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Posts tagged ‘movies’

Why Are Adult Themes In Kids Shows?

Why Are Adult Themes In Kids Shows?TV as Teacher

I am not sure how to begin this post. I know the words I am about to write will probably be misinterpreted by some and judged harshly by others but it is the way I feel at this moment. My daughter is 9, my son is 6. Tonight while watching a cartoon they have watched several times before. The story line went in a different direction. The two young characters in the show began talking about how one of the character’s Dad’s were going to have a baby. I thought I misheard it but I hadn’t they said Dad’s, as in 2 fathers.

My daughter promptly changed the channel. My son, not understanding the reference, asked her why she turned the channel. She got upset and left the room. I inquired with my daughter if she understood what they meant by two Dad’s. She said “yes, it meant boy’s liking boy’s…they were gay.” She said the show made was strange. I asked her to explain and she added it wasn’t something that she could explain. Sensing her confusion, I sat her down and tried to probe her further.

When did she first hear about someone who was gay? She said it was in a book or a show somewhere. Since I was unclear how the idea was presented I explained to her gay people are not bad, it is just part of who they are. It is nothing to feel weird about. They are just another form of a family. She seemed to understand the concept of “gay” better when I put it this way.

I recognize for a child who has knowns little to nothing about sexuality yet, the concept of being homosexual can be confusing. Most kids her age are not mature enough to understand what being “gay” means.  That is why I wish TV had not been the vehicle to introduce it.

Sex and violence in a kids movie?

Although the TV show did bring up something I would have addressed with her at some point anyway. I had to wonder why adult themes seem to be seeping into children’s shows? This is not the first time references to sex, sexuality and violence were blatantly broadcast in something made for children. Over Halloween, we attempted to watch the movie “Frankinweenie” and the boy in the movie actually says “sex and violence” within the first 5 minutes.

I know a lot was made about the “gay moment” in Beauty and the Beast but my concern is (from what I hear) the adult themes spread all over the movie. Far more overt then the “gay moment,” there are sexual innuendo and heightened violent scenes. Now I am not saying the makers of the film need to change their movie. By why not change the rating? Movies have gone from PG to PG-13 for less.

Skewing the demographics

Why does Hollywood seem to be hell bent on teaching children about adult themes before they are ready? Over the past year TV and movies have been much more lenient with what is allowed in a PG rating. Children’s channels previously free from overt violence and sexuality, like the Disney channel, are putting out adult like content such as their new show, Andi Mack, in which a teen girl discovers her older sister is actually her mother.

Why is this on a channel watched primarily by 2 to 11 year olds? Wouldn’t a show like this be more appropriate on a channel like Freeform or even Disney 😄, which is geared towards teens?

From what I have read the reason for these adult theme children’s shows is the idea that children today are growing up faster and are looking for more “grown-up” storylines.” Sorry, I don’t by it. I think there is a  pressure on kids to grow up too fast and a lot of it comes from Hollywood and the media. These themes are being introduced more frequently in areas previously thought to be “kid-friendly.”

Not ready for prime time

They are coming up in shows and movies well before these kids are full equip, mentally and emotionally to

When I saw this graphic I was shocked. Had no idea something so violent was rated for a 14 year old viewer.

understand concepts like extreme-violence, teen pregnancy and sexual orientation. How could a 5-year-old be asking for shows with more adult theme like teen pregnancy when they don’t understand (and shouldn’t yet) what sex is?

The other prevailing school of thought is, we are only exposing children to something they will learn about anyway? So eventually they will learn about concepts like sexual abuse, drug addiction and murder. Should we be showing those images to a 5-year-old as well?

Some reading this post will think I am being overprotective, restrictive and even a bit of a homophobic. But I have talked to gay and straight parents about this. Many agree it is not so much the topic as the timing it is being introduced. For a teen questioning their sexuality or a 15-year old who is exposed to teen pregnancy, these are appropriate themes for a more mature time of life.

According to Dr. Meg Meeker, pediatrician and author,  “Talking to a child about sex when he is too young can be traumatizing, so parents must use their instincts and best judgement to take the cues and know when to begin talking to their kids about sex, letting them take the lead in their own time.”

TV time became a habit

I will admit this exposure by TV is also something of my own making. Most moms have done what I have. Put on Dora the Explorer for an hour when they were toddlers, so you can take a shower. But that has translated into TV become a daily part of family life.

