Monday 24 June 2019

Parents - not TV - are to blame for copycat teens

So, the PC police are out again. This time it's over TV drama Skins which is about . . . oh, you know, the usual: teenagers, sex, drugs, rock'n'roll. Actually, the only problem I've seen of it is that it is so superbly acted that the detractors must think it's actually real.

Nevermind -- its audience doesn't. That's because the kids who watch it must be just that bit brighter than their parents. Yes, it's shocking, but no more so than Glee or Lady Gaga, Rihanna or your average pop video? I do know that when TV companies go even the slightest bit out of their way to offer edgy drama to a notoriously difficult-to-please segment of the market they get into trouble every time. As a parent of teens I'd be much more worried about them watching Toddlers and Tiaras or 16 & Pregnant which border on televisual child abuse. Or indeed, the Nine O'Clock News on any given night, or a documentary on the war in Iraq or a Prime Time special on drug pushing in Limerick or street prostitution in Dublin.

Older kids get the difference between real life and what's on the telly. When they're tiny tots they might well believe that Barney lives down the road, or that Telly Tubby land is somewhere you can go on holidays, but teenagers are far from stupid.

The argument from the (adult) spoilsports is that teenagers equate 'See' with 'Do'. It is much more likely that bad parenting causes both 'See' and 'Do'. Television shows don't cause a teen to start shooting up, or having underage sex. Bad values at home and lack of parental control do.

In 1956, Elvis Presley was banned from a television programme because of his hip-swaying. An entire generation went off the rails as a result. Didn't they? No, actually. Nor will they after watching Skins.

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