What’s OK for your kids to watch? FOX doesn’t care

I do drop my standards a little bit, and let the kids watch The Simpsons. There are some scenes that are not exactly appropriate for kids, but it’s a smart show and funny, so I let it go, maybe talk with them about it later. The biggest problem, though, is not so much with the content of The Simpsons, but the promos for other Fox shows that I absolutely do not let my kids watch, plus other ads that Fox airs during a show they know quite well that young kids are watching.
I was sitting down to watch the new episode with my boys last night, and before it started, there was a promo for Family Guy in which the mother is dressed in a dominatrix costume, holding a whip, and the weird little old man baby is strung up by wrists and ankles in his diaper. So now there’s an image of some deviant sexual behavior in the brain of my sweet little 11-year-old boy. How does this effect his mind, and his development? It made me very angry. Why can’t we watch a fun show together without an assault on my values and on my kids health? I don’t even mention the 14-year-old: He’s probably seen it and worse.
I want to protect my children from things they are not ready for, and the media world makes it so very difficult. I would never let my kids watch Family Guy. It’s a stupid and disgusting show with no redeeming value – that’s fine for adults who like stupid and disgusting.
Author Dr. Sharon Maxwell says the oversexualized media that our children are exposed to can have negative consequences for their healthy sexual development and future relationships. Read an excerpt of her book.

I filed a complaint with the FCC via the Parents Television Council website.
UPDATE May 28: I have learned that this promo was part of an ad for a new show that my local Fox subsidiary in Boston made the decision to air. I am working on a follow-up story. Also, I’m not sure she was holding a whip. I may have filled in that detail in my own imagination after viewing this image on the screen for a few seconds. My, my, how the mind works.

The show seems to fall within the range of “obscene, indecent and profane” shows that the FCC is allowed to restrict, and yet the FCC doesn’t seem to take any action. Why is that? The agency’s website does mention that it strives to respond to complaints within 9 months. So programmers continue to push the envelope while the FCC plays catch-up on concerns from last year’s shows.


  1. I totally agree. Commercials and billboards are horrendous. If I choose to let my children watch Glee, with ME, so that we can discuss the show, that's one thing. But when we are walking through the mall and my 7 year old covers his eyes because the nearly naked women embarrass him on the Victoria's Secrets ad? That's just wrong. I suggest getting a dvr with your satellite program. It's worth EVERY penny to be able to skip past the commercials. We love ours.

  2. I like Tracey's solution. Record the programs you're OK with and skip over any commercials you find objectionable. OR… use those commercials in the context of a teachable moment (with the pause and skip buttons under YOUR control). Talk to your kids about why the content of the ads doesn't match with your family's values and what you, as their mom, want them to learn. This helps kids build a set of values based on YOUR parenting objectives not one that's dictated by a multi-billion dollar corporation that couldn't care less about how your kids grow up. Here's a great podcast interview with Diane E. Levin, author of "So Sexy, So Soon! The sexualization of childhood and how parent can protect their kids" Have a listen! http://bit.ly/86kU8h

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