Most people can agree that children’s television programming should be mentally healthy. Very few people would be happy if children’s television programming contained footage of cannibalistic DVDA cosplay snuff action. Very few people want the paperback versions of “Ichi the Killer” or “Old Boy” in middle school libraries.
If we’re so serious about protecting children from things that are potentially unhealthy for their tiny, fragile minds then why did “Full House” or “Saved by the Bell” ever exist at all? Both of those programs depicted a straight edge version of reality that doesn’t actually exist and shouldn’t. And all of the main characters in those programs were depicted as role models to be emulated. They even demanded to be emulated.
Even if the producers didn’t know they were creating role models, psychologists have known for decades that children mimic adults and anyone else they perceive as an authority figure. So if you set a kid down and make them watch the same television show every day for 10 years they”ll incorporate that show into their perception of reality.
Neglected children who watch a lot of television may see more adults on television than in real life. They could easily get the impression that every adult is supposed to behave and think sort of like Danny Tanner. They might not have anyone in their life to look up to but Zack Morris. But Danny Tanner and Zack Morris aren’t characters one should emulate.
Pretending you live in a straight edge world isn’t optimistic and responsible. It’s naive and unhealthy. Lying to children so they’ll believe they live in a straight edge world run by straight edge adults isn’t mature or responsible. It’s counterproductive and unhealthy. It misleads impressionable viewers the same way internet pornography misleads pubescent boys into thinking casual sex always ends with the guy cumming on the girl’s face.
I’m not saying there’s anything morally wrong with a facial or a pearl necklace or even a blumpkin every now and then…as long as you’re safe and exercise reasonable moderation. But the adults in Full House would never even admit to ever being naked. Married couples don’t even sleep in the same beds in Hollywood G-rated sitcoms. They’re plastic wrapped angels: boring, lifeless and fake. They don’t teach kids to be responsible. They teach kids to be boring, lifeless and fake, which sets them up for failure and stress.
Striving to be that lifelessly, joyously “good” doesn’t help people become or accomplish anything. It doesn’t impress deities. It’s just something to stress out over and feel guilty about. The alternative is to just get on with your life.
Why expose your children to detrimental role models? If you’re going to do that then at least expose them to fun, detrimental role models…like Bernard Black.
Come on Hollywood. Create some intelligent, morally introspective characters like Dr. House who aren’t self-destructive drug addicts.
And come on parents. If your kids grow up watching Nickelodeon and Disney then don’t be surprised when they act like water heads, and don’t say you did your best to raise your children. You set them up to base their perception of reality (at least partly) on distorted information. In other words, by letting your children watch unrealistically straight edge television programming…you drove your children insane by lying to them.
No character flaw is more dangerous than stupid. And when kids are raised on stupid then they become stupid. Then they become a danger to themselves and others.
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