Now I know there are those who think there is absolutely no value, other than shock, to shows like Jersey Shore. People who believe that Snooki, the Situation, and their reality TV brethren have no business achieving 15 seconds, let alone 15 minutes of fame. And, for the most part I agree.
Last week, however, Snooki demonstrated, in a way my parental warnings can’t, what happens when you cross a line. And there was nothing appealing about the way she did it. Snooki looked and behaved like an ass. My 17-year-old daughter watched, and she too found the behavior to be abhorrent. I know this is what she thought, because we discussed it.
There are people who believe that children and teenagers should not view programming that is distasteful. And I agree that subject matter should be age appropriate. But I also believe that teachable moments come through a variety of venues. And on Thursday night, Snooki provided me with one.
MTV routinely features shows that appear to reward poor, and sometimes dangerous, behavior. But… the network also produces a few series that inspire. If You Really Knew Me, Made and True Life are examples of programs that shine a light, though not always a positive or candy coated one, on some of the real issues and challenges teenagers and young adults face. These are the shows I want my kids to watch. Yes, I am actually okay with my teenagers watching MTV–sometimes.
And sometimes, I don’t want them to watch. But they will. So, I do too. And then we discuss.
Do you think TV shows and movies–even those with questionable content–serve an educational purpose? Would you let your child watch Jersey Shore?