Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What We Are Watching…

~Choosing media with our kids~

I wasn’t sure if we were ready for STAR WARS. There’s a lot of fighting and some pretty gory stuff, not to mention a pretty complicated plot. We gave it a try anyway, and I’m so glad we did. Even my youngest was interested in these wonderful old movies. And Sarah… My Sarah loves these movies and especially Princess Leia. In fact, I heard her in her bed the other night, humming herself to sleep with the STAR WARS theme music. Crazy.

I tend to be pretty protective of my kids’ media exposure. While I don’t worry about the occasional questionable movie or program (we can always discuss it later), I do worry a lot about the programs that become favorites. Kids tend to study movies and programs, watching them again and again. I want my kids to have great heroes. I want them to learn good things.

So, is it crazy that I’m totally fine with the fact that my kids love movies like STAR WARS and old episodes of The Dukes of Hazard?

The fact is, my kids are not allowed to watch most children’s programming. ABC’s Saturday morning programming (mostly Disney) is strictly off limits. We don’t do Sponge Bob and we don’t do lots of other annoying shows (sorry to the Sponge Bob fans out there). I’m not a totally mean mom. We do watch a lot of the Disney movies and I don’t freak out if the kids watch a kids’ program I don’t approve of at someone else’s house.

I suppose I see it as being a lot like the food we eat. I want my kids’ diets to consist mostly of good, nutritious foods. Educational TV is great. And honestly, despite the violence, I would list STAR WARS in this category of great media. The main characters (male and female!) in the movies are good. They fight evil. They are smart, brave and courageous. They are heroes. I’m okay with movies that contain heroes and the fight of good versus evil, even if they do end with a bad guy getting cut into pieces with a light saber. And you know, my kids seem to do just fine with that, too.

I don’t freak out about my kids eating a bit of junk food from time to time. It’s life. I wouldn’t want my kids eating candy and drinking pop every day, though. I wouldn’t want them watching a lot of the shows on TV every day either, even if it is programming that is aimed at children. Shows that feature incompetent parents, teenagers and pre-teens who whine and/or spend their time trying to fool their parents, or characters who are rude… Well, we don’t watch those shows at our house. There just isn’t anything redeeming in those characters or in the plot lines. That kind of TV is junk. It serves no purpose and has no value.

It goes without saying that some TV and movies are just plain poison. I don’t watch much prime time television and have very little interest in most of the movies that are out in theater. You know the types of shows I’m talking about. I would be horrified if my kids were allowed to view media like that.

Just like choosing good foods for our kids, choosing media for our kids is hard. It would be so easy to go with the flow and let the Hannah Montanas and the the Sponge Bobs of the media world keep my kids busy. I could buy that Happy Meal with the cool but questionable toy and be the “best mom ever,” instead of insisting on a Sad Meal (dollar menu and a water).

I could do that.

Actually, I probably couldn’t. ;)

Anyway, all this makes me wonder.

What are your favorite kid’s movies/programs and why?

What are your “No we’re not going to watch that” movies/programs?

Which shows annoy you the most?

Have you ever seen your children picking up bad habits from the shows they enjoy?

What are your family’s rules about media?

Can’t wait to hear from you.


** By the way, these opinions about media are mine. You might share them, and you might not. Hope you don’t take it too personally if we don’t see eye to eye. ;)  Hope you’ll share your views here, too. All respectful comments are appreciated, even if they are different from what I’ve expressed. It’s good to stand for what we believe in and share it with each other in respectful ways. It’s okay if you don’t agree with me.  ;)


  1. We watch mainly Disney Jr., PBS and a little Nick Jr(Dora, and Bubble Guppies mainly). I also don't allow Spongebob. They've never been allowed to watch it even though other people think I'm crazy for this. They mainly watch Disney movies and have recently started branching out to movies like 'Dispicable Me' and 'Monsters vs Aliens'. The Ramona and Beezus movie that was out last yr is really good if your kids haven't seen it.

  2. I hear ya. When we moved last year, we could not afford cable and after a month of no TV I realized how horrible it was for us. We have TV again but we only watch Netflix and movies that we get from the library or own. I like that I can monitor what my kids watch. I can't stand Spongebob and Johnny Test. UGH!!!
    Star Wars however is a must watch in this family. My husband is a member of the 501st legion. To say he is a fan is an understatement. LOL. I think the SW movies are great entertainment too.

  3. I laughed at the image of your daughter humming herself to sleep with the star wars theme song!

    I've never seen Sponge Bob, I actually have no real idea of what it's about but I have seen the merchandising stuff everywhere.

    We watch a little TV, but not much at all lately. We only watch the commercial free kids channel (which has mainly Australian and British content) and my daughter's favourite shows have all tended to be quite similar - animal characters who have similar 'real life' experiences to young children - so Miffy, Peppa Pig, Timmy Time, Maisy, Penelope... I don't know if that means anything to you!

    Movies my girl has loved (and you're so right about children 'studying' films - watching them over and over) include Finding Nemo and Happy Feet - actually I think they are the only two 'films' she has seen lol! She doesn't even know what McDonalds is - you think you're the mean mom!

  4. Same here! We mostly watch PBS, not even Disney Jr. anymore, for some reason my kids just kinda gravitated to the PBS shows and love them. We watch lots of movies (mostly Disney) especially when we travel. We also don't usually agree with most of the movies that come out that are supposed to be for kids, IMO most of them are not. As for the Happy Meals, my kiddos enjoy them when we travel and it is worth the extra buck or two for the peace and quiet in the car when they get to open and play with their toy ;). Just a side effect of traveling as much as we do :).
    On a side note if your library has old Strawberry Shortcake shows, they are good and your girls would love them. My mother in law has several of them that she bought when my neice was younger and now Trinity watches them. They are pretty good with most of their plots being about helping others and treating each other with kindness.

