The Parents Television Council is a decent idea — in theory. A non-profit that watches the entertainment and advertising industry, monitoring what children who are exposed to TV and advertisements actually see. The problem is, the PTC loses sight of the goal of assisting parents with information and advice and, instead, play morality police.
A few examples of their most recent outrages, TV show, $%(# My Dad Says and 17-year-old Miley Cyrus writhing on a bed in black lace undies and a bra.
The group is more indignant than anything, offering only criticism but no tips on how to avoid and/or talk to kids about what they’re seeing and hearing. They didn’t like the Glee photos either. Few did, but for reasons other than pedophilia, which is how the council chose to talk about the sexy mess.
The New York Times has written a short history of the conservative group, which started in 1995, and some if its current woes. They appear to be a pretty disorganized bunch. Their once influential pull with advertisers has weakened with the recession, which is how we’ve come to look at the PTC as more of a dog yapping in the background than a fierce enemy of edgy entertainment. They’re ousted head has been investigated for extortion. And a bunch of direct mail surveys just sat on a desk, untallied, for months and months.
But the problem with basing a mission on “decency” is that whole “I know it when I see it” problem. It’s all subjective and highly vulnerable to who is funding what. The group shook a finger at Cyrus but didn’t call for advertiser boycotts or apologies for fuzzy screens. Why? Well, turns out Billy Ray Cyrus, her dad, sits on the council. Uh-oh.
In the absence of any kind of limits how corporations can advertise to my kids, keeping my kids media literate and morally upstanding falls on me. Which is fine. But since I am a generation removed from my own kids, I don’t always know who is what and why this and that are such a big deal. When I need back-up, rather than look to the Children’s Television Council, I go to Common Sense , which I find much less hysterical and very informative.
And when it comes to things like Miley Cyrus — or the Glee girls — in their underwear? We just talk about it. And giggle. Because they’re at an age where forgetting to get dressed is still kind of funny.
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Photo: YouTube via The New York Times