14 July 2017
Caitlin Moran wrote in last Saturday’s Times about watching trashy television with your teenage children. It struck a chord with me as most of my friends seem to be hooked on TOWIE (The Only Way is Essex), Made in Chelsea or recently Love Island and moreover it is family viewing.
Caitlin Moran refers to this genre of TV being described by a retired colonel as “truly appalling” and as my husband is a retired colonel that is pretty accurate as to his view of the likes of Big Brother. I have to say I shared his opinion… until I became hooked too.
When I was a much younger teacher, to relate to the children, I thought I needed to be up to speed with the goings on in EastEnders and Coronation Street – I watched enough to know the characters and be able to join in conversations about the last episode; it made me seem less of a dinosaur to my pupils. The new version of these programmes is reality television and there is much to choose from.
Most of these shows are scripted and as Moran points out when referring to Love Island “all of the people your kids are going to meet are here”. Moran also says that if you don’t watch these shows with your children they slope off to watch it on their own. If they watch it with you then you can provide the wise voiceover and actually it gives rise to an opportunity to discuss with your teenagers some of the topics difficult to raise from a cold start.
There are endless arguments in these programmes about the issues of life and much of it revolves around loyalty, secrets and socialising with the group especially the in-gang. If you can bring yourself to watch with your children you can become the wise guide on the side helping distinguish between the acceptable and the totally unacceptable and there is plenty of the latter to debate.
Be warned though this viewing can become addictive…
Jane Prescott, Headmistress, Portsmouth High School