Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Where Did the TV Innocence Go?

The Girl and I decided to find a TV show on Netflix to watch while the kids are on break from school (FYI, my kids don't go back until January 7th... yes, the 7th!). We had a few set aside on the instant queue, and finally decided on The Secret Circle. Basic plot of the TV show is that a girl goes to live with her grandmother in this small town after her mother is mysteriously killed, and she finds out that she comes from a long line of witches. There are 5 other kids in this town whose parents all died in a fire (the same fire where the main character's father died years before), and they are all from a long line of witches too, so the 6 of them form a coven and bind themselves to each other, magically.

Being that the TV show was on the CW network, they were aiming to make it this generation's Charmed. Considering Charmed is probably my all time favorite show, I was game for watching The Secret Circle. I was hooked after the first episode, only to google it and find out that, despite it being one of the highest watched shows on the CW, it was cancelled after 1 season. Thanks for the warning, Netflix.

This tidbit of information didn't stop The Girl and I from continuing to watch it. We are half way done with the season now, and while I absolutely adore the show, I'm completely raising my eyebrows at it.

When in the hell did teenagers start acting like adults?

Scratch that, I'll rephrase.

When in the hell did TV shows start portraying teenagers as they really are instead of hiding things so parents didn't truly know?

The characters in The Secret Circle are supposed to be 16 years old, and these kids are not only drinking every chance they get (and one of the characters, Faye, is always saying, 'Man, I need a drink'), but having sex as well. What the hell? When did shows geared toward teenagers make everything so out in the open and acceptable?

I'm not naive enough to say that teenagers don't drink and have sex. When I was a teenager, I drank and...
Mom, if you are reading, just skip this sentence... had sex (in my defense, I am married to the man now), but the TV shows I watched never showed the true side of teenagers. When Brenda lost her virginity to Luke at the spring dance on the original Beverly Hills, 90210, that episode was so controversial that my mom almost didn't let me watch it. Teenagers having sex on TV was unheard of, and Gabrielle, who was pregnant on Beverly Hills, 90210, was pretty much an outcast on the show. Think about it. Did Zack and Kelly ever have sex on Saved by the Bell? Hell no, they didn't. And when a teenage TV show character drank a single beer, all of their friends gathered together and had an intervention to help that person control their drinking problem.

Where did the TV innocence go?

Y'all have to understand that this is my first run-in with a show geared toward teenagers. I've heard of the stuff that went on over at Degrassi High, and on shows like Pretty Little Liars and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but I never watched any of it. This is the first time I've been exposed to this open-minded, teenagers can act like adults crap, and to be honest, I'm not taking it well.

Teenagers think they are adults. That fact has never changed, no matter what year or decade it is. Teenagers do things that adults do. That has never changed, either. But in the past, teenagers always hid it. We never told our parents we were having sex; we went to the free clinic for our birth control and only told our closest friends, or we used condoms. We told our parents we were staying at our best friend's house, and she told her parents she was staying at our house, and then we stayed out all night at a party, praying to the gods above that we didn't get caught.

And our TV shows kept our secrets hidden. We happily watched virgin characters struggling for 1 episode with having sex, then ultimately deciding to wait until they are married. We watched as one alcoholic beverage was consumed, a deep, heartfelt discussion was had between friends, and the character decided they never wanted to drink again. And because we were fascinated by these TV shows, our parents thought we were just like those characters.

Not anymore. The CW and ABC Family have laid out all of the secrets of a teenager and made them acceptable in the eyes of society. They should be ashamed. While I understand that if teenagers are doing it, they want to include it in their story lines so that their shows are more relatable, but do they understand how much harder they are making our jobs, as parents? It's hard enough to sit down and have the talks with our kids about sex, drinking and drugs when it's not seen every day on their favorite shows. Some people might say it's making our job easier, because if the kids are seeing it happen on TV, that opens the lines of communication more, but I have to disagree. If these shows are making everything acceptable, like it's just a part of teenage life, then how am I supposed to tell my kids they should wait to have sex and shouldn't drink until they are of age? Good grief, as if we parents nowadays need more struggles to get through with our kids.

Adam and Diana, The Secret Circle
And for crying out loud, when did teenagers start shopping at Victoria's Secret? These girls have bras and undies on that I don't even have in my drawer, and they are supposedly 16. I didn't step foot into a Victoria's Secret to make an actual purchase until I was married. My 'sexy lingerie' when I was a teenager was to make sure I was wearing a black bra and black boyshort undies, and these girls are sporting lacy bras and thongs. Good grief.

