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Try The P-Chip
When I was growing up, we didn't have the V-Chip, just the P-Chip -- parents who actually parented, instead of leaving the job to the government. Kerry Howley writes in Reason of the FCC alternative to the parenting thing:

Consider the V-Chip, the blocking device that Congress demanded be installed in every new TV larger than 13 inches. Even more beguiling than the little-known on/off switch, this control module appears well beyond the understanding of most child-owning Americans. The report warns us that activating a V-Chip is a “multi-step” process. Even worse, parents don’t even seem to know that their televisions contain these devices. Thirty nine percent of parents who own V-Chips apparently think they don’t. And blocking technology, the report helpfully explains, “does not ensure that children are prevented from viewing violent programming unless it is activated.”

When it comes to the TV ratings system, parents don’t fare much better. “Only 24 percent of parents of young children,” explains the report, “could name any of the ratings that would apply to programming appropriate for children that age.” In 2001, 14 percent of parents said they’d never heard of the TV ratings system; today, 20 percent say they’ve never heard of it. Twelve percent of parents knew that the rating FV stands for “fantasy violence”; eight percent told researchers that it meant “family viewing.”

...There is another, more Occam-friendly explanation for parents' ignorance of ratings and chips, but it is in no one’s interest to suggest that parents aren’t particularly concerned about the effects of Extreme Makeover or CSI. Free speech groups who promote education and voluntary parental controls are invested in parental competence. Government officials who want to “help” parents by obviating the need for parental discretion must argue that their help is wanted. Both sides of the debate have adopted the rhetoric of parental empowerment, and they’re both faced with a majority of parents who choose not to use the tools they’re forced to buy. And so censorship advocates argue that parents are the true children, in want of the protection they’re simply unable to provide.

It’s not that parents don’t think media violence is benign in the abstract; when polled, they tend to express concern about its effects. It just doesn’t seem to be their kids at issue. A similar dynamic seems to be at work in video game purchases. According to a recent Federal Trade Commission report (pdf), 90 percent of parents are aware of the game ratings system, and two thirds of parents always or usually agree with its determinations. Yet 40 percent of parents who know system report that they let their kids play games deemed Mature; nearly a quarter of kids named an M-rated game as a favorite.

Parents, adrift illiterates that they are, probably haven’t perused many studies on media violence and child aggression, nor many meta-analyses assessing the state of that research. But perhaps they’ve already concluded, through the field experiment that is parenting, what skeptical researchers have long held: The link between televised violence and a violent society is extremely tenuous. It’s a fact even the report’s authors seem to have gathered, given their tepid description of the link. “We agree with the views of the Surgeon General and find that, on balance, research provides strong evidence that exposure to violence in the media can increase aggressive behavior in children, at least in the short term.”

Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason, writes in a piece originally published in the LA Times of the FCC's real goal, as stated by FCC commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate:

The ultimate goal of the report, she argues, is not simply to empower parents who worry about what's on TV in their house but to change "the media landscape outside our homes" (emphasis hers) and to increase "the amount of family-friendly, uplifting and nonviolent programming being produced."

Hey, lady, ever heard of the free market? Companies produce stuff because there are customers to buy it. We already have "public TV" that we're all forced to pay for with our taxes (I'm not anti-PBS and NPR -- I just think they should not be taxpayer funded). I enjoy watching violent, sexy TV like CSI and 24 (although this season of 24 gives new meaning to the term "straining credulity"). If some parent is letting their kid stay up to watch Grissom on Vegas CSI find a taxidermied severed head -- perhaps the solution is, I dunno, suggesting they take parenting classes, not taking away (or at least limiting) my TV?

Posted by aalkon at May 5, 2007 10:03 AM


My problem with the V Chip is not that it exists but that it was such a poor (and top-down) solution. The V Chip proposes one and only one rating per show and it's what, a gov't mandated rating rated by the industry itself?

