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Be careful what message your kids get

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
Last week I talked about how things have changed over the years. One thing I just barely touched on was TV. It has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Of course some of the changes have been wonderful, such as The History Channel, The Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel, to name a few.
The programs on these channels open up the world in a way that our parents never even dreamed of. It gives us the chance to take our kids onto far off places and experience things that would otherwise be out of reach. I remember the first time I saw the hull of the Titantic appearing out of the darkness–it was breath taking.
The History Channel brings history to life in a way that is mesmerizing. The Learning Channel and Discovery Channels have many times been a springboard for a more in-depth research of a topic that peaked my kids interest. I believe my children's love of history and curiosity of the world around them comes, in part, from the wonderful programs on these channels.
However, there have been other dramatic changes in the programming on TV. Can you imagine what the censors of the 1950s would say about today's TV programming? Is there anything that wouldn't be censored? I wonder sometimes.
One example of this dramatic change is the portrayal of married couples. Someone mentioned to me that it was amazing how TV couples in the 50s and early 60s had babies, but the wife was never really shown pregnant and the word "pregnant" was seriously taboo.
Now they not only show pregnant women, but the birth is usually shown as well. On some shows, TV producers even show us how they got that way in the first place!
Can you imagine the censors of the 1950s viewing an episode of "Sex in the City"? The title itself would be enough to send the censors into fits. As a side note, this is one of the shows that isn't on in our house. As far as I'm concerned it falls under, TMI-too much information.
Another example of TV squeamishness are the TV bathrooms. No, seriously. Watch an episode of "The Brady Bunch." Six kids share that one bathroom, but there's no toilet! One of the first episodes for "Leave it to Beaver" was temporarily banned because it showed a toilet!
However, due to the story line, the toilet tank was necessary. (The boys were using the toilet tank to hide an alligator they had ordered for a catalog). So the network reached a compromise. They could show the tank, but not the seat.
Another huge change has been in the language used. When "Gone With the Wind" was first released, Rhett's last words to Scarlett were considered crude and unnecessary.
What about today? Is there anything that isn't totally off limits? I'm beginning to doubt it.
I also find TV as a whole to be a lot cruder than when I was younger. I absolutely hate some of the "children's" programming available. I remember people complaining about how violent Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes were. Those same people must be freaking out over what children are watching now! Speaking of what we're watching now, what about reality TV? Personally, I watch TV to escape reality. I've got all the reality I want- and more some days.
John and I were discussing the changes in news coverage. What is broadcast now would never have been shown on TV 50 years ago. I want to give credit where credit is due.
Many times news coverage has saved lives, such as the advanced warning of hurricanes and tornadoes. Also, with the increased news coverage, there are programs like Amber Alerts.
However, I think there are occasions that our media gets carried away with the way they over expose things.
For example, how many times did we really need to see the pictures of the Iraqi prisoners being abused? I ended up turning off the news because my kids just did not need to see that. Added to this we have real time TV, which lets us see things as they happen. I don't think this is necessarily a good thing, especially, with young children around.
Speaking of children, sometimes it's very hard to decide what they should and shouldn't watch. I try to remember the following things when it comes to television.
1) I own the TV, I pay the cable bill and it has this wonderful thing called an "off button." If I don't like what's on, I change the channel or turn it off. I also tell our cable company no when it comes to those premium channels.
2) When you have children of various ages and maturity, it's hard to say "no" to some and "yes" to others. My solution? My older ones have to learn to live with it. There are shows that I allow them to watch after the younger ones have gone to bed. We also block certain stations. It's not that I don't trust my kids not to watch a program that I've restricted, but I try to keep the temptation to a minimum.
3) I also make a point of watching at least a few episodes of the shows my kids want to watch. I discovered just because it's a cartoon or a children's program doesn't mean that I'll approve it!
4) Lastly, remember if all else fails and your child sees something that is inappropriate, it can always serve as a bad example.
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