I can remember it was in 1970, I was 13 years old. I was an avid reader and if a book I’d read was ever made into a movie, my mom and I would go see it. I had read Love Story the year before the movie. It was rated PG. I loved that movie. The phrase “Love means never having to say your sorry” came from this movie. It was so sad. I just bawled when it ended. We were both pretty quiet on the way home. I knew how it would end since I read the book but seeing it was different to me somehow. I read an average of 3 books a week and though I may get sad, I hardly ever cry. I just don’t seem to cry when reading. There was one sex scene in this movie but nothing was shown but Ali MacGraw’s back.
I had gone to bed and I heard my parents start to yell at each other and being the nosy person I am, I got up and listened at my bedroom door. My mom wanted to take me to Ryan’s Daughter and my dad said I wasn’t old enough and he “forbid” me to see that movie. I never did see it until this past year. I came upon it quite by accident when I was ordering a book for my mom and it was just “there” and I was dying to see what I couldn’t see back then. I almost hated it. It was so s-l-o-w moving and I thought, very boring. There was a small sex scene, same as Love Story, you couldn’t “see” anything but it was all done with innuendo’s. But, it was about an adulterous affair and maybe that was why my dad didn’t want me to see it. I’m not sure and he probably won’t remember.
My point is how times have changed and how movies and ratings have changed. There is more on TV now in prime time, at 7:00 PM than I was allowed to see in a movie theater at 13. I’m left to wonder why? Do you think all the sex and all the violence and innuendo’s that are on now so early at night is okay? Were we to sheltered back then about this kind of stuff because remember, we were all riding our bikes with no protective gear, climbing and falling out of tree’s, taking off and being gone all day left to do whatever we wanted and we drank water from the hose, we didn’t use seat-belts……..I think you get the point. I know Toby and Sue have stopped watching some of the shows they like if the kids are up just because they said they have just gotten to suggestive.
So do you think we are better off? Were we shielded to much or are the kids of today bubble wrapped in one way but treated much older in others?
Yes! I think a big difference is that, once upon a time, there was a thing called “Right” and a thing called “Wrong.” And there was a distance between kids and parents called “Respect.” And because we respected our parents, when they said something was “wrong” we didn’t even think to wonder whether they (or other adults) might have done it themselves. It wasn’t our business to question or judge our parents in that way.
During my childhood, as long as kids were playing with other kids of a similar age, they were making mistakes that were mostly age-appropriate and provided learning opportunities. So yeah, we might have gotten broken bones and poison ivy, but those are things we could get over without a lifetime of regret.
At some point, people decided that kids should have access to all of the world’s truths. (This coincided with the height of the sexual revolution, communes, recreational drugs, nudist colonies, and the adolescence of the baby boomers, so who knows what, if any, “logic” was behind it.) Now everything about sex was age-appropriate before a child was even fertile. At the same time there were “child development experts” out there who insisted that childrearing practices needed to be changed so they focused on the wants and needs of the child as opposed to those of the community – hence the decline of parental respect and authority. Today, things have gone a little “backward” but they are still pretty extreme from the point of view of the pre-baby-boomer generations. As a result, we have 13-year-olds watching Sex and the City and deciding to have sex early and often. (Yes, I saw a blog on that very topic just the other day.)
When I was a kid, no older than 10, my parents went out and left us home with my oldest brother in charge. My dad said we could watch TV but we were NOT allowed to watch the movie that was showing that night – the Summer of ’42. Well, of course that is what we watched. The only thing I remember that I knew was risque at the time was when the guy was trying to buy condoms, though my older brothers probably understood more. I also recall that when “Soap” first came out, we were forbidden to watch it. When I got a bit older and allowed to watch, I wondered what had been so risque about it.
I guess when we were growing up, parents had reason to hope that their kids would value discretion and faithfulness and such, at least until they were old enough to take full responsibility for their actions. Today, people seem to think that since kids have been exposed to immorality at an earlier age, they are somehow mature enough to act responsibly at an earlier age. Does this seem logical to anyone out there? Because it doesn’t to me. I still feel my job as a parent is to convince my kids that there still is a thing called Wrong and a thing called Right, regardless of what others are doing and saying. And the foundation of that is to teach my kids to respect their mother and other adults – regardless of what others think of my parenting style.
I just realized there is no way to know what I was saying “yes” to in my post above. Well, it was to the second half of your last sentence – yes, kids are overprotected (from their own age-appropriate mistakes) in some ways but allowed too much information / freedom in matters that could hurt them for decades.
I don’t watch tv and when the kids do because they are so young my tv rarely leaves kids channels.
