A couple of months ago, my 4-year old daughter Lucy wanted to watch a movie. The hubs and I were watching something on tv so I downloaded Netflix onto her iPad so she could watch it.
First off, yes both of my children have iPads. They have a variety of educational apps and a handful of cartoons loaded on them for car trips and times when mom or dad need a few minutes to do something. Second, everyone has their own opinion in screen time and that’s not the issue I’m here to talk about, so no lectures please.
Anyways, on another day, Lucy was playing with her iPad while I was trying to clean or do something. I saw that she was on Netflix and was watching a cartoon. She said she was watching Barbie. It was on the Netflix kids list and seemed harmless enough. Until I heard some of the dialogue and my jaw dropped.
The characters were talking about how one girl was trying to steal Ken from Barbie. They were saying words like hate, stupid and whatever and talking about how one of the girls didn’t dress well enough. I was shocked that this kind of show was considered children’s programming. I told Lucy I didn’t want her watching it anymore because Barbie’s friends weren’t nice people.
About a week ago, Lucy was watching a show called ‘Horseland’ on Netflix. I prescreened a few episodes and they seemed ok. Until I heard dialogue from one episode in which one horse had gained too much weight and wasn’t eating in order to lose weight. Excuse my language but wtf!?! Who is developing these kind of shows for kids. Needless to say we’re no longer watching ‘Horseland’ either.
I partially blame Netflix for not giving better parental controls. Their kids programming list is for ages 12 and under. There is a HUGE difference in what you let a 4 year old watch and what you let a 12 year old watch. They should allow you to restrict by age, I mean come on. Secondly, I think these topics are even too nature for 12 year olds, which is why they should also allow you to exclude specific shows.
But mostly, I blame society, for making inappropriate social issues like stealing boyfriends and being weight conscious ok to include in cartoons for kids. Growing up in a society focused on being beautiful and skinny and having a lot of material things is hard enough, kids today do not need tv shows pushing weight loss and infidelity on them. And don’t even get me started on violence in cartoons.
There are shows out their like Dora and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that at least have a moderate amount of educational value, but once my kids outgrow those shows, then what? Brats? Monster High? Powderpuff girls? I think not!
Then you look at channels like ABC Family, which airs Pretty Little Liars (which I’ve never watched but it doesn’t look like something I ever want my girls to watch). Seriously?!? A show about being a pretty liar? Ridiculous! Oh and I’ve also been channel surfing and seen The Hunger Games (a show about kids killing each other) and Pretty Woman (a show about a prostitute and her john) on ABC Family as well.
I know this is just a rant by some annoyed mom of two little girls, and that the ultimate solution is just to not let them watch tv (ccome on yeah right). I think that parents in America need to start pushing for more quality child and family programming that enforces values and morals to help grow well adjusted, confident young girls who embrace each other’s differences, instead of inappropriate cartoons that encourage them to be pretty, skinny boyfriend-stealers.