Shows are a challenge to parents

Published 9:07 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Editorial by Chris Kovatch

Television and movies present quite the challenge to parents. What once was considered off-limits or inappropriate when I was a child is now common place. The truth is that I struggle with what to allow my children to watch on TV or at the movies. I know both have rating systems that provide guidance to parents as to how appropriate the content is for specific age groups, but I often wonder who really determines that. Is that person’s set of moral values consistent with mine? If they differ from mine, how much variance is there?

I understand kids will find a way to access shows and movies that they are told to not watch. Technological advances make this form of rebellion much easier than it was in the mid-80s and 90s when I was a kid. We had a VCR. The VCR did have a remote which incidentally was connect by a wire to the VCR to operate. That was the definition of high-tech then. The internet, phones, tablets, and laptops open up a myriad of ways to access any type of content one wishes to find.

I question how much different is what we watch today from when I was a kid. When I go back and watch movies I saw as a kid, I quickly realize the things I didn’t pick up on as a child. That hasn’t changed with entertainment today. Most family movies include humor on both juvenile and adult levels. I believe shows of the past contained content that was questionable for the time. It’s just that our definition of ‘questionable’ has evolved over the years.

Should we be concerned with us? And if we are concerned, how do we combat it?

Of course we should be concerned. A child’s mind sees things in a very different perspective than we do as adults. What we know is fantasy, a child can view as reality. I recently took my boys to see the new Power Rangers movie. While I said the trip to the movies was for them, the truth is that I wanted to see the movie as much as they did. The movie had a much darker and realistic feel than the TV series. I am sure that was for marketing reasons in addition to the fact that it had a decent budget. What didn’t occur to me at the time is that what my youngest son saw as a superhero show at home suddenly became much more realistic. That was easy enough to deal with as we were able to exit the theater when the need arose. The challenge is being consistent with that application.

While at home there are a number of television shows I watch that are darker or contain more violence than a child needs to see. Stryker questions me every time I sit down to watch TV if I am watching “True Blood”. While this has become quite humorous in our home, he realizes that he isn’t supposed to watch every show. It is important to be consistent in how we monitor and control content. It affects children much more than they realize. I realize that I will regularly hear that all their friends get to see it or that it’s not fair, and I am totally fine with that. There is a time and place for them to learn about certain things, and I will try to ensure that their childhood and innocence is protected for as long as it can be.