Although, I am not happy about the adult themes popping up in shows made for young children. Family time is not about watching TV. It is about spending time together. I gave the content control over when I did this and let TV be the teacher. TV’s reference to a gay couple should not have been what prompted a discussion into differing family units and lifestyles. It should have been a more positively framed talk at a more mature, appropriate time.

By sitting them in front of the TV while I was on the computer or doing dishes, I created a habit. My responsibility and duty to preserve their innocence was given to Disney Channels and Cartoon Network producers. Blindly trusting them to keep the content safe and age-appropriate.

It is my job, not TV’s

In truth, they own me nothing. They do not know my kids and what they are ready for. Their goal is to produce shows they think people will watch and advertisers will buy into. It is my job to make sure the content is right for my children.

Still I don’t understand what the big push is to turn children into mini adults.  I know at some point I will have to have “the talk,” with my kids. When we I don’t want them to feel like they can not share their feelings with me because of something they saw on TV.

So for now, I will let my kids stay innocent just a while longer.  Adult life will come soon enough, quicker if Hollywood has their way. And when they are ready, and have questions. My kids can look to me to explain things…instead of learning it from TV.

5 things kids have we wish we grew up with

kids todayA few weeks ago I did a post about how American Malls are dying. Recently, there was news that the Ringling Bros. circus is closing its doors. What this indicates is that kids growing up from this point forward will not know what a ringmaster signifies. They will not understand the reference to “a 3 ring circus.”

Don’t get me started on clowns? Is there no place in our society for clowns anymore? (I don’t mean the scary ones that hide in the forest and take selfies for Facebook.) Don’t worry I’m sure kids will be able to google the meaning of “Circus.” They can watch YouTube videos about the motorcycle stunt show. They can read a Wikipedia description on what a Circus was.

Since so many familiar icons of growing up are disappearing I am saddened by the idea my children will not have the experiences that I had. These things have gone the way of drive-in theaters, Blockbuster video stores and original Twinkies.

However, in writing this I realized we can get all melancholy and nostalgic about the disappearance of iconic

childhood memories such a “the Mall” and “the Circus.” But instead, we can accept that the world is constantly changing. What might have been treasured and meaningful to us might not have ever been as magical and memory making from our children’s perspective. So instead I thought to turn things on their head and  look at all the cool innovations my children have that I did not grow up with. Here are five things my children have that I did not have growing up.

Comic Books come to life

Growing up I was a total comic book geek. But at the time the technology to bring these characters to life just wasn’t there. So for me they could only exist on a page, as a drawing. Kids today not only get to experience these characters on the big screen in amazing visual story telling, they can also meet them in person at theme parks and watch them in there afterschool cartoons.

Be on a cooking show

rachael v Guy Kids Cook Off

picture from FoodNetwork

Shows like “Kids Baking Championship,” and “Masterchef Jr.” might be theatrical, contrived and well… crazy but they highlight the amazing things kids of today can achieve.

photo from Walmart.com

Have a real robot

This holiday I was floored by the amount of electronic toys available to children…one of the hottest, sought after and in demand toy was the Anki Cosmo. A real, mass markets robot. Crazy huh?

Read Harry Potter

When I was growing up there was never a book series that engage kids the way Harry Potter does. They not only made reading enjoyable, it make books releases an event. Kids (and adults) will be reading these for generations to come.

Information at our fingertips

Some might see this a s a replacement for true knowledge. However, the ability for kids to have access to a wealth of information broadens their perspective of other cultures, worlds, and lives. No more do kids have to grow up feeling like they are trapped in a small town, or forced to follow in their parents footsteps. There are no longer dictated by a limiting view. They have a window to an infinite number of possibilities and directions their life can go in. They can research and discover opportunities that might have never seemed possible to young adults who grew up in the 80’s.

Just keep swimming

Day Three of the Three Day Quote Challenge. Thank you to izzyasabee for nominating me for this challenge. Like I have done the past few days my quotes will not be from a great philosopher or poets, they will not be from an amazing orator, statesman, or writer.

They will be from made-up people in cartoons. Yup! My current source of wisdom and inspiration comes from animated characters. Don’t scoff sometimes these characters provide life lessons and insight that might escape the average viewer.

I finish out with the best. Here is the cream of the crop of quotes people…Disney Movies. (Ok, I did more than three, but there are so many good ones it was hard to choose.)