What the V Chip + phone line or internet could have done was allow a parent to subscribe to the ratings service (s) of their choice be that Focus on the Family or the local PTA or the ACLU or KISS and allow those rating services to thumbs up/thumbs down the tv show. That may have led to lots of zombie kids getting only focus on the family approved programming, but my kids could get the programming that my favorite ratings service would offer, and it would actually foster a (good?) market in these sorts of ratings services.

(I also suspect the manufacturers made it hard to program and hidden for a reason.)

Posted by: jerry at May 5, 2007 8:09 AM

What parents can do is...actually parent. Figure out what shows are appropriate for their kids and restrict them to those shows. That said, the connection between violent programming and violent action doesn't seem to be exactly ironclad.

My experience as a child: We were only allowed to watch The Wonderful World Of Disney on Sunday night. The rest of the time, I read books. My neighbors' kids are only allowed to watch videos their mother buys or rents then. Their little boy is extremely smart and interesting (and I don't say this about many kids!), knows the names of all the dinosaurs, and told me all about the sinking of the Lusitania...when he was five.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 5, 2007 9:15 AM

Amy, I am many children have you raised. What I love is how people who don't have children opine about how children should be raised. What is ever more fascinating is when these people actually have children and they realise that child-rearing is an art and science and that there are no universal rules. To suggest the idea of parenting school is prepostorous. You can shelter your children from violence and sex display on TV, movies and videogames, but there is such a proliferation of media today that you can be able to filter everthing unless you move to the Amish country.

I know that you take this view from your less government, free-market stance, but why don't you experience raising children for 15 years and then maybe you might have a more informed opion.

Posted by: Samantha at May 5, 2007 10:30 AM

Amy - right on. If parents want to be incompetent, I don't see why I should be inconvenienced to keep their children from harm.

Samantha - One does not need to have raised children to know that the vast majority of parents today are utter incompetents. The things I see children do today are things that would have had me confined to my room for a week when I was a child. Parents do not discipline their children, I suspect in large part due to fear of government interference.

And as to the canard about media influencing children - if the parents properly taught children the difference between reality and fantasy (a lesson many of them seem to have learned on their own anyhow) then we wouldn't have this discussion. If parents weren't so interested in being their children's "best friend" then we really wouldn't have to have this discussion.

And if the influence of media and video games is so pervasive, how come there aren't millions of people getting pulled out of their cars and run over by carjackers with baseball bats (which is my favorite thing to do in Grand Theft Auto).

Media only influences the willing. The problem is that most people are willingly soft in the brain box.

And then they demand that I be denied mental stimulation that I can handle because they cannot, and they fear that which they cannot understand.

I am tired of being inconvenienced to keep the shallow end of the gene pool well stocked.

Posted by: brian at May 5, 2007 10:59 AM

Samantha, the standard that one must have shat out and raised a couple of kids to be able to weigh in on what good parenting is is just ridiculous -- and is commonly tossed out, I suspect, by people who regret the job they did with their own spawn.

I understand what good parenting is -- giving children boundaries, loving them enough to say no, putting their needs before yours, etc...and because I'm selfish, self-centered, impatient, and not interested in giving my life over to child-farm, I don't have any. I know very well how to deal with kids, and have six in my life I care deeply about. I got an e-mail (that made my day) from one of them today -- a very gifted kid I'm trying help learn more self-discipline. He wrote:

I also love the letter you sent. If only more adults could interact with teens like you do it would make everything so much more interesting.

As for my own experience as a child, I was raised by parents I sometimes describe as loving fascists. That was a good thing. The discipline they instilled in me is what gets me out at 7am every day to write and pay my taxes and my bills on time.

Furthermore, I would say that a better approach than sheltering kids is exposing them to a full range of life on the planet and discussing it with them, and teaching them to think for themselves. Regardless, I don't want to be parented by the government in lieu of other people parenting the children they've chosen to extrude.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 5, 2007 11:10 AM

"Amy, I am many children have you raised. What I love is how people who don't have children opine about how children should be raised."

What I love is how people who have children think it confers upon them a Ph.D. in child development.

What I love even more are those who are quick to tell you that raising children is a "job," but assume that you have to have kids of your own to recognize when a job isn't being done well.

