We just held an anti drug campaign at the local middle school in the area. I was surprised how much kids knew about drugs. At the event, we had twenty of so tables, and at each table there was a different activity, all focused on drug awareness. Each group of school kids had to answer questions on drugs, and whenever they get all the questions correct, they receive a sticker. One kid came to my table and he knew everything. When I asked how he knew so much about drugs, he said that it came from all the Trailer Park Boys television shows that he watched at home. If anyone has ever watched the program, they would know that the material in the show should not be viewed by a minor. Hell, even most responsible adults would be offended with the show.
I believe that some of what our kids watch influences their behaviors and choices. Now I would be the first to defend Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes characters. Back in the day, broadcasters took those shows off the air because they worried about the influences they would have on young minds. I for one watched those shows, and I can easily say that I have never once dropped an anvil (where did they get all the anvils I wonder) on my head and walked away. I have also never stuck my finger into the end of a shotgun and watched the shooter explode. I have never stood next to a bomb, and turned black but still walked away with all my parts intact, and I have definitely never stood under a falling rock, and walked away like an accordion. I don’t think those shows influence our drug dealers and users, our serial killers, or our suicidal teens; but I beg to differ with some of the shows on television right now.
One kid said that they learned about drugs from watching crime shows like criminal minds and law and order, again shows aimed at adults. I have to ask if the kids are getting the wrong idea from being allowed to watch shows that are not meant for them to view in the first place.
Shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy try to push the limit to what they are allowed to show on TV. We tell our kids that certain actions are wrong, and they go to their friends and watch (and often re-enact) some of the shows that they are not allowed to watch at home. How do we ensure that our kids are not influenced by those shows when society tells them its okay?
When I was a kid, I was not allowed to watch Welcome Back Kotter at home. It wasn’t because my family didn’t like it (well, maybe it was, Dad thought that watching this show would result in me becoming a ‘sweat hog’) but yet, I was allowed to watch the racist comedy “All in the Family”…go figure. Luckily for me, I didn’t become a racist, nor did I become a member of the Sweat Hogs. I was more of a fan of Walt Disney anyway.
As bad as those shows were to my dad, They were nothing like shows like “The Trailer Park Boys”, a program centered around a family of criminals who live in a run down trailer park, use and sell drugs, drink and drive impaired, and steal from everyone around them. When none of this behavior is shown to be wrong, how do you think this affects the young and influential minds who tune in each week? And even if you choose to monitor your kids television watching habits, how do you monitor it when they visit their friends homes, or when they tune in to youtube and watch the shows there?
I believe in awareness at home. We talk to our son about drugs and the dangers that come with using them. We explain how the drunk up the road got where he is to today. We do our best to personify good choices in our own lives, and hopefully our son does the same. In my household, the term ‘Do as I say not as I do” doesn’t exist.