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. )