By that standard, parents have no cause to gripe about everything from the state of their kids' schools to the war in Iraq. You haven't been a school superintendent or the commander in chief; how could you possibly understand or criticize?

Posted by: Kevin at May 5, 2007 11:16 AM

What I love is how people who have children think it confers upon them a Ph.D. in child development.

Hah! Great point, Kevin.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 5, 2007 11:27 AM

Another note about my e-mail from my young friend, what parents sometimes fail to do with kids is to explain WHY they're being told something is a wise thing to do. By this, I don't mean to suggest you should negotiate with your four-year-old instead of telling them what to do. But, it's important to tell kids, for example, what doing their homework diligently will get them...why it's show them that they're doing it for themselves, not just to get a grade or make their mom stop nagging them. And also to help them relax if they get a bad grade or fuck up - and forgive themselves and just try to do better (be truer to themselves in the way they do the work, for example) the next time.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 5, 2007 11:33 AM

Why all the anger and hating on this site?

Posted by: Lucas at May 5, 2007 12:12 PM

Uh, what exactly do you take issue with, Lucas?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 5, 2007 12:15 PM

Also, the excuse parents use of the constant exposure of sex and violence found in the contemporary world is a cop out.

The problem is this concept of Institutionalized Parenting with the government acting as the ultimate mother and father figures. The actual parents throwing their responsibilities into the domain of the government for the sake of everyone's children. What is the excuse they use? They are overwhelmed. How can anyone be overwhelmed with our modern everyday conveniences? The problem with contemporary parents is the lack of personal responsibility, time management and a real appreciation for what you have in life.

Try living overseas in a nation where the lack of modernity isn't a choice. Notice how parents in those nations raise their kids. You would be surprise how these kids are intelligent, possess a high regard for themselves, their families and their futures. Even the ones who have to prostitute themselves to help feed their families at the ages of 11, 12 or 13. That's if they have parents.

Then tell me your real reasons for being overwhelmed with raising your kids.

Posted by: Joe at May 5, 2007 1:41 PM

"You would be surprise how these kids are intelligent, possess a high regard for themselves, their families and their futures. Even the ones who have to prostitute themselves to help feed their families at the ages of 11, 12 or 13..."

Excuse me, Joe?

I am supposed to wreathe my pampered, first world face in approval at foreign pre-teens turning tricks for tiffin?

You know, because it's better than letting my kids watch so much crap on the telly?

Did you overdo the sun overseas?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 5, 2007 2:29 PM

Right on Jody.

Posted by: Anders at May 5, 2007 3:08 PM

What parents can do is...actually parent. Figure out what shows are appropriate for their kids and restrict them to those shows.

I agree completely. But I also think it's reasonable to have shows be identifiable with a hash code, and subscribe to services of MY choice that could say, this show is reasonable, this show is not.

I don't see how these mutually conflict at all. They would seem to be complementary and even market driven.

Posted by: jerry at May 5, 2007 3:29 PM

This rating system, should one exist, should be paid for by the parents who use it, not with our tax dollars.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 5, 2007 3:32 PM

You probably don't think that parents should ONLY bake their own bread for their kids out of flour, water, and yeast. Or write, and publish their own books. Or never read reviews about the books or movies they let their kids read or watch.

So why should parents not be able to use services of their choosing that can help them determine and regulate which shows their kids can watch?

Posted by: jerry at May 5, 2007 3:41 PM

This rating system, should one exist, should be paid for by the parents who use it, not with our tax dollars.

Sorry, didn't click refresh. Anyway, absolutely!

Posted by: jerry at May 5, 2007 3:42 PM


Parental instincts overriding the intellect today? Ever heard of perspective? Comparisons? A comparison that American parents and kids are so tormented with so many problems compared to parents and kids around the world. I’ll admit to being guilty of vagueness in my post. Sometimes I do it on purpose. Old habit. Being vague in some parts of the world can literally save your life.

