23 Dec The TV is Teaching My Children What!?
Over the past 85 years, millions of individuals and families have had the opportunity to watch shows on television and have experienced the rapid growth of many forms of media. Many individuals have experienced the excitement of watching a favorite TV show throughout childhood while developing fond memories of characters and values instilled within the shows viewed. When we look back at the shows viewed in the 80s and 90s, we see shows such as Full House and The Cosby Show which instill high moral values and the importance of the family. It was easy to sit down during the evening with family members and watch a show that everyone in the family was comfortable watching. As we think back on some of our favorite childhood shows and the values of the traditional family instilled in the shows, were we exposed to the threats that can now be seen on TV with the flick of a remote?
The media content that we now are so easily exposed to is posing a serious threat to the family with 84.7% of all households in the United States having at least one TV in their homes. From our own personal experiences, it can be very difficult at times to find TV shows and movies that promote the importance of families and living high moral standards. With the traditional family being mocked and alternative lifestyles becoming the popular norm, it is important to understand the impact that the media can have on our society. You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? These are just shows.” However contrary to these thoughts, there is strong evidence that what we watch influences how we act. If we are supporting shows that degrade the family or depict such issues as cohabitation, divorce, or that are down playing the importance of marriage, this can have a serious impact on not only our own relationships but society as a whole.
This show has a bachelor or a bachelorette and they have to choose from 25 men or women in which they will propose to at the end of the show. The concept of finding true love through these dates is blissful and romantic, catching most eyes in America to believe these couples are meant for each other. Nearing the end dates (around 5 weeks after meeting each other) the different couples are asked if they wish to stay overnight in the “Fantasy Suite”. Most of the couples take the offer and have the next scene of them closing the doors to the bedroom. Are these the values we wish to instill in our children, especially our teenage girls? Does one need to “stay in the Fantasy Suite” to see if they are fit to marry each other? Marriage here is based upon temporal beauty and sexual needs. The traditional view of marriage is a love in which you serve one another and work hard to keep the relationship alive within the marriage.
This new ABC Family premiered on June 3, 2013. The Fosters are also foster parents to multiple children that are going through the system. The controversial value in this show is the definition of marriage and family because the heads of this family are both females. Lena and Stef are raising Stef’s biological son from a previous marriage, adopted twins, and multiple foster children. Within the first few minutes of the show, Callie, an abusive close minded girl, calls Stef and Lena a derogatory word used as a description for a lesbian relationship. This girl is meant to represent the traditional view of family and what is believed to be rude and unloving towards those with alternative lifestyles. We wish that they may understand the love and compassion we have with those struggling with same-sex attraction, but still believe that the best place for a child is in a home with a mother and a father.
Friends premiered in 1994 and had a very successful career that lasted ten years. About 51.1 Million American viewers watched the season finale in 2004. What made this show about six unique friends and their lives in Manhattan so popular? The light hearted comedy brought entertainment to the hardship that people are faced with in life. What kinds of family values are placed in the show though? All three girls, Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica, had babies with only one of them having children within the protective frame of marriage. Cohabitation was born through this show watching the different friends live together while dating. It was glamorized and accepted by American culture as a good option instead of the bad connotations as it has had before.
The red headed country icon showed Americans that being divorced was freeing and does not have a huge impact on the individuals involved (children, parents, friends, etc.). Reba has three kids, two girls and one boy, which have relationships not only with their mom but a close relationship with their dad as well. With constant visits from the father and step mom it eludes that divorce will not change the relationships between family members. Another controversial idea would be that having a baby during high school with your high school sweetheart will all work out with marriage, healthy baby, and a high school diploma. About 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, versus approximately 90 percent of women who had not given birth during adolescence. This show is a great example of the changing ideals, expectations, and acceptance of alternative “family” views.
These are only a few examples of what television has to offer the traditional family views. The more we support these shows with nontraditional views of the family, the more our society will grow to accept such views as norms. Without the consequences of those actions shown, those actions will ultimately disintegrate the traditional family. Please carefully review the media that is being watched in your home and look for what kind of standards are being taught to you and your family. It is important that we not only look after what our family is watching but share with our extended family and community members the lack of values that are being instilled within the viewers.
Alicia Johnson is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying Marriage and Family Studies. Alicia is originally from El Dorado Hills, CA and married her sweetheart, Garett Johnson, on August 19, 2011.