Monday, October 30, 2006

It's a moral maze out there.

It's a fine line being a modern mother. Mr realdoc and I often argue about the sort of stuff the kids should see, read and listen to. He feels the horrors of the modern world should be kept away from them as long as possible. My default position is to be against censorship but I accept that there are some things which they are not yet emotionally mature enough to cope with.

The kids are 9 and 12 and hide behind the cushions for certain episodes of Doctor Who*. The things that upset them most on telly, are, however, the real life stories. Those films of little African children searching for scraps in fly-infested dumps, you know the sort of thing.

I don't really censor the 12 year-old's reading but try to point her towards things she can understand, so, Jacqueline Wilson, Phillip Pullman, Mallory Blackman...OK, Melvyn Burgess...not quite yet.

We had a friend staying and he said he would be quite happy for his 12 year old to watch films with violent or sexual content as long as it wasn't 'gratuitous'. On closer questioning he meant arthouse movies or those with a liberal or anti-war message. 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Schindler's List' were mentioned. Mmmmm, not sure about that one.

Music is another thing entirely. I find Westlife and their ilk offensive on so many levels but some parents find this sort of thing acceptable.

We do have a bit of a problem with the watershed. It seems as soon as Big Ben has boinged they can show full on penetrative sex, copious swearing and graphic violence. Now I like the odd swear as much as the next fucker, but, they should ease us into it....

9 to 9.30 - 'bloody', 'crap', a bit of snogging and the odd slap
9.30 to 10 - 'shit', 'arse', some semi-clad groping and a bit of a punch up
after 10 - anything goes

So should the 12 year old be allowed to see 'The Catherine Tate Show', ("Everyone in school watches it except me, you boring, old cow."), or not?

*'Are you my mummy?' enough to send them screaming from the room.


Dave said...

There is a bit of that sliding watershed anyway, isn't there? Not too much nudity or violence on 'Countdown'; some swaering and violence on 'Eastenders' - leading us gently to 9.00 and grown-ups bedtime.

By the way, you are allowed to be off duty whilst blogging - no need to feel you have to respond to my medical postings.

Billy said...

I wouldn't say Westlife were offensive. Rubbish yes, but not offensive.

My culture was very much controlled when I was younger but there were exceptions: I remember being allowed to listen to my dad's Derek and Clive LP and watching Dead Ringers with my mum. Freudian nightmares both of them. *shudder*

llewtrah said...

When I was 6, I was the only kid in my class who missed "Wizard of Oz" because parents deemed it unsuitable!

At 13, I was allowed to watch "factual nudity" (documentaries about naturism or childbirth). At 15-ish, I could stay up and watch things like "Woodstock - The Movie" and scary films (Medusa Touch, Quatermass etc).

These days, I hear young kids acting out TV shows: "I'll be the rapist and you be the victim." They don't know what a rapist is, except it's violent and nasty. Many parents let kids have TV in the bedroom and have no control over viewing of post-watershed TV. To confuse matters, some cable stations have 8 pm watersheds.

Odd Ood said...

Never mind Are you my mummy, the one with the devil and the squid-faced people should ha given them the heebie-jeebies. The Cybermen and the Daleks scared the bejasus out of me as a wee un.

realdoc said...

dave: don't worry I like answering your posts

billy: your just showing off putting links in your comments aren't you. Derek and Clive though, I remember the first time I heard it at about 14. Took me about 3 years to recover.

Llewtrah: I still think the Wizard of Oz is scary, but no TVs allowed in the kids rooms in this house.

Mangonel said...

Billy I love you! Thank you so much for the Derek and Clive link! They were fucking magic they were. 'Jump' still makes me screech. Heard them about a quarter of a million years ago, during my univerity years. So no watershed issues there.

Sorry for going off-post realdoc, as I have never seen the CT show. Seen bits of - 'Lauren'?, is it? The Am I Bovvered? one. Preferred Matt Lucas's Vicky Pollard.

I enjoy the blog, thank you. Also if I could find a pair of roller shoes big enough, oh I would yessiree.

herschelian said...