Personally, I was surprised on how optimistic the trick turning kids were during our brief chats after I refused their offers of sex. Even though signs of PTSD were beginning show in their conversations, body language and distinct patterns of self mutilation on their forearms and ankle areas. What social worker will be assigned to them? Free prescriptions meds and health care services? Any jail time for the wealthy western pedophile sex tourists? Or does the safe distance of being here and it happening over there make all the difference in the world?

So what are the problems pressing parents today? Oh yeah, now I remember. The mind tends to go when I’ve been out in the sun too long.

The pettiness of the complaints of Western parents on being overwhelmed that coincides with their lack of personal responsibility. Can anyone explain on why they cannot make the connection? Is it the lack of sleep? Sex? Too much passive aggressive anger patterns towards their respective spouses over trivial issues? Does it take a great effort to schedule all those planned sporting events and play dates? Endless recitals? I’ll admit to being ignorant of parental duties. I do hear plenty from co-workers, family members, neighbors with their endless small talk on problems that contain solutions within their own grasp.

This assumption that if an adult can pass a child through a birth canal somehow attains special status and deserves the undivided attention of lawmakers and people is ridiculous. There are far more pressing concerns instead of the fear of little Dakota or Austin may become disturbed if they watched some graphic subject matter on the TV. Unca Sammy didn’t need to pressure the private sector installing V-chips or establishing rating system. There is a little button located on the corner of the remote control labeled OFF. Don't panic if the button says POWER, instead of OFF. It means the same thing. Remotes can be a bit too sophisticated for some people.

Posted by: Joe at May 5, 2007 7:20 PM

"There are far more pressing concerns instead of the fear of little Dakota or Austin may become disturbed if they watched some graphic subject matter on the TV."

Well, of course, Joe!

But what on earth are you doing making these comparisons?

You give us your humble admiration for kiddies managing to survive gross exploitation by western sex tourists versus risibly incompetent parental TV control in the first world?

Yes, we are overwhelmed with comparatively trivial fears about our kids in the west. Oh how we have the luxury to foolishly fret!

I could point mutely to the lovely Dickens caricature Mrs Jellaby in Bleak House - the mother-of-many who ignored her own wild brats in favor of campaigns about deprivations in Africa.

Or I could suggest, with respect, that you are the one exploiting child prostitutes overseas - by chucking them into a conversation about Western parents and their TV concerns.

(I'm not sure I've even seen Bono act quite such a morally impeccable bore.)

I know you're not a parent, Joe.

But I'm pissed off enough to tell you a secret.

Sometimes those of us who are in the thick of parenting listen to the "endless small talk" of those who are not - and are similarly cheesed off.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 6, 2007 4:48 AM

Parent here. Responsible, tax-paying, bill-paying, working-full-time-in-addition-to-being-a-parent parent. Teaching my kids the same as best as I can. Irrepsonsible ex-husband sees his kids once a week, on Sunday afternoons for 6 hours (if he shows up on time). His parents are still paying his rent, giving him an allowance (out of which I get my whopping $69/week child support), and providing him with vehicles. My daughters do their homework (both usually make second honors or better), do their chores, and are generally good kids. I don't worry about what they watch on TV because they usually don't watch much. Some Cartoons. Some Nickelodeon. Some Disney. And movies that we choose together. We watch a lot of nature specials together, and the news while we're preparing dinner together. They ask questions, I answer as best as I can. What I don't understand is why other parents can't do this. I'm not overwhelmed by anything. The girls go to school, come home, do their homework, their chores, one plays piano, the other has dance class, and they both have archery lessons on Saturday. The older one, by her own definition, is a "nerd". The younger one (as described by her 2nd grade teacher) is a "dreamer and a poet". I work full time, but still make their breakfast and lunches, go to work, come home, supervise homework, do dinner, the whole bit. Parents who over-schedule their kids need to knock it off and be parents, not farm their kids out to other people to do it for them!

Posted by: Flynne at May 6, 2007 12:23 PM

My sympathies about the ex, Flynne, but I hope you won't mind me asking: How did you end up with a guy like this, and then end up having, not just a kid, but kids, with him?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 6, 2007 12:29 PM

Sometimes those of us who are in the thick of parenting listen to the "endless small talk" of those who are not - and are similarly cheesed off.

