Friday, September 08, 2006

That's Why There Is An On and Off Button

Our home phone rang last night, and the caller asked to speak to the "lady of the house." I guess that's me. She then said she was doing a poll, and could I answer one question for her. Curious, I said "yes." Her question was something like, "Do you think that the television rating system isn't doing a good enough job and that television shows have gotten too edgy and have too much sexual content?"

Well, my public health background told me that this wasn't any scientific poll, so I said, "No." She said, "NO?? Should I repeat the question so you understand it better?" I said, "I think I understand the question. No." She sputtered, and I continued, "Parents can monitor and decide what shows their children watch. They can watch television with their children. They can turn it off. We don't need to police popular entertainment." She said, "I'm from the Dove Foundation and we are going to clean up television."

And then get this...she hung up on me.

I googled the Dove Foundation this morning. It turns out that up until now they have concentrated on identifying what they call "family friendly" movies. To give you a clue about who they are, they think that the Harry Potter movies push the occult. Now, I guess, they are turning to television.

Like any parent, I'm concerned about what my children see in the media. I regularly consult my friend Nell Minow's site; she's the Movie Mom and does excellent reviews so that my family can decide if we want to see a particular movie. If a television show has a 14 rating and my son wants to watch it, we watch it together and then we talk. It's called using the media as a teachable moment.

But, so called polling with predetermined outcomes about the content of media -- I think I'll pass. Dove Foundation, take me off your call list.


Anonymous said...

“If a television show has a 14 rating and my son wants to watch it, we watch it together and then we talk.”

I really like this idea because it says a lot to your child. It says I care enough about you that I will take the time to do this. It says I care about your thoughts so we will talk about the show as opposed to me just lecturing you and ignoring your opinion. But mostly it says “I care.” That is something I think every child needs to hear from their parent.

Bill T said...

Parents have so many options. As you mention, there is the on/off button. Works like a charm.

And if that is too inconvenient, or if a parent abdicates her/his responsibility to supervise their children's tv watching, there is also the V-Chip, installed on every modern television. A parent only needs to activate it. Further, ALL satellite and cable companies provide blocking options, too!

What is it about people or organizations like the Dove Foundation that tell other adults, "I don't like it, so YOU can't watch it!"???

Anonymous said...

I think she was upset that you didn't agree with her...I feel too that parents should monitor what their children watch. and Age appropriate means just that. Teh V Chip is really good if the parents have to work when kids are watching tv..