Upon reading the Brainpickings article on literature that has been categorized for children, but actually wasn't intended for them... I got to thinking about censorship. Who is in charge of it? How do they decide? What is the criterion based on- scientific research or religious beliefs? How do you get a job like this? The article can be found here: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/12/05/j-r-r-tolkien-on-fairy-stories/
So it got me thinking about cartoons. Lots of cartoons are marketed to children but in all actuality much of the subject matter is less than desired by many of the parents who allow their kids to watch. So I thought about my own values. What do I censor?
I talk about everything with my kids from vaginas to racism. Our discussions are refreshingly mature and I rarely sugar coat anything or water down my subject matter. I'm not sure if this method will work but so far I am confident that they see the more serious matters of life in a less joking and fanciful light.
We watch Adventure Time (Cartoon Network) and I love it. Yes all my kids are under 6 and watch this show. It's been coined as a kids show by Netflix and there is merchandise and toys available for children, but this show is NOT for kids. I would say it's maybe middle school and that is even a stretch. But I did not think anything of it until one day they were playing "Adventure Time". My 4 year old bit her sister because she was playing the role of Marceline the Vampire Queen. Now of all the characters I would choose Marceline is totally awesome... Like I would play her if I were playing imagination "Adventure Time". But my 4 year old bit her sister so the troubleshooting began.
I explained what vampires are. Why we don't ingest blood as humans. What animals actually do ingest blood as a main source of nutrition. I explained how parasitic that kind of existence is if we have a society the way it is established now. We talked about pedophiles and zombies and everything else we could.
But the most wonderful epiphany that the kids came to was that imagination is a wonderful gift. I explained that they should express it, use it, practice it. They should NEVER forget about it, especially when they get old like me.
So my verdict on censorship is that I have none. I think each parent should utilize moments that arise out of seemingly inappropriate opportunities to discuss core family values. If we hadn't watched Adventure Time we may not have had this wonderful discussion. Each parent is capable of deciphering and sifting through worldly material that they think their kids can handle and that they think they can handle explaining.
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working to make life more equitable for all people. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.