 

I nominate perfectlymundane

Stuck in Perpetual Soliloquy

lifekidsandaglassofred

 

 

My top 5 Halloween Movies to Watch with Kids

I know this is a list that has been done to death. Here is my issue. Many movies that are Halloween”ish” are either to adult, scary or geared towards toddlers. I have an 8-year old and a 5 year old and finding a Halloween movie that is still on the innocent side is kind of a challenge. So here is the list that I have found that seems to appeal to both, but still maintain a G rating and are not totally agony for an adult to watch with the kids.

  1. Monsters.Inc – A great movie for anytime of the year really. It has fun characters, age appropriate themes and as usual a good lesson.
  2. The Nightmare Before Christmas – The animation and songs make it an interesting but different type of movie. Some of the lyrics can get a bit rough but nothing that is to outrageous.
  3. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – It’s an oldie but a goody. It is a little slow in spots but still fun to watch.
  4. Hotel Transylvania – Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, and Kevin James are a few of the famous actors that lend their voices to this movie. Gotta say Sandler’s “Drac” is great. It actually had me laughing along with the kids. Can’t wait to see Hotel Transylvania 2 which is out in theaters now.

    picture from toonterror.wordpress.com

    picture from toonterror.wordpress.com

  5. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer Stone – But only the first one…maybe the second one (The Chamber or Secrets.) if you kids are a bit older maybe 6 or 7. .My 5 year old can handle the first Harry Potter, the second was a bit to scary at the end. However, the first movie is fun, fanciful and has a good lesson of bravery and friendship.
There are a couple I have seen on other lists that didn’t workout for me.
1. Hocus Pocus – Cute movie, but I didn’t remember them talking about the lead male being a “virgin.” That began the question from my 8-year-old, “Mom, what’s a virgin?” Awkward…
2. ParaNorman – Didn’t get past the first 5 minutes because they immediately used the word “sex,” right out of the gate! My kids are still to young for this conversation and this is not how I want it to start. This was totally unexpected for a kids movie. Don’t know if they were trying to be funny or appeal to adults but there are plenty Halloween movies for adults. Sex or sex references have no place in a kids movie.
3. Halloweentown – Great for the kids but I couldn’t watch it with them. I found the story annoying and the acting abominable. But at least it is safe, not to scary and has no sex references. I would put it on if I have something to do in the next room.
 What are your picks for Halloween movies to watch with the kids? Leave a comment. Would love to get some new ideas and suggestions.?

5 (nearly) Free Things To Do This Summer

Image from Clipaartpanda

Image from Clipaartpanda

During the summer, I find I end up spending more money trying to get out of the intense summer heat and looking for indoor things to do. In search for a blast of cool air between suffocating Florida summer car trips, I frequently end up in an air conditioned location like the Mall or Chuck E. Cheese (I can feel the headache forming already.) These places lead me and my pocketbook to part ways. This year I thought I would look for some free activities to keep me and the kiddos occupied this summer.

1) Explore a Nature Trail – For us in Florida we would have to do this early in the morning or late afternoon. However, many trails have nice shady spots to stop and have a picnic lunch. Most are free and many have an accompanying nature center where you can learn about local wildlife. It is a great opportunity to learn about the wildlife on your area, in their natural habitat. Many are available for free or for a small donations. To find one by you check out Traillink.com

2) Movies under the Stars – Many communities and municipalities throughout the Nation offer free summer movies under the stars. So get out your lawn chairs and check out the movies in open fresh air. The added benefit is that your children are not confined to a theater seat and have space to run and play while you enjoy the free movie.dollar

3) Get wet and turn on the sprinkler – Cheap, easy and  the epitome of summer fun. Join your children with a run through the sprinkler. You can also purchase a super, special sprinkler like this one for under $20.

4) Learn something new – Explore YouTube and other free online classes featuring cooking or crafting or whatever you might enjoy. Craftsy offers many great free on-line classes.

5) Take advantage of your local library – Many libraries throughout the nation offer extra programs during the summer, such as indoor movies, kids programs and arts and crafts. This summer national libraries have a fantastic reading program called “Every Story Has a Hero.” It’s not to late to take advantage of all of the cool activities associated with this years program.

5 Ways to Feel the Disney Magic at Home

mickeyIt has been about 4 months since my last trip to Disney and well, I think I’m going thru a withdrawal of sorts. With the recent price increase, I know my visits to the happiest place on earth will become less frequent. I still want to get that shiny, happy, childlike feeling that the parks create. Here’s some of the things I do between trips to keep that Disney feeling alive.