  5. I guess I'm extra-weird. We don't *routinely* allow kid programming of any kind. I do not like the agenda behind a lot of public broadcasting (sesame street puppets chanting "day-care! day-care!" might be a nice pat on the back for kids sitting in daycare, but I don't want my kids thinking its normal or expected or something they're missing out on), and I despise the cultural stuff in Disney. In fact, I protest more to THEMES than anything else. My girls (1, 3, 6, 9) spent much of last weekend watching some of the Lord of the Rings movies. War, monsters, other possible problems (depending on the child and parent), but you know what? It's good vs. evil, it's sacrifice and service and standing together and fighting for Good. I can handle that. What I can't handle is the Little Mermaid, whose daddy just doesn't understand, and her rebellion against him will eventually bring him to the light, and she'll get what she wants. To me, THAT is more objectionable. :]

  6. We don't watch TV regularly, and when we do it is usually a dvd that is mom or dad approved. We prefer to let our children learn what is good, so they can easily distinguish when something is bad. It is kind of like learning to be a bank teller. They only handle good money, that way they can tell the counterfeit money when they feel it.

  7. we love us some PBS! we don't even have Nickolodean or Disney< my son loves star wars and my girls have recently gotten into Annie, which thrills my soul. They have seen most Disney cartoons and enjoy them as well. They def. watch more movies than TV. My kids also know most of the words to Metallica songs tho, so I might not be the best example :)

  8. We are more conservative than most of our friends - much to my kids dismay. But I do think it also totally depends on your kids temperament. I didn't want my kids to have nightmares or pick up bad habits. And moderation is the key, in my opinion.

    Interesting topic :) I purposed one just yesterday too. Great minds think alike ;) XOL

  9. Our family is very conservative too-- no tv (we don't own one) and we usually just occasionally watch older movies on the weekends. Movies such as Man from Snowy River, Swiss Family Robinson, Fiddler on the Roof, Johny Tremain, Mr. Smith goes to Washington, Pete's Dragon, Pollyana, North Avenue Irregulars, etc. But we DO watch Lord of the Rings and Stars Wars once in a great while. :-) I, myself, don't like the gore so I'm usually reading somewhere else. But my husband loves the good vs. evil and excitement and I don't want to shelter the kids TOO much.

    My overall goal and vision is for my children to realize how much more interesting and exciting the REAl world is. Playing outside, singing in a choir, reading a book, climbing a tree, creating (whether it's artwork, wood, or crochet), is so much more fulfilling and will make more memories than spending that time indoors attached to the computer and TV for mind numbing entertainment.

  10. I am apparently the odd parent here. Probably most of the parents who have already commented on here will think I'm a horrible parent. But I let my kids watch Sponge Bob and my daughter is a Hannah Montana fan and I see nothing wrong with it. Think of my parenting what you will. My kids watched Sponge Bob a lot for a while but they rarely do now. My daughter loves music and a girl (character) who actually plays guitar and writes her own music at a young age seems like a good thing to me. I do try to prevent my daughter from seeing all the negative media surrounding Miley Cyrus (I don't want her to associate the two as both being ok) and I've tried to steer her to other young female musicians who seem to maybe have some better morals. Also, not always, but most times we are watching these shows (or in the room with them) when the kids are watching them. So if I see something that I don't want them to think is ok behavior I make a point to talk to them about it. I think a lot of people over react about tv shows. We watched roadrunner cartoons when we were kids and I don't go around blowing people up or pushing them off cliffs. Not that I would anyway but my mom always watched show with us and made sure we understood that they were cartoons and not real and explained what would happen if it was real. So as I said think what you want of my parenting but I think not letting kids ever watch the show their friends are watching only makes them want to watch them more just to see what they are missing. I let my kids watch them and now they really don't care whether they do or not. It's not a temptation and the curiosity is gone. I'd love to be able to stay home with my kids and spend all day outside or doing fun educational things with them but I don't have that luxury in my life. I work full time (some people question my parenting just for that) so my kids can have health insurance and a house and food. But being a full-time working wife and mother of two, with a dog and house and yard, oh yeah and myself to take care of is exhausting most days. I try to be the best I can at all that stuff every day but some days I'm just a bad mom or a bad wife or a bad employee or a bad pet owner, housekeeper or gardener. As long as I'm not bad at them all on the same day I figure I'm doing pretty good...even if my girls watch Sponge Bob and Hannah Montana on the same day...gasp! ;)

  11. Lol, I just posted on TV last night.

    I'm with you on the movies they own/get obsessed with. I've realized that many of the newer movies that I don't love, I don't mind them watching one time. But after 2x they start to memorize the lines, and then begin to pick up the "naughty" lines the makers snuck into the movie. That really bugs me. My kids have been watching Star Wars since day one, but that's ONLY because of my husband. He grew up on Star Wars and it's a "staple" for him.

    We do "sad meals" as well 'cause I can't stand the toys and, frankly, sad meals are cheaper.

    Un-fortunately my husband also let Sponge Bob slip into our home...but have you ever watched it? Holy cow it's funny. Another good one to only watch once. I like that Sponge Bob is very innocent and just silly. To me many of the PBS shows are much worse...more insidious.



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