I had a situation one night where a lil girl stayed the night at my house and she started to do some things to my younger daughter that she had seen on tv show the night before. I immediately called the sleep over off and called her mother. She had learned these things from a show she had watched the night before. I had watched the same show and no way in H*Ll that kid should have been watching that show and from the things she did.. I know thats where she got them from and her mother admitted she had watched the show before I stated I had seen it as well. .. Kids do learn from what they watch.. Even more so at a young age..
So what did your daughter’s friend do that was so unacceptable? We’re hanging on the cliff.
Great post Joy!
NO- All the sex and violence on television today is AWFUL!!
It is all gotten soo bad that I will not let my future kids see those shows, but when they are teenagers there is no stopping them. We will be a close family and make sure they know what values in our family and in society are ACTUALLY respected and actually feel good.
Having studied media communications in college, I learned it is just really really sad that making money is more important to media. It’s show biz, and violence and sex is what sells the most ever since the media and government approved one thing after another to be on air.
Seeing that my generation’s parents and older adults have great respect and good values, I see society is WAY better off without all the garbage in the media.
Why are young kids drinking, having sex, doing drugs-VERY recklessly – at such young ages today?? MEDIA.
SKL- that is so true! I didn’t judge or question my mom either- I would have been smacked. But today, kids are questioning their parents like there is no tomorrow. The fast pace lifestyle with everyTHING at your fingertips-has made kids only think of the here and now and listen more to the media/technology than to the parents.
The only way to stop your own kids from buying into the media, like you said SKL, is to make sure they know right from wrong despite what they hear. And kids listen to the parents and value what they value, so parents got to make sure the kids know what those are. But I think it’s also important to SHOW them-by having them do volunteer work, be part of the community or real world.
I don’t think we are better off today. The stuff on t.v. now is a whole lot of crap. When I do take the time to occasionally gel in front of the tube I find myself picking the show apart on all levels. Sometimes the logic in the shows is so STUPID! The values are messed up. And the reality is skewed. Not much there for me…or my kids.
You know, there’s more to television than just fictional shows that glorify violence and unrealistic sexuality. Discovery Channel, History Channel, MSNBC, HGTV – we watch all of these channels regularly. Being a historian, one thing I’ve realized is that we always think the past was so much better than today in terms of morality. It wasn’t. Any issue you can think of today is an issue we had “back then.” (Divorce, crime, child abuse, rape, etc. etc.)
As for past sexuality, girls used to be married by age 16 to 18, sometimes earlier. If a girl wasn’t married by the age of 20, she was considered an Old Maid. If a girl age 16 gets pregnant now, we all freak out and think it’s so unnatural. If a typical life expectancy is age 50, society is going to speed up the maturation rate. Now we want to keep our kids kids until they’re practically 30 (which is only a slight exaggeration).
As for sexuality in general, we are complete prudes (a word I don’t particularly care for) in America. We act as though children aren’t sexual beings, but they are. It’s our denial of this fact that causes us not to talk to kids about responsible sexual behavior that will keep them safe. Dear god! Let’s not tell them about condoms. Gotta teach them abstinence only, but a study done on this type of sex ed has proven that it doesn’t keep teens from having sex.
We don’t watch a whole lot of TV but I agree with most, it’s gone downhill since I was a child watching Full House, Facts of Life and Saved by The Bell. My son won’t be watching any of the so called “prime time” sitcoms. They are nothing short of sex ads. In my opinion.
I agree with you in part Mary but not all of us have a satellite or cable so our choices are movies or what’s on. I am considering getting a dish but cable is unheard of where I live. I remember when Mary got engaged to John on Little House On The Prairie, she was only 15 but you know there was no sex going on there and it wasn’t snidely insinuated. I find all the sex stuff insulting to me. I don’t need to hear it and my son doesn’t “get it” yet but it won’t be long until he does. The thing that bothers me is that it’s on so early at night. It’s not just “sex” either, it’s bad language and it’s making fun of “geeks.” Some of these shows are just unkind to other human beings. That’s what gets me. I want my son to treat others better.
Jane, societies evolve, and in the modern age it’s about being real and attractive. And of course law and order are still fundamental. But, again, societies will change in the details.
Jane, I agree with you about the “unkindness” on TV. Everyone speaks with sarcasm and cynicism, and every kid who can talk has to be “fresh” all the time. Kids roll their eyes at parents and gang up on teachers, all with only positive consequences. Every time I watch what are supposed to be “kid-friendly” shows, I am completely turned off by the dialogue. For that matter, I rarely find anything I want to watch on TV. The more I can keep my kids interested in other things besides TV, the happier I’ll be.
SKL, better yet, be aware, give your children that awareness by actual sharing of your wisdom. But, your wisdom has to hold up to comprehensive scrutiny. If it doesn’t pass, they’ll do their own trailblazing to make comprehensive sense of the issues. I expect you and Jane are woefully living in the un-comprehensively understanding past.