So as not to highjack the other parental censorship thread: what are your guidelines for your own children’s media consumption?
Personally, I’m more prone to limit or ban exposure to violence than sexual content, and the older kids have televisions in their rooms. Basic cable, 9:30 bedtimes, and computers remain in the office, living room, or at the table for homework. All web access is monitored for appropriate limits, and I’m kind of unreasonable about the types of video games my son has access to. The only other rule is "if it annoys me, change the channel or watch on your tv, if you must. Barney is right out if the baby is being neglected in front of the boob tube while I do housework. And there’s some iCarly character/guest star (Fred?) that just won’t be tolerated. They can read whatever they want (and after bedtime, as long as phones and tvs are off, until a reasonable hour.)
At their dad’s house, there are different limits. Their stepmom is a nutjob who bans anything that may smack of the occult: Harry Potter, Witches of Waverly Place, even Scooby Doo, for Pete’s sake! Her house, her rules though. And that household is more likely to allow the kids to watch violent stuff than anything with a hint of nudity or sexuality. Again, I don’t make their rules, even if I don’t always agree with them.
If I had kids, I wouldn’t censor their viewing at all, though I’d likely kick them out of the room when watching my own favourite shows just because I hate being distracted by annoying questions and comments while watching my favourite shows.
I didn’t let my kid watch shows like Family Guy or South Park when he was younger. Not because he’d hear “swear words” but because he was a young kid with no filter and no understanding that something amusing in context on South Park might not be as well received if he started spouting off some Cartman-esque tirade about “the fucking Jews” in grade school, thinking it’d be hilarious.
Sure, he might have heard it from somewhere else but why facilitate it?
Edit: To further answer your question, he gets 1-2 hours of “screen time” a day depending on homework and day of the week. He can spend it on TV or his iPod Touch or the Playstation/Wii or the computer or whatever. He usually chooses the iPod Touch so he doesn’t see much TV unless it’s something we’re watching together as a family.
Hah, that’s what I thought would happen before we had our son.
But he’s now almost two, and what actually happens is that I can’t kick him out of the room because he insists on staying in our presence. And then we have to watch what’s appropriate for him, which is pretty much just NickJr, Sesame Street, Curious George, etc. So that’s 99% of my TV watching nowadays.
After we put him to bed I sometimes have a little time for my own watching, but usually I’m so tired by then that I just want to go to sleep.
Maybe things will change when he gets a little older and more independent.
To answer the OP, we screen for sexual content: Moms reasoning is that it matters for Sophie’s moral development, my reasoning is that it’s squicky to watch sexy stuff with a 10 yo girl.
Violence and scary stuff, not so much: Sophie loves the X-Files, haunted houses, Ghost hunters (a show that is guaranteed to drive me from the room), LOTR, etc.
Mom can’t stand Disney TV and I’m coming to agree with her. Sophie loves it however, so it’s a constant battle.
I’ve also turned off things merely because they were crap. “What in God’s name are you watching Teletubbies for? Here, watch some Napoleon Dynamite or Raising Arizona or something that isn’t complete garbage” (Da Soph loves Napoleon Dynamite.)
We rented and watched There’s Something About Mary, but sent our daughter out of the room during “that scene”. She complained bitterly and loudly, but really, it was just too awkward watching that with a kid (even though she most likely knew what Ben Stiller was doing). Let her back in when it was safe.
The issue hasn’t really come up as of yet. She is 12 but not interested in R movies or shows that have sex and violence. She still watches films with puppies and kittens and the tv is mostly set to Teen Nick.
Will I censor? Probably not. I remember when my son was about 16 and stayed at a friend house for the weekend. The mother called me up and asked if it was okay if they watched an R rated movie. He had been watching R movies for 2 years by that time.
The only time I ever censored by son’s TV viewing is when he was about 2 and we didn’t think he could understand what he was watching. Then, once evening we were watching The Sopranos and there was a flashback scene of a young Tony’s father and uncle kicking some guy’s ass. The baby was cuddling with his daddy, sucking on his binky and clutching his raggy and suddenly asked, “Why is Uncle Junior being so fresh?” So, we didn’t let him watch The Sopranos anymore. It was the most sexual and violent show we watched by far, and, lets face it, when you have a 2 year old the TV is mostly on NICK anyway. Now he’s 12 1/2 and the most censoring we do is not agreeing to help him and his friends get into R movies alone.
I censor a lot more than I thought I would, but probably less than others. I also get the feeling when reading these threads that I let my kids have a lot more screen time than many of you (when I include computers and DS and Wii and all that good stuff).
I have a 10 y/o that I can let watch most things and cut it off at “no rated R” but I did let him watch Sweeny Todd with me one night (looking back, not my best decision). He still talks about it a year later. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. He self-censors around sexual content because it makes him uncomfortable. While I certainly don’t want him watching a bunch of sex on the TV or computer, I do hate that he is so very uncomfortable even with the level of sexual content or innuendo on something like Glee. Maybe it’s just the age. And yes, we watch Glee as a family.
