Do your kids ever hear profanity?
Sunday night after the Ravens beat the 49ers in Super Bowl 47 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Ravens QB Joe Flacco was caught up in the excitement and said to a teammate, “This is F_ _ _ _ _ _ awesome!” That was certainly a correct use of the phrase! Flacco’s profanity was easily picked up by the nearby microphones and broadcast live during the post-game moments on the field.
The Parents Television Council, a watchdog group that monitors questionable content on television, immediately criticized CBS for allowing the f-bomb to be broadcast live during programming that included a young audience. CBS and the other networks usually have live programming in a delay during the pregame, halftime and post-game, but reportedly not immediately following the game while the teams are still on the field.
I have a problem with this – not the profanity heard live on TV, but with the condemnation of CBS for not preventing it from happening. The network did not encourage the use of profanity - the profanity was used where live microphones inadvertently picked it up.
I’m not promoting the use of profanity as much as I am recognizing the reality that ‘life happens’ and no one can shield their children from everything they deem inappropriate. If you leave your house with your children and go to the store, a movie or to a Mardi Gras parade, there is always the possibility that you and your kids will hear profanity. Parents should always be prepared to turn life’s unexpected moments into opportunities to teach their kids about appropriate behavior.
Quite often groups like The Parents Television Council draw attention to content that, otherwise, children would not pay attention to. Overly-sensitive groups and parents make issues out of things that really aren’t issues if left alone.
The controversy over the quick exposure of Janet Jackson’s breast during a Super Bowl halftime show would not have been a controversy had it not been for the outrage. Similarly, at one time, Halloween was an innocent night for kids. It was adults that gave Halloween an “evil” meaning.
Unless a child or young teen watching the Super Bowl Sunday night noticed what Joe Flacco said and commented, “Daddy/mommy, that man said a bad word,” then chances are a child wouldn’t even notice what was said. If a child calls attention to something that is inappropriate, use that moment to reinforce what is appropriate and simply explain that the man made a mistake.
Sheltering children from the realities of life is far more detrimental than your children being exposed to an occasional ‘mistake’.