Getting more difficult to watch television with kids

Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

Do you remember the days when you could flip on a television show to watch with your family and not worry about the characters cussing or begin doing something sexually charged on the program?
Unfortunately, for the most part, those days are over.
Gone is the era of Desi and Lucy sleeping in opposite beds. In are the days where anyone and everyone are sleeping with one another and showing off a lot of skin.
Try watching a football game with your kids. Praise God for DVR that I can pause the beer commercial to keep my children from seeing a half-naked woman on the screen or from watching some scary movie trailer. Unfortunately, I’m usually not quick enough.
Gone are the days where the words we consider to be curse words are still curse words. These days, the alternate word for “bottom” or “butt” is as common as the word “the” in many scripted sentences.
Try watching a supposed family-friendly show like “America’s Got Talent” and out of nowhere there are sexual innuendos and cuss words being said. They happen so quick that they are said and my kids hear it.
We use to have programs like the Cosby Show, where a family could watch it together and not think twice about the content of the programming.
When’s the last time you watched a “family sitcom” with your children? Likely, it’s been a while.  There is no TGIF Friday night family shows on ABC anymore.
So many parents who take the responsibility seriously of what they should and should not let their kids watch are having more and more trouble controlling what is being viewed in their homes.
Many parents like me might wonder how did things get so bad.
Well, here’s what happened…First, there was the economic boon from the cable and satellite dish industries in the last three decades. These forms of television channels were created and were instantly deregulated. This means these channels do not have to comply with the “Obscene, Indecent, and Profane Broadcasts” rules as established by the Federal Communications Commission.
So any channel that is not part of the original core like ABC, NBC, CBS, and later FOX do not have to follow any rules. Even if the Food Network Channel wanted to air a cooking show hosted by a profane comic like Andrew Dice Clay, they truly could get away with it. There’s no rules to stop them.
So with deregulated channels doing what they want, the regulated channels like ABC, NBC, and CBS started to push the envelope as far as they could with their programming.
They did this waiting to see just how far the FCC would let them go. Unfortunately, the FCC is just another extension of our government and they aren’t doing their jobs right either.
Go to fcc.gov and see for yourself. There is a law on the books prohibiting “obscene, indecent, and profane broadcasts.”
“It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time. It is also a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours. Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the responsibility for administratively enforcing these laws. The FCC may revoke a station license, impose a monetary forfeiture or issue a warning if a station airs obscene, indecent or profane material.”
So what are those hours you ask? Well anything aired between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST are subject to indecency enforcement action.
Many of us can think of many examples we’ve seen during these hours that one could argue was a violation of law. Actually, just flip through the network television channels tonight from 6-9 p.m. and take notes.
So what is the FCC looking to do? Well, apparently they are looking to make things easy on themselves. In April of this year, the FCC announced it is considering a measure to drop the decency standards that ban explicit profanity and “non-sexual” nudity.
This would allow network television to air curse words starting with “f” and “s” while allowing programs to show frontal female nudity.
As a parent, if you think it’s challenging now, just wait until the FCC changes the game forever.
Some might call me “old-fashioned” for writing this article. It doesn’t bother me. At the end of the day, I’m responsible for how I raise my children.
As a Christian, I take that responsibility seriously.
I’m to be careful with what goes through my eyes and what my children are watching.
We need to be careful on the things we’re viewing. In Philippians 4:8, it says “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
No wonder so many families are beginning to cancel cable and satelite services. They save money and the headache of wondering what stuff they’re letting into their home. For those who are keeping their services, I strongly encourage shows like “Duck Dynasty” and “19 Kids and Counting.”
Apparently, many other families have wanted these forms of family-friendly programming. The premiere of “Duck Dynasty” this season was the most-watched non-fiction series telecast in cable TV history. You would think networks might learn from this. Families want family-friendly programming.

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