What person who doesn't have kids talks "endless"ly about them? Or even gives them much thought until they're breaking the sound barrier in our vicinity or until somebody's taking away stuff from us "for the children"?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 6, 2007 12:30 PM

"What person who doesn't have kids talks "endless"ly about them? "

I didn't say their subject was kids, Amy!

I was simply muttering that bum-aching small talk is not confined to parents.

Hobbyists and martyrs to office politics, chiropractors, Australians doing the Big Global Trot, newly weds, people who are moving house or decorating, evangelical vegans, bankers, tennis professionals, people obsessed with single room supplements...

We are all sodding boring when we are only fixated on what interests us.

And almost everyone can be put in their place by Joe's de haut en bas knuckle-rap that there are far more pressing concerns in the world, especially when it's followed by a swift lecture about the doughty spirit of child prostitutes.

But what the hell the latter has to do with the private sector and V chips - well, I leave Joe to further work out his strained series of connections.

(No time here - "The Sopranos" is on shortly.)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 6, 2007 3:09 PM

The whole argument is false. the V-chip and the ratings system are so worthless that it is not worth my time to 1) figure out how to program it and 2) study up on the ratings systems. Thus many parents do not bother learning about the system. Instead most parents I know will either watch the show with their child or preview first. If the show is ok we will let them watch it, if not we won't. I mean how much simpler can it get? Personally I also will explain things to my child that he may not understand. I am more worried about shows that try to "brainwash" my child. Be it how women are treated in Tv land, the effort to stop young children from thinking or the effort to get kids to trust everyone and everything from all cultures even when alot of these different thoughts can do major harm to a child. This is 10 times or 100 times more important than how many times my child sees a "fake death" or "fake blood" etc. So since the V-chip and ratings can not help me in the war for my child's thought process. I do not use it and do not care to learn how to use it. Waste of time. IMO

Posted by: unseen at May 7, 2007 10:15 AM

"My sympathies about the ex, Flynne, but I hope you won't mind me asking: How did you end up with a guy like this, and then end up having, not just a kid, but kids, with him?"

Thanks, Amy. When the ex and I first got together, he and I worked for the same computer company. I sold 'em, he built 'em. He's younger than me, but I thought he was good boyfriend material. And for a while, he was. Until I got pregnant. Which was an honest accident. He wanted me to abort, I told him to kiss my ass. We broke up, I absolved him of any responsibility. This was before I found out his parents had money and he had a child from a previous liasion.

Fast forward to: I had the baby, he found out from a mutual friend's girlfriend, called and asked to see the baby, so I said o.k. (First mistake) He walked in the door and handed me $400. I thought "o.k., he wants to do the right thing." We got married at his insistance. In hindsight, now that I've thought about it, when he said he thought we should get married because I'd make a "great mom", I didn't know he meant for him! His father accused me of "setting [the ex} up", and course I denied it. I thought I had to give him a chance to prove he could be a father. He failed miserably. I worked full time, as well as took care of the house, the baby, etc. In fact, my mom used to watch the baby while I worked, and the ex slept until noon, before he went to his part-time job at a photo lab. He used to rag at me about not having a full time job with health benefits (I was temping, but it was full time and paid the bills), and I told him that was his department. When I found out I was pregnant with the 2nd child, I asked him where he saw us 5 years from then. (We were living in a trailer park at the time.) He said "Oh we'll be here for the next 15 years, or until my parents die and we get the house in Pine Orchard (an upscale section of the town we lived in)." And the big red flag went up, and I called my mom and told her I was packing and going to a shelter, and she said "Over my dead body, you're coming home."

So I took my daughter and my pregnant self and went to my parents' house, had the baby, went back to work (my parents are both retired and offered to watch the girls for me, so I had it pretty easy, as far as day care went) when the younger one was 3 months old, and that was that. I moved out of my parents' house just before the younest turned a year old, and have had my own place ever since. I put both the girls in preschool, and my parents watched them after school until the older one was in 7th grade. We just made it work. We had to. When the ex and I divorced, I was awarded a whopping $69 a week for child support because I was working and he was not. Been that way ever since. He lives off his parents and they let him!

