Healthy family relationships are vital. I realize this more now that I’m older and the mom to 4 great kids. My oldest is only a few weeks shy of turning 10. Over the past decade I have seen a slow and steady moral decline in our entertainment industry. I’m sure the decline has been steady for much longer than that. But recently I reached my breaking point with commercial advertising and network programing. I decided to limit access to cable TV about six months ago.
The result has given us more healthy family relationships and more fun with our kids. But I want to do more. I have a long way to go. But as I reflect, today, at the start of another new year, I can see the need to do more to foster healthy family relationships.
This year, I want to make a promise to myself, and to our kids. I want to eventually kick that cable TV box in the guts, stomp on it, take the batteries out of it’s remote, and neuter it once and for all.
Let me explain.
Cable TV Was Undermining our Healthy Family Relationships
Cable TV has become an undermining negative influence in our house. I began finding myself spending more time explaining the immorality on cable TV rather than fostering good moral healthy family relationships with my kids. The more time we spent being entertained by cable TV shows, the more I felt I had to commentate. Reality shows like Hardcore Pawn on Tru TV are constantly bleeping four letter words and exploiting explosive, negative interactions are becoming commonplace. Shows that were once considered edgy are now considered family entertainment. Just look at the lineup over at ABC Family. There isn’t a weekly television show on that station I can comfortably watch with my kids.
When I was in my twenties I never saw prime time TV as a threat to our culture or healthy family relationships. I looked at cutting edge shows and never felt they had any influence on my behavior or personal sense of self. I enjoyed watching Seinfeld, Friends, and the Simpsons. I loved edgy comedy. I still do. But today I see the harm cable TV does to healthy family relationships. Television producers feel the need to create more edgy material each season. They strive to push the boundaries. Prime time stations no longer view shows reflecting traditional values with healthy family relationships as vital. So we don’t get them anymore. Every family on cable TV promotes some sort of alternative version of family. Cable TV is so far removed from traditional values at this point that it’s undermining them. I’m tired of fighting it. Our family has to either give in and let go, or let go.
I’m letting go.
Unlike the 70s, when I could watch Little House on the Prairie at 7 pm with my parents each week, today there isn’t the opportunity for appropriate wholesome television time with cable TV anymore with young kids. We have been overtaken by a media culture that thinks it’s okay to infiltrate our wholesome shows with inappropriate commercials for children. Now stations put unwholesome advertising, news broadcasts, and promos for graphic scenes of unwholesome shows into the time slots of their g rated shows. This is unacceptable. If our society doesn’t value family life then we need to work harder in our own homes to promote healthy family relationships with our spouses and our children.
I for one am sick of cable TV. I don’t need to see advertising for Glee, Grimm, or 666 Park Avenue during a Charlie Brown Christmas holiday special with my 6 year old. I think the only way to get the point across is to stop buying it. But can we do that this year? I hope so.
How TV Affects Children and Healthy Family Life
Kidshealth has an article that shows the negative impact television can have on kids and healthy family relationships. In the beginning I thought using ATT Uverse parental controls was enough. I had long since locked down the television with a parental code pin number to keep the kids from browsing stations and shows that I felt had inappropriate content.
There have been many studies on the effects of television viewing on children and healthy family relationships. Experts show concern over inappropriate toy advertisements or connections to childhood obesity. My concerns are completely different. I can sit with my kids and explain how commercials for toys show them in a much more attractive way than in reality. I can teach them to be more savvy when it comes to marketing strategies. I cannot explain away an ad for NBC’s “Grimm” that shows a scary demonic looking figure attacking a person in a 30 second commercial. Violent, sexual, or morally inappropriate commercial imagery has no parental control options. While some might argue that showing two teenage girls making out on a bed during a Glee episode is necessary to promote gay rights, I found it completely disturbing. That was the last episode I ever watched with my kids. Any vision of two teenagers, same or opposite sex, on a bed making out and groping each other is inappropriate to show to young kids. I just didn’t think the show needed to go there. Again, it is the graphic nature of television that bothers me. We began watching Glee in it’s first season because the kids and I loved the High School Musical movies so much. Glee has proven to be a completely different high school altogether, and one my six year old need not attend.
ATT Uverse On Demand Not Family Friendly
ATT Uverse parental controls has its faults. Last summer I learned something disturbing.