Thursday, September 14, 2006

No rest for the paranoid mother...

So I'm overprotective, according to most people's standards. So I'm paranoid that my kids' exposure to the "wrong" things might be devastatingly detrimental to their mentality and development. So I'm brainwashing my kids into rallying, sign-toting psycho-feminists. So what? They're my kids, right? So what is a paranoid brainwashing parent to do when every aspect of media is covered with advertising and programming unsuitable for the children?

I briefly considered eliminating the television altogether. The problem is I like television. And since we got cable, there is an unlimitted amount of educational stuff for my kids to watch on tv. As I type, Chad is watching a program on otters. A few days ago we watched a program called Extreme Earth (I think), and all three of my children spent the next couple of hours drawing pictures of tornados and volcanos, and making up various drastic scenarios that all involved the destruction of our house. They learn so much from the television.

And herein lies the problem. Not five minutes ago, there was a commercial break where 3 different men declared their sex lives are great since they lost weight with NutriSystem. The diet program commercial is on almost every break. In the evenings (I'm talking dinnertime, not after-the-kids-go-to-bed-primetime), we see commercials about E.D., which would be cryptic enough without the phrase, "Sex is a very important part of our relationship." The Tag body spray commercials are apalling. Almost every single commercial uses sex in some way to sell their product. I can't even buy deodorant without seeing a curvy, swaying woman in sexy black undies jumping from a balcony into her dress.

Last night I saw a commercial for a video game where players can "be a playboy" driving hot cars, living in palace-style homes, surrounded by their "ladies" (wearing just the suggestion of clothing). This game was rated E-10, for kids 10 and up. Is this the kind of thing most parents expect of their 10 year old sons? Materialism, with women being just another thing to collect? Really, it sickens me. It's just plain sad.

My kids know about sex. We've had many discussions about the purpose, the process, even the very basics of how. Still, I have issues with the sex-obsessed society we live in. I want my kids to grow up with a healthy attitude about sex. And I don't believe conducting every single aspect of one's life around sex is a healthy attitude.

I would like to find some information on raising children with an awareness of the tricks of the advertising world. I'm sure there are lots of parents out there who, like myself, are tired of how easily people are swayed by advertising and how much those little tricks change how people think. Other than just talking about these things with my kids, I'm not sure how to handle this.

In the meantime, I will be muting and/or shutting off the tube for a few minutes at commercial time. At least until we get a DVR.


Becca said...

I'm not sure I would bother having cable without the DVR. We have a strict "no commericials" rule. Not only for the stuff like E.D. commercials, which even squick me out, but for the "gimmegimmegottahaveit" toy commercials.

The DVR list is a lifesaver. If it's on the list, you can watch it. If you want to watch something, record it and watch it later. Not to mention you can watch a 1 hr. show in 40 minutes and pause it all when the phone rings.

Oh, and I'd love to find a better template too.

Rowan Falar said...

I know you posted this 3 weeks ago, but I just found your blog. I totally agree with the whole "avoid commercials like the plague" attitude. My 3.5 yr old DD only watches commercial free Treehouse and public television. But even that has "today's broadcast has been sponsored by...". *sigh* I don't think you're being paranoid. You're being a caring, sane parent that wants your children to STAY children, not little consumers and chauvinists.