hello!
A movie came out a couple of weeks ago called “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” Granted, the ads for the flick didn’t air on the Disney Channel. But they did air during the World Series. So now our girls know that if they should live platonically with a male roommate and find themselves low on cash... Aw come on, guys, we have to sit through these commercials during a baseball game?
But really, who has to go to the movies for this stuff, anyway? Whether it’s “Desperate Housewives” or “Two and a Half Men,” “Gossip Girl” or the revamped “Beverly Hills 90210,” our television sets just ooze sex.
Was it that bad when I was growing up? I saw a guy in a leather jacket snap his fingers and have a half dozen girls flock to him thoughtlessly. Was that lust? Or parody? How about a constantly-on-the-make man living with two women? Love, exciting and new?
Somehow, as racy as things were in the late 1970s and early 1980s, those shows seem so tame in comparison to what we’re getting today. What happened, anyway? How did we get from Potsie looking at a girlie magazine and picturing "a sweater on that" to Rachel letting Ross know it's okay (only to learn it was a juice bottle), and from there to "OMFG" in an orgasmic ad campaign?
And you know what scares me? In 25 years, we’re going to be amazed at how tame “Sex and the City” and “Gossip Girl” were.
Solutions? I can only think of one: If my kids are getting their values from television, television isn’t the problem. I am.
Time for us parents to step up. We need to be filters, and I don't just mean blocking their eyes from the things we don't want them to see. We can manage that to a certain extent, but if you want to know how successful you'll be at keeping these things from your kids, ask yourself how successful your parents were keeping them from you.
What I'm thinking is that if we as parents can establish right from wrong, if we can let our kids know what's appropriate and what's inappropriate, what's safe and what will hurt them, then they'll process the images they get according to the values we instill in them.
Somehow, I think they’ll respect us for it.
Failing that, we can always try keeping our kids in a bubble. I doubt that'll work, though.
Sigh. Anyone know where I can find “Little House” reruns?
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