The Girl is only 10, but as the Twilight movie series is her favorite right now, and I'm okay with those movies, I assumed The Secret Circle wouldn't be too bad. I'm not necessarily regretting my decision to have  us start watching The Secret Circle, but it has caused me to look deeper into shows that the CW and ABC Family deem as appropriate for a younger age bracket. Yes, yes, I know The Girl isn't 16, which is the age group shows like The Secret Circle are geared towards, but even if she were 16, I'd be raising my eyebrows. Actually, I'd be even more hesitant to allow her to watch TV because then she'd be seeing kids her own age doing things they shouldn't. At least now I still have the age of innocence on my side, with her only being 10.

I guess this whole thing has just shocked me, and worried me, about what I have ahead of me as a parent. Dating, sex, drugs, drinking, smoking... blah to it all. Looking at all of this through the eyes of a parent now is stressful. I can't fully enjoy shows like The Secret Circle because I'm worried about what's going on in The Girl's mind when she sees 2 teenagers ripping each other's clothes off or talk about 'hooking up' when they don't love each other and aren't even dating.

I think it's time to reinstate the chastity belt? Who's with me on this one?


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14 comments:

  1. I am with you on this. I am a young mom from the Philippines were most people are conservative Catholics. Although I enjoyed watching Gossip Girl and The Secret Circle, I think that the content of these shows were too mature for their targeted audience.

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  2. I'm very careful what my kids and I watch. Much of what's on does present really bad morals. If we do see something unhealthy, we discuss it. Btw, I was frustrated with Netflix, too. they only have one season of Once Upon a Time, which my girl and I were enjoying!

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    1. Once Upon a Time is actually only into it's second season right now! You can keep on enjoying because you aren't that far behind. :)

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    2. Once Upon a Time was on our list, but my daughter wanted to try The Secret Circle first. I'm going for that one next. Season 1 is on Netflix, season 2 is on Hulu Plus (we don't have cable anymore), so I'm covered, lol.

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  3. It's good that you are aware of what is out there at least. We already have the kids TVs set to only watch kid appropriate material and it blacks it out if its not. So...I'm guessing I'll be leaving it on G rated shows and they will never know this junk is out there.

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    1. Aware and shocked, lol. I guess it's best I started out with The Secret Circle, which isn't as bad as Pretty Little Liars, lol. We don't have cable anymore, so it's hard to automatically parentally control it. =/ Kudos to you for taking concern in your kids' lives. Too many parents out there don't care anymore!

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  4. My daughter is currently trying to get me to let her watch the Monster High shows (she's almost 6) When I asked her why she thought those girls were so cool she replied, "Cuz they have big boobies and makeup" Oy. What's up with slutty cartoons? Like, really???

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    1. Oh wow! They have made cartoons just as bad as live acting shows nowadays...

      Though we had Jem in our day. Please tell me you watched that? Jem didn't have amazing boobs, though. Just half slutty clothes, crazy crimped hair and makeup everywhere, lol.

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  5. I just watched a Steve Harvey show on girls who dress way too sexy for their age-it brought up all sorts of flags for me-and TV and POP culture have much to do with it, but as the parent we cannot play the blame game and hope to get off the hook---if we don't think its right---then its PROBABLY NOT--- My daughter is 10 we love Once Upon a Time and even Blue Bloods (some time the crime part of the show can get iffy) but for the most part its a good family show. I DVR Full House and The Cosby show--- these shows dealt with real issues kids deal with and DIDN'T glorify them. Other then that their TV watching is very limited.


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    1. My kids have watched Full House, and I couldn't believe they actually liked it. I figured it would have been to cheesy for them, but they enjoyed it. We're going to start Once Upon a Time here soon, and as bad as it sounds, my kids have watched many CSI episodes. My daughter likes trying to figure the crime out, lol.

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  6. Gone are the days my only TV worry was whether the fake monster on Scooby Doo would be too scary for my girls. Things have changed, although even watching the "family" shows from the 80s on Netflix proves troublesome. "Family Ties" has some pretty adult themes going on, too.

    My girls are now watching Saved By The Bell, which exactly describes my current state as a parent.

    My main problem is the lack of respect kids in Disney shows have for parents, or any adults, really. Every time my girls lash out, I openly blame their TV shows. This doesn't help the situation in the moment, you might be shocked to know.

    I'm glad you wrote this. Times sure are tougher for us parents.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, and kind words about the post. I quit letting the kids watch Disney channel shows after Miley Cyrus started dancing on that ice cream stand pole at whatever awards show that was a few years ago, lol. Disney channel stars seem to go corrupt, so I let the kids stick to Nickelodeon shows. Then Amanda Bynes went and got all of those DUIs, so she busted my theory that Nickelodeon was better than Disney channel all to hell, lol. I'll just have to keep monitoring what they watch. Good grief, lol.

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  7. I have the same question! It's hard these days to find a decent show that's appropriate for young children. I'm finding that as parents, we have to be more involved (as you are) in the selection of TV shows and movies our kids watch. Kids (and teens) are shaped by what they see, so we have to give them good examples to follow.

    Thanks for the eye-opening post!

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    1. I completely agree! Thanks for your comment!

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