Our media is caught in the grip of a rapidly reforming social norm.
How long has it been since you watched a television show where there wasn’t a single sexual reference? Or, how about the shows where there are more “beeps” than words? It seems as if television has fallen down a slippery slope that appears to have no end. Morals, censorship and timeliness have been absent in recent television showings.
There are shows covering everything from pornography to “reality” to shopping, nearly all of which have some level of inappropriateness. MTV’s relatively popular reality show, “The Real World,” can be entertaining to watch, but there are very high degrees of sex, drinking and foul language in nearly every episode.
It would seem only sensible to keep shows like this from appearing on cable during the day, when many children watch TV, but “The Real World” and other similar shows are on at almost any time. There are no regards for the well being of young children who may tune in for the showing during normal daytime television hours. Even if there are ratings on television shows before they air, a small box with a letter in it describing the show’s content is not going to stop an unsupervised youth from viewing.
Circumstances like these have continued to get progressively worse, and it seems to be affecting kids. Children are having sex at a younger age, trying drugs and alcohol at record-breaking levels, and are even using unnecessary foul language. I recently heard a young child at the park, who appeared to be around six years old, use the word “shit” as he ran and fell. The other kids just stared at him, wide-eyed and appalled, and then continued to play, as if his language was just part of another daytime soap opera.
Something seemed wrong with the picture, but there was no reformation, no consequences – just a cold shoulder and a blind eye. An “out of sight, out of mind” approach. Everyone just ignored the fact that a six-year-old said such a frowned upon word.
How are things going to be in the future? Will there be soft porn on channel 3 in the morning? There have been efforts to aid this issue.
Parents can now control what their children watch by way of a personal censoring system, in which adults can block shows that they do not want their children watching. This may not be enough though. What really needs to be changed is the public’s common reaction to shows that contain excessive violence, sexual references, inappropriate language, and drug and alcohol use.
A proactive response is what is needed, rather than simple ignorance and acceptance that this is just “the way things are now.” Make your opinion heard and express if you feel that something is just too stimulating for daytime viewing.
Television can still be an enjoyable, appropriate experience with our help.