If you feel anxious or uncomfortable with allowing your 12 yr old to watch certain things, I say go with your gut feelings and prevent it for a bit longer. The horrid/crude/rude stuff will still be there for her to watch in a few years. Remember that you know your child best, trust your own judgement. At worst she will have something to moan about to her friends, and when/if she has kids herself she can say how strict you were with her as she bans them from doing something she doesn't like.

Mangonel said...

Will you be taking the Realdocklings to the theatre with you?

By 'Mmmmm, not sure about that one.' did you mean Schindlers List, or the OK-ness of sex and violence in arthouse movies? Only that, being Bennett, in this play sex and love are indistinguishable. Maybe I should say inseparable. And of course, being Bennett, sex / love is A Good Thing. Which is probably a good thing for a child to learn.

D'ye reckon you'll post about it?

Timorous Beastie said...

I have no idea what The Catherine Tate show is, but when I was a child, my mother stopped me watching Doctor Who because she thought it was frightening me so much that my hair was falling out. I, of course, knew better, but could not admit to pulling my own hair out. Now that I think about it, pulling one's own hair out is probably a sign of something far more sinister than Doctor Who.

llewtrah said...

I can't remember a time when I wasn't allowed to watch Dr Who! I think it was exempt from all the normal rules about suitable TV. Mind you, my sisters and I used to sit enthralled (sometimes with our hands almost over our eyes!) while most of our friends "watched" it from behind the sofa in "Mum! Is it safe to look?" mode.

richard said...

Different tack. I had a largely 9pm bedtime until I was 15-16ish in the mid 70s. There wasn't a lot of sweary stuff although I must admit to spinning out the odd bit of maths homework if bouncy and fleshy bits were in the offing. As for the swearing, I have to say I do frown upon kids swearing but enjoy a good mouth-off as much as the next one because swearing has currency and value if used properly. I like CT's Nan, I think she's genius, but for some reason I'd feel uncomfortable watching her in front of my own parents and I'm 45. I never smoked in front of them, either. It's as if the censorship became ingrained. I don't feel my personality became any more subdued though, instead I sought out different ways of expressing myself in front of them without resorting to oathing.

Tedward's Missing Ear said...

I do remember being the only kid in the class not allowed to go and see Grease in P7 and later Dad marching us all out of a local theatre company production of Grease because they said "jugs". Although all in all the Realdoc/TME parentals weren't big on censorship which I think is a good thing. No TVs in the bedroom in this house either. I am shocked that a work colleague lets his 7 year old watch Little Britain which I thjink is more unsuitable than The CT Show. I think once in "Big School" most TV viewing is ok.

realdoc said...

I thin hersch has it right, if I feel uncomfortable then it's probably too old for them.
Mangonel: I won't be taking the doclings to the theatre but that's more because I want a night out on my own and less about it being suitable. I 'wasn't sure' that young kids could tell the difference between arthouse sex and violence and the regular kind.

tim(?) pulling your hair out is not usually a good sign, maybe I'll leave that for another time.
Richard: last Xmas I watched Derek and Clive with my dad, not recommended whatever age you are despite what billy says.

TME: they got it about right I think, but then are we well-balanced? Ahem, maybe not.

chatterbox said...

This is something where there aren't really any absolute rules I think - depends on your family and your kids. I try to stick by age guidance as a general rule, or at least within a year or two. My kids are 14, and until they were 13 they weren't allowed telly after 9 unless there was a very good reason. I tend to avoid letting them watch things with too much sex when I'm around, mainly due to toe-curling embarrassment for all parties! I think I'm pretty much following what my parents did, and although I went off the rails at 15, at least I knew where the rails were... and where to find them again. As for rubbish, I don't censor that - I just explain why I think its rubbish, and they ignore me, just as we did 'in my day'.

richard said...

I think I could watch it with my Dad OK. He's not sweary but he loves a bit of sweary comedy. I don't think Mum would approve at all.

Doc - coudl I pick your brains on something in private? (You must get fed up with that). My email's on my profile

StacieFunkee said...

One of my friends wouldn't let her then 12yo son watch Little Britain so your not the only one.

I don't think i was banned from watching anything when i was little. I obviously didn't care much for 'grown up' programmes.

Tim Footman said...

Ah, for the days when I used to flip through the Radio Times to see whether Jenny Agutter appeared in any cast lists...