Monday, December 16, 2013

Where do we draw the line in today's cartoons?

Raising a child today is scary. There are the obvious worries of violence, the backwards priorities of this country, and responsibility of making sure our kids are mentally and emotionally safe. And while we are responsible for what our children learn, it's really scary how we can't control everything that they listen to or see. A while ago I mentioned how music is just so blunt with message in the lyrics compared to how it was back in the 90s. And even now with children's cartoons it's just as bad.

The other day I was braiding my daughter's hair while she was watching Netflix. The new episodes of Scooby Doo was playing and there was a scene that stopped me, and caused me to post a status and video on FB/IG. The scenes in question are ones where the love lives of Velma and Daphne are being discussed. Yes I said love lives. This wouldn't be such a big deal to me if my daughter was a teenager, but my daughter is slowly approaching 8 years old. And last time I checked, this show was supposed to be appropriate for those 7 and older.
Maybe the shock is so much for me because I'm out the loop with most of these cartoons. Maybe it's because I'm used to Shaggy and the crew focusing on solving mysteries and not having love lives. On Instagram a point was brought to my attention. That television had changed drastically because they're trying to keep up with what children are exposed to in order to keep them interested. And of course so they can keep making money. I understand that, but it makes me wonder, what came first? Who started this cycle of introducing mature and possibly inappropriate situations to children, more specifically those under 12.

While it is clear that television, music, and other life experiences are some of the gateways into the fast life, is it fair to assume all children are on that path? Shouldn't there be an area of media that is still children friendly? An area that isn't tainted with sexual scenes for those under the age of 13? It is known that modern day cartoons are filled with some adult humor, and as a parent who has to sit through those shows, it is greatly appreciated. However it is one thing for kids to hear things they don't fully understand and another to see things that will require some explaining. Explanations that wouldn't have to be told for another few years. In my experience, most kids question the things they see before they question what they hear, and when they do make the connection, it will be at the right time.

It is obvious there isn't much I can do to change this on a global level, which make me wonder what are things I can do to shield my daughter from images that are inappropriate for her age? She isn't with me 24/7, and television may be watched whether she is in my care or not. Do I wait until she has questions about what she's watching? Do I pay attention to how interested she is in a particular scene and take action from there? After all, she just might be watching and not reading so deep into it; and I honestly don't want to water any seeds that haven't started to grow yet. However, in a world where things are constantly evolving before our eyes I have a gut feeling it is better for our youth to know a little more about life and all it entails, explained in an age appropriate manner.

What do you guys think? Any tips for parents of young children?

The piece above is crossposted from her site. Feel free to interact with her on twitter at @tiarahdenise.

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