Last Updated on March 20, 2018

I recently found my 16-year-old watching TV. She was viewing a scene where a guy had plopped a teen girl onto a copier with her skirt hiked up so he could get a nice, good black-and-white of her fanny.

“What are you watching!!!???” I ever-so-tactlessly cried out.

“Relax, Mom,” lamented Lexi with a blush. “It’s a commercial and a bad one at that.”

Are you one of “those” moms who is always the lone boycotter of the newest TV fad? Turns out, you’re a good mom, and some new research proves just how much you’re protecting. (It’s more than her mind!) It’s not just the categorically “bad” television that hurts our kids. The most sensational scenarios are not what is robbing our little girls of their innocence. It’s the slow-drip of value-ingraining shows where kids dress up and go on dates, and our kids are pressed to identify with older, more mature characters and life scenarios. (I probably don’t have to mention that “Hannah Montana” has a lot of that stuff in it, do I?) For our teens, it’s teen shows like the one Lexi saw promoted in that commercial where teens are doing very adult, very x-rated stuff that rips out their innocence. It’s what culture has deemed the “norm” that probably shouldn’t be if you want your kids to live a pure life.

There is an inarguable connection between the media diet of tweens and early sexual activity in teens. (Yep, I said tweens!) Fifty-five percent of teens who were exposed to a lot of sexual material as tweens had sexual intercourse between the ages of 14 and 16 compared with six percent of teens who rarely saw sexual imagery as tweens.[i] While studies often look at television shows with content deemed appropriate for teens and adults, you have to consider how a steady diet of boyfriend-girlfriend television programs, mildly sexual music lyrics, and an occasional PG or PG-13 movie impacts a child. Doesn’t it make sense that anything we feed our daughters that says “be boy-crazy” would just put her in the cultural current of early sexualization?

Play it safe, Mom. The stakes are too high.

So, are your kids to be monks? No! TV, music, and movies aren’t all bad. Just some of it is. How do you monitor TV in your house?

[i] Victor Strasburger, M.D. “Clueless: Why Do Pediatricians Underestimate the Media’s Influence on Children and Adolescents?” Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Volume 117, Number 4, April 2006,


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  1. We are big into carefully monitoring our three kids' TV/DVD/movie viewing. The majority of our media is first filtered by reviews offered by Christian worldview sources, such as Plugged in Online. This gives me the knowledge necessary to make better choices. It also rules out a plethora of shows!

    Another way we keep things younger and more innocent is to default regularly to our youngest family member. My 11 yr old daughter and 9 yr old son know that movie night, or even DVDs checked out at the library, usually need to be those that their 6 yr old sister can watch as well. (There are exceptions we'll make, but they are just that – exceptions.) Even though it keeps them from watching plenty of "cool" shows, it helps ingrain that a family sticks together and looks out for the best of all its members!

    For my girls, I try to really restrict how many shows they watch that are mostly highlighting romance. Whether it's a tween movie for my 11 yr old or a Disney Princess flick for my 6 yr old, I just don't want their hearts and minds focused solely on romance and opposite sex relationships.

    Dannah, if you read these posts, I have LOVED reading through How to Keep the Little in Your Girl. So helpful! Thanks!

  2. Dannah, I'm definitely one of "those" moms who monitors tv shows/movies like crazy. My daughter is 9 and she does watch the Disney channel some, but I limit it. Sometimes other parents insinuate I'm overboard, but I stand my ground.

  3. Our kids are still young, but we limit our tv watching to mostly dvd's that we approve of. We don't have cable tv either. Mostly because I don't want to be watching tv when I should be doing something else. If I were to pay for it I would feel obligated to watch it to make it worth my money. Yes, we miss out during football season, but if there is something we really want to watch we have friends with cable and we visit them if they want company 🙂 After being without tv for several years the commercials are absolutely horrible now, to this mom who's sensitivity hasn't been dulled by seeing them all the time.