Ever since my kids were born, I have had a love/hate relationship with the television. Our family has gone from having a satellite dish with the premium service to no cable at all. When the TV rules changed a few years ago, we didn’t panic at the need to have a converter box or a flat screen. We simply streamed Netfllix through the Wii game console and watched it. There was no need for local or live television.
And I actually liked it that way. The kids seemed calmer. They took the initiative to read more, do more arts and crafts, etc.
Fast forward to this summer. I knew that I was having pretty major surgery in June and I would probably like to have a television while I was recovering. That, coupled with the fact that my parents were coming to be with me and my father watches CNN, ESPN, and the Golf Channel all day, I needed a few more options.
Since I live in the Dark Ages and don’t have a flat screen, I called my local cable company and got the least expensive plan. And it has a lot of channels. I’m not even sure how 10 years ago I needed 300 plus channels.
So with the new found exposure to television, I needed to really monitor what the kids were watching, even with the parental controls on. And while some of the shows aren’t traditionally recommended for tweens, I like their message. Here’s our list:
Catfish — Based on the movie, this MTV show explores on-line lifestyles. My kids are at an age where they glorify social media, even though they don’t have accounts. This show gives them the reminder that just because it’s on the internet, that doesn’t make it true.
Dog With a Blog — As a blogger, how could I not love this show? A blended family has an incredibly smart dog (aren’t they all) who blogs. There’s even in interactive website where kids can go to read the dog’s latest entries. Very cute and it shows that the Disney Channel honors their mom’s profession. 🙂
A.N.T. Farm — Disney did right for tweens on thiw one. The ANT Farm is a school for academic powerhouses that shows excellence is cool. We like cool things.
Real Husbands of Hollywood — You read right. This show is a parody of the Real Housewives series. The kids are able to laugh at the drama-filled behavior and recognize that a lot of reality shows are anything but real.
What Would You Do? — This ABC program challenges the kids to address ethical issues in a fun way. We have a lot of discussions about standing up for what is right related to this show.
Who Dunnit — Problem solving, interpreting clues, and teamwork are the prominent themes in this show. I kind of think those are the concepts our state testing people say the kids need to develop. This show helps those skills. They love it and so do I.
T.I. and Tiny: Family Hustle — Yep. So rapper T.I. and his wife Tiny are very committed to their family. They help the kids tap into their creative sides, they expose them to a variety of events and activities, and well…they are present. I could probably count the number of times my kids spend with their dad each year on one hand. They need to see somewhere that our way is not the right way. T.I. is there…and I respect him for that.
Modern Family — The rule in my house is that we do not judge anyone (because our own front porch needs to be swept). Sexual orientation, adoption, divorce, May-September romances are not important to us, family is. Albeit in a hilarious way, that’s the point this show makes.
Three years ago, I probably wouldn’t have endorsed half of the shows on the list, but the kids are getting older. And if I won’t provide an environment to address some of society’s sensitive issues for them, who will?