Speaking Up (Or) Will I Regret This?

Remember when MTV (the Music Television station) was about music and videos? Ah, the good old days.

When the SDMomfia posted about a new show called Skins, to be honest my first thoughts were I have no idea what they are talking about, jeez am I out of touch about censorship and freedom of speech. Fishboy says I am a bleeding-heart-liberal-conservative-freedom-of-speech-save-the-whales-save-the-planet-make-love-not-war-affordable/accessible-healthcare- for-all-pro-choice-anti-gun control-hippie. An enigma wrapped in an enigma. To each his own, is it really my place to say something?

I checked out the website for the show and I found that I do have opinions and I can’t keep my fingers silent. I begin with the disclaimer that I am not a parenting expert. I don’t know what is best for everyone or for society. I haven’t studied sociology. I have no doctorates or areas of expertise. I am just a mom who raised three so far successful, well adjusted humans from infancy to adulthood and lived to tell about it. I have also survived nearly half a century in this society, and during that time I’ve made some observations and learned a few things too.

The show is obviously catering to the 13-17 crowd, not the 21-30 crowd. Allowing children to watch children (or actors who appear to be children) behave in such a manner is sure to influence some kids. It is a fact of life. Even the parents who are convinced they raised their children well, those who are positive their kid knows right from wrong has to consider this fact. Would you allow your smart, responsible 15-year-old to hang out at a frat keg party because you know Johnny understands the dangers of underage drinking and he just thinks the guys are funny? Do you allow 17-year-old Jane to spend evenings at teenage swinging sex party because she made a pact with you to remain a virgin until she married and she thinks it’s ‘interesting’ to watch? Does your 13-year-old get to hang out with foul-mouthed  drug users because you are confident you instilled good judgment in them and your kid “likes” them?

Kids are impressionable. In fact, who isn’t? Don’t I watch HGTV and think to myself I could remodel my bathroom and lay tile without any experience? That I have seen enough Bear Grylls to survive being stranded in the outback with only a backpack and some dental floss? That my CSI skills (if I had the proper equipment) would put local law enforcement to shame? TV makes an impression. And young minds (even smart, intelligent, well-behaved young minds with dutiful parents) are even more impressionable.

My problem is accessibility. Unlike a rated movie where I can determine, as a parent, if my child is mature enough to view, MTV is something parents are not always able to control access to. Especially working moms (I am a full time working mom and have been since 1984). Maybe I believe, as a successful parent, that my kids would not have been influenced by such a show, but let’s be realistic. Can I say that about every single teen in America? Am I positive, even now, that they wouldn’t have been?

I don’t believe in censorship. I do believe in moral ethics and responsibility. I am not naive and I know that many corporations put moral ethics and responsibility far below the almighty dollar.  If the almighty dollar is what drives them, let us use our voices and our personal power to deny them what they desire.

What to do? Let’s put on our moral ethic and responsibility (or even just our common sense) armor and wade into the muck. Let’s use our influence as parents, as citizens, as responsible individuals and as consumers. Let us all band together and boycott MTV. Let us show our children they have power, explain to them why this can work and why we are doing it.

Don’t watch the show. Don’t watch MTV. Share with your friends, neighbors, other parents, and your children why it is important and enlist their aid. Let advertisers know we aren’t going to see any of their ads on MTV. Tell your cable company you want the channel removed from your line up. Show the world that yes, we have freedom of choice and we choose not to let this show leave an impression on our youth.

And when we are successful, I’ll have you all over for a gourmet meal, the likes of which you’ve never tasted. I am not a good cook chef, but I just know those hours of watching the Food Network will make up for it.

(You can see other’s thoughts on this here and share links to your post. If you tweet this out or write about it, use the hashtag #SkinThis. )

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7 Comments

  1. So glad your fingers spoke up Vickie! Awesome piece!

  2. Amen! and Amen! You are so right. It makes me sick that kids watch this stuff and that many parents are too lazy to make them change the channel and enforce rules in their own house.

  3. This is kind of disconnected but for me, Food Network is a perfect example of the influence of television. I have heard of Skins but haven’t watched it. Although from what I have heard about it, I find it surprising that kids are watching it (maybe college kids but high school seems too young).

  4. I did love MTV back in the day. I LOOOVED music videos. Then I had kids and couldn’t afford cable. When I could afford it again, times had changed, MTV wasn’t just music videos anymore. And I blocked it. Not exposing my kids to it.

  5. I watch a few shows on thischannel, I’ve seen the previews, and OH-MY-GOODNESS i am so with you on this. I am only 30ys old and when I was a kid, MTV was bannd from us bc of the videos they playd now the shows they play are way worse. I would never let me child watch those kind of shows. Not BC I wouldn’t trustthem, but just like you say, thy are very impressionable.

  6. Hey, long time!

    As someone who has seen two seasons of the UK version of Skins and the majority of the American pilot, I’m left to disagree. As far as the sex and drugs on the show, it’s no more glamourized than on 90210, The Hills and anything else out there. The show is a harsh-light look at teen-life and if it remains true to the UK show, it’s rife with consequences for the actions of it’s characters. I don’t think protesting a show based on the talk about it is helping anything. Parents should at least watch everything and discuss it with their teens, before they decide out of hand. The show is a chance to open dialogue and shouting it down won’t change the behavior of the teens the characters are based on. Parents have the right to choose what their children watch and whether or not to utilize the teaching opportunity. I don’t feel they have the right to decide I can’t speak to my neice and nephew on their level about what they think of the show and whether or not they know kids like those characters. It lets me meet them where they are and I appreciate that. And pulling the show because someone else doesn’t want to have the conversation is a matter of censorship rather than parenting because they are now impacting my parent-like opportunites.

    Just thought I’d weigh in with the other side.

    Hope you’ve been well!

    Hugs,

    ~X

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