We're going back to court next week because he is so irresponsible as to let himself get "low" (he's diabetic) in front of the girls and the older one had to call the paramedics a few weeks ago because he was totally incoherent and couldn't drive them home from visitation. I want supervised visitation from now on and I don't want my girls in a car with him driving because god forbid he have a diabetic episode behind the wheel with them in the car!

Posted by: Flynne at May 8, 2007 6:35 AM

Gee, Flynne, maybe you should get down off of that high horse a little bit. Wondering why people might get overwhelmed parenting? At least you admitted you were lucky in the day care department. Please remember that not all folks have access to a good day care center, much less to willing, able, and trustworthy grandparents (free and available at the hours you need them). Some would consider that 'farming the kids out' to use your own terminology.

You're probably doing a great job, and I am impressed. But I get mighty pissed off at all the people who think their kids are perfect and then go, 'Why can't everyone else do it?'. Every child, every parent, every family is different. Different pasts, different problems, different abilities, different environments and on and on.

That said, there are a lot of parents out there, who can't be bothered to check what their kids are watching. Really little tykes shouldn't be in front of the set at all, then comes watching kids' shows with them, later things get more fuzzy until they can stay home alone, then they do what they want anyway and can probably figure out a way around the chip. An aquaintance came home to find one of his boys fiddling around in the still plugged in TV with a screwdriver. Yes, he was trying to get the chip out. So, chips are a potential hazard...think of the children!

Oh, by the way, in case you think I was going all sour grapes and child raising; I think my kids are pretty darn perfect too.

Posted by: ohwell at May 9, 2007 3:15 AM

Terrific points all, ohwell.

I think Flynne did cheerfully break one of the cardinal rule of parents: don't assume your own experience is the norm!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 9, 2007 4:28 AM

Ohwell, Jody, please believe me when I tell you I'm not on a high horse. I went through some pretty crazy shit along the way, I got into an abusive relationship with someone from my past, which in turn caused my mom to call DCF (Department of Families and Children) on me, because she was afraid for the girls. Turns out that the abusive shit tried to molest one of them. Also turns out he has severe Borderline Personality Disorder, which was only exacerbated by his excessive drinking! He hid it from me pretty well at first, but I had to face reality when I started finding empty vodka bottles hidden in the basement. It was a real eye-opener! So, I got the cops involved and I tossed his ass out and started counseling sessions for me and the girls, before it was court-ordered. The court also appointed a lawyer for the children, and their father took me back to court, not to challenge me for custody, but to get his visitation extended by one huge hour! Things got back on track with us (me and the girls) and have stayed that way.

Yes, I am extremely lucky that I had/have my parents, and I am extremely lucky that things have worked out the way they have, but we are by no means perfect! I never meant to imply that. Both the girls have their moments (as do I) where we get to the point of having to walk away before the shouting gets way out of hand! They get their priviledges taken away when chores aren't done or they misbehave (which isn't too often, thankfully!), but the road wasn't paved all the way to this point, there were some serious bumps. The man I'm with now it truly that, he has been a major stabilizing force in all of our lives, and I am truly grateful. We're looking into buying a house together this year.

Posted by: Flynne at May 9, 2007 5:59 AM

Meant to say the man I am with now IS truly that!

Posted by: Flynne at May 9, 2007 6:02 AM


I think you've been extremely candid (and I know that being a parent is never bloody easy).

Perhaps what I was reacting to (and ohwell, too) was your original unambiguous-sounding statement: "What I don't understand is why other parents can't do this. I'm not overwhelmed by anything."

Most of us turn stroppy and defensive when we run our tired eyes over such affirmations!