1) Always have a trip on the horizon – Even of it is a year or two away. The research and planning is part of the magic. Creating the expectations and anticipation surrounding the trip planning has an excitement all it’s own. It gives you something Disney related to look forward to. Researching itineraries, setting up fast-passes and scheduling dining reservations, You can almost envision yourself there while you do the planning of it all.

2) Listen to Disney Podcasts- I have found a few great podcasts that give you fun facts, walking tours and news from around the Disney Parks. They keep you up to date on changes and additions to programs, rides and other features. They also give reviews of can’t miss stops you should plan into your next trip. The ones I listen to are WDW Radio, and WDW Today. You can stream them from your computer, listen to them on itunes or Sticher. There might be other great podcasts our there, but these are all I have time to listen to right at the moment. They really evoke the feeling of Disney and make me think back to my time in the parks while I’m sitting at my desk at work.

3) Watch Disney Movies -Nothing really sums up the feeling of Disney World like the movies. For me they encapsulate the transportative ability that Disney has created. Maybe plan a movie marathon for you and your kids. Watch all three Toy Stories back to back, or have a Disney Princess movie extravaganza.

On a side note: A city by me is hosting a Frozen summer movie sing-a-long. I can not think of anything that would better create the feeling of Disney then a crowd of children singing “Let it go.” So you might want to see if there is something similar available where you live. If not create it with some friends.

4)Eat a Fantasy Meal – Disney is an experience for the senses, one is definitely taste. Treat yourself to a fantasy meal at a nice restaurant that might mimic those found in the parks. Or explore Pinterest for some fantastic copycat recipes of those favorite foods found there. Here are some I’m looking to test out. Dole Whip,Cob Salad from the Brown Derby, Carrot Cake Cookie from Writers Shop.

Image from examiner.com

Carrot Cake Cookie. Yummy!!! Image from examiner.com

5) Play – Remember to make time to play. Nothing makes you feel like your are back at Disney more then when you make the time to become a kid again. So get down on the floor and play with your kids. If you don’t have kids borrow some from a friend,( I’m sure they would greatly appreciate the alone time) Go to the park, play on the swings, go down the slide, (you don’t have to have a child with you it just helps to avoid the strange looks from people) Remember being kids and the things you liked to do. Use your imagination, color, create. Just leave the adult world behind for a few hours.  Tap into the carefree fun you had as a child because that is what is what Disney does best.

“Inside Out” : Finding My Joy

Sweet emotions is exactly what Disney’s new movie “Inside Out” brought out in me. I took my kids to see “Inside out” in 3D this weekend. To sum up but not give it all away, it is the story of a girl that loses her joy. ( The emotion of Joy as well as other emotions are personified in the movie.) All her childhood memories turn into sadness. As she grows up things in her life change and her happiest memories turn sad.

Through the movie all I could think about was, “Will my children lose their happy childhood memories as they grow older?” “Will I lose my sweet happy babies to melancholy, brooding teenagers devoid of emotion?” Then it happened right there in 3D the tears started to come, then faster then I could wipe them away. I was crying. An adult surrounded by children, in a kids movie and I was crying. The emotion of wanting to hold onto the joyful memories welled up in my. Like the emotion of Joy in the movie, I wanted to bag up the memories and keep them safe. Never let them go. I was crying at the idea that as my children age these memories will fade and ultimately be lost.

Life events happen, painful and tragic like 911 or the recent Charleston shootings. These event come home like the loss of a loved one or the betrayal of a friend. These things shake your foundation, cause you to lose your faith, lose your joy. They chip away at your emotions. This movie reminded me how desperately I want to shelter my children from these life events. How I want to protect them. How I want so badly to preserve their childhood joy. But these events will come despite my wants.

Like all Disney movies this one did have a happy ending but not without a lesson. That lesson… yes there is sadness and tragedy but thru this we come to a better appreciation of happiness. Many of our most cherished memories come out of a sadness. Some our happiest times are after weathering a greater storm. Thru this we appreciate and understand our feelings and ourselves. Such was the message in this movie.

I can’t stop these events from occurring or stop time and keep them babies forever under my protection. All I can do is be there when it happens. Help them grow thru these experiences into the people they are meant to be become. I can be there for them in the sadness but also cherish the joy they bring.

If you feel that you have lost your joy, do something right now to bring it back. Then hold on to it because it is precious. That’s what I intend to do. Hold on to my joy and never let it go.

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