Monday, November 3, 2014

Talking about TV

Hi. I'm Lauren. And I know nothing about television.

Let me explain: Sometimes when I talk to other parents, they will tell me about the shows they or their children watch. And I have NO IDEA what they are talking about. I watch TV, but evidently, I don't watch what they are watching. I try to remember the names of the shows to look them up later, but I rarely do. Was it a reality show? Something you can only see online? I guess I'll never know.

What I do know is that after talking with these parents, I get the sense that no one is watching television together anymore. And this would explain why there seems to be fewer and fewer "family shows," those magical bits of television that everyone can sit down to watch together and enjoy.

This individualized programming is a result of tv-evolution: When we were young and only had one television set in the household which only got a few channels, then it made sense that the programming appealed to a broader audience. But as families consume media differently - on different screens and on different schedules, variety has become the norm.

So, what's a Mom to do? Keep up with her own shows as well as the ones her children watch to make sure the content is suitable? Multiple studies show that because the values shown on television have shifted over the last few decades, that the conversation around television has to shift as well. And yes, we should keep up with what the kids are watching.

I consider myself fortunate: At this point, my son still only watches cartoons or Sesame Street. And we've had the conversation around fantasy versus reality. But as he gets older and his taste in programming changes, then our discussion will have to change: Reality tv is not reality; or parents are not as dumb as they seem on that sitcom; or all young adults aren't living the glamorous life that is projected on that show.

In summation: We'll have to keep having the fantasy versus reality conversation as he gets older.

What's your children's favorite television show right now? I probably haven't heard of it, but tell me about it in the comments. 


  1. My little one is addicted to Doc McStuffins at the moment. I love that it shows a females in the important role of doctor and that there is always a message about health. However, unlike a lot of parents I know, I do not let her have constant control of the TV. Partially this is because I want her to do more than veg out, but it is also because she needs to learn that we all have to share. She's only 2, so we haven't had many big discussions about TV, but my mother set a good example of how to use television programs as teachable moments. I don't know that we ever watched anything without her working it into some kind of life lesson! I think it's important that we teach our kids to not only understand that real life often doesn't sync up with what their being shown, but how to evaluate the messages that are being thrown at them from the media.

    1. Hi, Brandyn. The one good thing about all the show options out there is that you can still find quality programming that sets a great example. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Dog with a blog is my son's favorite show. I really don't let him watch much Disney Channel at all, because the kids are really snooty and the parents are plain stupid. Also, I noTice a difference in my son's behavior and word pheasing. So We mostly stick to the occasional movie. But i do watch dog with a blog with him sometimes. It allows for the "faa bta st vs. Reality" conversation to come up. I think in small doses, with conversation, he's able to learn more from it than if I were to just say "no I don't like that show, you can never ever watch it even though it ls age appropriate".
    Sure, someday there will be a show I will flat out not allow, but right now I'm comfortable with how were handling it.

    1. Hi, Bobbi. I've noticed the "parents are idiots" theme in a lot of tween programming. I am sure that is how tweens feel, but I don't really want that to be the example either. Thanks for chiming in!