During the last couple of weeks, MTV’s new show “Skins” has earned some very negative attention among media and parental groups in the US. The original UK series has been airing for three years – and is even a BAFTA award winner – but its message hasn’t been well-received this side of the pond. Although they haven’t taken the time to watch even a full episode, the Parents Television Council (PTC) claims it is “the most dangerous show for teens.” Admittedly, there are moments when the show can make parents twinge. However, it is one of the most honest portrayals of the issues that teens are dealing with each and every day.
Let’s consider other shows that critics and parent groups have maligned in the past, including the 1990’s MTV animated TV series “Beavis and Butthead.” It's now considered a classic part of youth culture, but at the time the show was highly controversial.
It is the same situation with “Skins”. It may be uncomfortable subject matter for some viewers, but working with the number of students that we do at DFYIT (more than 7,000 across South Florida alone) and the honesty they share with us, these very are real issues these kids deal with on a daily basis. “Skins” is one of the first shows that confronts teen substance abuse, violence and sex in a very open manner, which is the main reason it is so controversial.
I work on the front line of prevention in youth – teaching youth about the dangers of risky behaviors, drugs and alcohol – and one of the first steps in education and empowering students to avoid these dangers is starting a conversation, an impossible first step when we are downplaying or censoring the issues.
At DFYIT, we support open communication and talking about these issues honestly and in a straightforward fashion with youth, schools and families. After 18 years and counting, we’ve seen that it is a highly effective way to make a difference in these youths’ lives.
I appreciate that the PTC is trying to protect young people, and their views certainly have merit. But censorship takes away from the discussion and the discourse about what the real issues among young people really are, and it takes away our ability to confront them head on. So I applaud MTV for bringing these serious issues that youth in our communities face to a wider audience. And despite the controversial message, it’s a message that needs to be discussed openly more frequently. After all, our children’s future depends on it.
About Micah Robbins
Micah has over 16 years of experience working with youth and teaching them the importance of staying drug, alcohol and violence-free. Not only does Micah teach students about these dangers, he empowers youth to make good choices in all aspects of their lives. His organization, DFYIT, also encourages and rewards teen’s positive behaviors and encourages a proactive involvement in their schools and communities.
DFYIT is a nationally recognized, community-based substance abuse prevention organization that focuses on and gives recognition to students who choose to live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Through 60 DFYIT clubs in Miami-Dade County middle and senior high schools, DFYIT provides adolescents with social competency training, drug awareness counseling, conflict resolution skills, positive adult relationships, and pro-social involvement in their school and community. For more information on DFYIT, please visit their website at www.dfyit.org.
Previous related posts:
Moms & Dads: What South Florida teens are saying about MTV's "Skins"
Moms & Dads: Are your kids watching MTV's "Skins"?
Tom Jicha's TV Plus: Makins "Skins" forbidden fruit is not the answer
Tom Jicha's TV Plus: MTV and "Skins" begin damage control
SunSentinel.com: MTV stands by "Skins" as ratings stabilize