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What Happened to Family TV

August 3, 2011

Several years ago, TV networks had what was called “ratings week”. This rating had a direct impact on how much money that network could expect to receive from advertising, so naturally, they wanted as many people to tune in to their channels during that week as they could muster. It was easy to know when ratings week occurred, as the programming became highly sexualized and answers to cliffhangers unfolded.

With today’s video delivery technology, networks have the ability to instantly deliver stats to advertisers, and so “ratings week” has turned in to a constant struggle by media outlets to attract viewership. Apparently, no target audience is immune from the “whatever it takes” mentality of TV execs who will use any tool, human drama, or vice to attract viewers – including our children.

One might think that a program filled with criminal activity, constant sexual overtones, soft porn, underaged teen lesbians making out, and mature subject matter would be the content found on daytime soaps and late night adult TV. Well, it is, and has been for awhile, as TV continues to gradually push the boundaries as to what is acceptable programming. But you wouldn’t expect to see such immorality in children’s programming, would you? What if I told you that not only is such programming being directed at children on a channel that dares to call itself a “family” channel, but that they have an entire line up of programs, aimed at children, with such mature subject matter. Would you be surprised, or would you just blow it off as simply a sign of the times?

Look, I’m no prude. I doubt that most people can say that they have reached the depths of human struggle and exploration of certain vices to the levels that I have. I have no doubt that I’ve become somewhat jaded to the suffering of others, especially that related to self-inflicted stupidity. Where I lack “religion”, I make up for with a sense of spirituality that has proven to be a guiding force to maintain a sense of normalcy. Perhaps these factors, coupled with my age and firsthand knowledge of how TV programming has developed over the years, has provided a basis that the younger generational viewers are not able to comprehend. Like the young generation, I now also have a toddler child. Unlike the new generation, I seem to view TV programming being aimed at children with a far more critical eye, and then set out to gauge its appropriateness. You see, I hope to raise a well adjusted child who is able to use critical thinking and a sense of morality that is necessary to prevent, or overcome, life altering bad decisions.  What I don’t want is a very influential media, such as television, to influence his sense of normalcy to the point that he takes the wrong paths upon reaching the various crossroads that will become his destiny.

TV programming used to lend toward this goal. Sure TV families had their struggles and hints of impropriety, but the writers also demonstrated the moral dilemma as an opportunity to make the right decision. At times, a show was real square, and so the TV world spiced things up a bit, but the overall premises of the shows were something you would want a child to take away, filing away in their brains for future reference. Today, the “spice” is practically all that these new programs are about, with little other content. Just constant conflict and tension among characters while depicting depravity as the new norm. To the likes of ABC ‘Family’, and your “new type of family“, I say thanks but no thanks. I’ve seen enough of that type of “new” family. I’ve witnessed firsthand the destructive nature of your new world order, and I want nothing more to do with it.

This dilemma is certainly not a new one, as each level of immorality on TV has spawned criticism. Supporters of increasingly violent and sexualized TV claim that it merely reflects what is in people’s minds, but does not affect it. I believe that argument to be shortsighted at best, and an outright lie at its worse. While it may be a reflection of what is in some people’s minds, it most certainly can influence thinking patterns in other people’s minds. Let’s be crystal clear about this – network TV’s moral decline has absolutely nothing to do with engaging the public in life lessons, and has everything to do with profits. The fact that people will justify their own children’s exposure to such programming so that they themselves can indulge in the depravity is proof of cultural narcissism and irresponsibility, not appropriate subject matter. The fact that studies about how fast paced and violent cartoons may actually lead to disorders in children, and yet young parents allow their children to watch such programming constantly, is testimony to how lax and self-centered parenting has become. This study concludes a link between increased sex on TV, and the rise in teen pregnancy. TV execs put these kinds of programs out there to keep your kids glued to the TV, not because it is wholesome entertainment for the child. Geesh people, get your heads out of your asses.

Even those films thought to be wholesome child entertainment is starting to engage is some despicable subversive messaging. This video snip from “The Little Mermaid” illustrates, during the wedding scene, the priest getting a hard-on when the bride approaches. If nothing else, people really should be asking, “What the hell are they thinking?!” And then tune out from their sick profiteering.

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From → American Society

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