Something occurred to me today: I have found that when parents do not enjoy the same entertainment choices as their children or grandchildren, the default is, when claiming hold of the television, to insult the child’s choice of entertainment. What I can’t figure out is why. Is there a reason that we need to insult our children, just because we don’t appreciate something that they do? If we aren’t even the target audience, then there’s a high likelihood we wouldn’t appreciate what they’re watching.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad shows, or bad games, or bad entertainment choices; like it or hate it, when a study showed that Spongebob Squarepants shortened children’s attention spans, it warrants concern. While Spongebob may (or may not be) targeted at children, even as someone that doesn’t enjoy the show, it has a certain ability to grab attention and retain it, even against our will. Either way, it doesn’t mean that the show itself doesn’t have entertainment value; it means that some comedic devices used in it may be low-brow or its storytelling method is formatted for short intervals. Soap Operas are actually formatted in a similar manner, often having three to five minute scenes.
I think the point I’m trying to get at is that we don’t need to break our children down just because we don’t appreciate what they enjoy. I don’t particularly enjoy many of the games my son asks to play; I play them because he enjoys them and they give us time together. Even the games he tries to create on the fly and aren’t well thought out (he’s 11); I reward his attempt at creativity and at times try to help channel it by helping him establish rules. I can also tell him that I’m not interested in playing a particular game, or watching a particular show. As a parent and an adult, I have prerogative over what is on the television.
So if you find yourself insulting your child’s entertainment choices, ask yourself: why is it necessary? Is the choice bad for their health and welfare (an age inappropriate show), or is it just something you don’t appreciate?