(Ps: my kids are perfect too..yeah, right:))

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 9, 2007 6:39 AM

Gee, Flynne, we've gotten somewhat off-topic. Like I said, you're probably doing a fine job and deserve a hug pat on the back. I started seeing you up on that horse when you wrote "What I don't understand is why other parents can't do this. I'm not overwhelmed by anything." Then came a list of exemplary parenting and child wonderfulness. Since you tell me you're not up on a tall nag, I'll just have to accept that.

Posted by: ohwell at May 9, 2007 6:57 AM

Thanks, Jody.

I guess I'm just baffled by some parents I see that have their children enrolled in every conceivable after school activity there is, and then they complain that they don't have enough time to do everything! I let the girls decide what activities they want to get involved with, and if it's too many, I set limits. This ain't rocket science! Another thing that I thnk is weird: I've given birthday parties for my daughters, with a set number of kids on the list, only to have a parent drop off both (and once, all 4 of their kids!) of their kids at my house, or the party venue, and then take off, without even leaving me a cell phone number to get in touch with them! Goddess forbid something happen to one of their kids, how would I get in touch with them? And once, the older daughter invited a friend over for a Friday afternoon, and she arrived with a backpack full of clothes, expecting to stay the weekend! The child's mother never even bothered to come in and even meet with me! When I told the girl she couldn't stay all weekend, that we had other plans, she called her mother to tell her and I heard the mother yelling at the poor girl about how she ruined her (the mother's!) weekend. I just don't understand the mentality (or lack thereof) behind that way of thinking. I want to know who my kids are with, where they are, what they're doing! Am I the one who's wrong here? I don't think so.

Posted by: Flynne at May 9, 2007 7:01 AM

Oops, Jody wrote in while I was typing, saying pretty much the same thing, and nicer too.

Hey, I only said that I think my kids are pretty darn perfect, plenty of leeway, opinion is one about 'the kids are all right'?Showing my age there.

Posted by: ohwell at May 9, 2007 7:12 AM


I'm a bit of a mellowed-out bitch these days - therefore...

...the shouting mother who tried to dump her bulging-backpack kid on you for the weekend might have been intending 48 hours of pot 'n sex with a stream of anonymous studs.

Or she might have guiltily thought you were the best mother she knew, and ineptly hoped you'd mind her daughter while she crammed for a PhD in immunology all weekend.

Unless women stop making the worst possible assumptions about the motivations of other women, we'll never get anywhere.

(And that's taken me to the limit of my mellowness. The bitch is starting to stir!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 9, 2007 7:19 AM

But Jody, here's my point - I hadn't met the girl's mother, at all! I didn't know what her deal was; if she had asked if I could take the girl for the weekend because she had something planned, that would have been one thing, but to just dump her and not even let me know a phone number? That's kind of suspect, no? And rather irresponsible too, which comes back to whole P-Chip/V-Chip thing. Responsibility. I'm not assuming the worst, but would it have killed the woman to ask me herself if I could mind her daughter for the weekend?

Ohwell, no harm. My kids are alright, too. (And the Who put on one hell of a show! Yes, I'm close to that age as well. No regrets!)

Posted by: Flynne at May 9, 2007 7:32 AM

You raise some good points in your post. Here are some facts that you might find interesting. An overwhelming majority of Americans (91%) object to government deciding what they are able to watch on television. When activists talk about protecting children instead of parents—here’s what they’re talking about: sixty-eight percent of the country’s 110 million television-viewing households do not include children under age 18 and households with children have different challenges to face due to the varying ages of kids within each family. Currently, there are 11 million households with children age 6-11, 15 million households with children age 0-5 and 9 million households with children 12-17.

TV has come a long way from the days of three channels and rabbit ears antennas. Today’s TV audiences are putting to use broadband, DVRs, TV video on demand, iPods and cell phones to greatly expand their choices about what, when, where and how to watch TV. New technology means consumers have more selection than ever and more control than ever over what they see on TV. We all have more choices and parents have more tools to ensure their kids only see what’s right for them. Let’s let parents decide—not government, for all of us.

There is more information to be found at

Posted by: Emily at May 11, 2007 12:14 PM

Thanks, Emily...really appreciate you posting that.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 12:21 PM

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