5 Dangerous Messages from Today’s Kid Shows

kid friendly

A remarkable number of moms and dads watch—and allow their children to watch—the latest reality shows. These shows make outrageous displays of some of the most important areas of life like marriage and family relationships or finding the right spouse. Clearly, they are not kid-friendly.

Americans spend a great deal of time watching television, either on a traditional set, a computer, or a handheld device. However, for parents who care about the messages their children absorb from the media they take in, finding shows that entertain without introducing something questionable is increasingly difficult. Here are some gray areas to look out for.

1. Language, Violence, and Nudity.

These are the obvious offenders that most parents look out for, and for good reason. The more children are exposed to profanity, violence, and sexual promiscuity, the more desensitized they become to it.

2. Depicting Parents and Authority Figures as Idiots.

A friend pointed this out to me. She asked me to name a modern sitcom show where the parents and/authority figures are not portrayed as idiots. It was difficult to find one. I couldn’t believe how many shows where kids are the heroes and parents lack any kind of wisdom or nuance. In many shows, the kids are the smart ones. It undermines parents’ authority in the eyes of the child.

3. Themes that Contradict Your Values.

The entertainment industry is extremely adept at taking positions that contradict traditional values, and slowly disarming them by getting us to laugh at it. Make sure the characters you allow your children to watch are making good choices. And if they’re not, make it a teachable moment by discussing why this particular choice doesn’t match your family values.

4. Themes that Promote a Lack of Wisdom and Civility.

Reality TV, in particular, has made a fortune by letting America gawk at those whose only achievements are in the areas of self-centeredness, tackiness, and poor choices. If your children are taking in these shows, even as entertainment, they’ll undoubtedly become desensitized to the tantrum-throwing and self-promotion on display. Beware.

5. Major Materialism.

We live in a more-is-more consumer culture; the shows your children watch can contribute greatly to their expectations with regard to possessions.  Make sure their programming isn’t feeding an unhealthy fire and shaping their values in a way you’ll regret.


Tell us! What is your favorite show to watch as a family?