I have a 6 y/o that has to be watched more closely. I let him YouTube WWE wrestling on my iPhone and he disappeared with it. After 10 minutes or so I found him in his room with the covers pulled up over his head watching videos and I said I needed my phone back and he immediately closed it and said “uh, I was just bringing this to you.” I checked the history and he had “related video” linked through to women wrestling in bikinis. The force is strong in this one, and he must be watched. I don’t care that he may have a normal interest in sex, but I do care if he starts getting warped porn-ideas about women from media.
So, I censor individually based on each kid’s need. It changes over time, too. There are times when I think they can handle some war games or whatever and they get to play Call of Duty (but only some, not others). If they get too violent I scale it back. We just have to change and go with the flow of how they are reacting.
I will say, though, that I am a bit more uptight about some sex scenes than I thought I would be. It’s one thing to engage in open and honest discussion with my kids regarding sex, gender, and physical intimacy. It’s another to let them see the maid on American Horror Story playing with herself. That’s one of those shows that are strictly off-limits.
Right now, my son is only 7, so I “censor” a lot of things. There are all kinds of things he doesn’t need to see or know about yet.
That said, I’ve always believed that once a kid is old enough to ask questions on ANY subject, he deserves the most honest and accurate answers I can give. Even if he never sees movies or TV shows about death or sex, he still learns enough elsewhere t oask questions about those things. When he does, I don’t try to shelter him.
How long will I be able to KEEP censoring things effectively? I dunno… it’s only a matter of time before he learns how to see taboo subject matter on the Internet or on cable TV at someboy else’s house. I don’t delude myself that he (or ANY kid) can remain innocent forever.
When it comes to books, I won’t even TRY to do much censorship. Heck, I’ll be THRILLED if he ever shows an interest in the usual “challenged” books.
When my kids were younger, I didn’t censor so much as point out better options that wouldn’t drive me batty to listen to, and since they wanted me to watch with them most of the time, they went along with it
There was never a love of Barney or Teletubbies in our house - thank all that’s holy. My daughter was all about Disney and Ghostbusters and cartoons in general, and she watched Star Trek and the X-Files with me. When my son was younger, we watched Blue’s Clues and Little Bear (he’s 18 and still will stop and watch LB if he comes across it flipping channels), and Power Rangers until he decided on his own that Power Rangers were “stupid”.
I tried to censor my daughter’s movie viewing once when she was in grade school. But when I found out she had gotten up in the middle of the night to watch a vampire movie and wasn’t bothered by it at all by smug blood suckers getting sliced in half, I figured that was a waste of time. She informed me very solemnly that she knew it was only a movie.
I’m not one of those people that think a bare behind or a nipple is going to ruin or traumatize my kids, so I never censored for that. I don’t care for over done ‘real’ violence, so I never watched it - which meant my kids didn’t get exposed to it until they were older anyway. Cartoon violence was always a non-issue. It’s a cartoon, and I made sure they both understood from a young age that it was all just pretend anyway.
Sometimes, when my son is watching yet another documentary on the Military Channel or The History Channel about WWII, I really miss Blue’s Clues.
No restrictions after around age 10. Before that, they really weren’t interested in much besides children’s programming, and they only got the broadcast channels on their TVs, so there wasn’t any real restriction. I’d never let my kids think imagery was bad per se. We educated them on the difference between fiction and reality, and how they were expected to behave at home and in life. Seeing something racy or violent wasn’t going to hurt them.
Around the age of 10, one of them was having a problem dealing with idea of a ‘friend’. He was trusting someone he had just met, and was doing him a bad turn, because they were ‘friends’. I made them both watch *Scent of a Woman *to learn a lesson about ‘friends’. It was very effective.
I don’t let my six year old watch tv at all. I did allow her to watch Qubo channel for a while but the commercials were just too much. With her autism she was repeating them word for word and suggesting I try the diet pills and begging for every blowpen and pillow pet they came out with.
I got rid of the television completely.
She’s allowed to watch Netflix kid shows and movies for an hour after homework and a little more on the weekends. She’s a big fan of Phineas and Ferb and recently fell in love with Howl’s Moving Castle.
My kids are fifteen and nineteen now, so we’re pretty much done with the censoring. South Park and Family Guy were the only shows I ever limited their exposure to (I’m still not really down with Family Guy).
I only recently [del]forced[/del] allowed the boy to watch The Shawshank Redemption, A Clockwork Orange, and Pink Floyd: The Wall. These were movies I really wanted him to see, but all had scenes that I thought were too disturbing.
This sums it up for me. Little kids cussing is funny in cartoons or if other people’s kids do it, not mine.
I woudn’t let them watch any cartoons except for Disney stuff until I had reviewed the material. Some I rejected as a waste of time but didn’t stop my kids from watching in moderation. I happened to discover some good clean cartoons (Spongebob, I’m looking at you) that I would have otherwise ixnayed as too stupid to watch.