Topic of the month – Sneer & Jeer TV

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Simon Cowell


Sneer and Jeer TV – Has Simon Cowell got it wrong this time?

I love those Saturday evenings at home with the kids watching Ant and Dec and sometimes having a take-away in front of the TV but something happened on Saturday that changed all that.

“Britain’s Got Talent” was on in the sitting room and as the acts proceeded to come on and be denigrated, humiliated and mocked I felt deeply uncomfortable watching this so called “entertainment.”

Paul Watson, one of Britain’s foremost TV directors won a BAFTA award on Sunday as he was one of the first directors of reality TV. What was fascinating was that he used his acceptance speech to attack the bullying culture behind a lot of today’s reality TV.

Paul Watson’s vision back in the 1960’s was to inform and to show real life, warts and all, which was quite a break from tradition in those days but not to mock and humiliate the people he was filming.

Reality TV has become some sort of circus reminiscent of the Romans in the Coliseum baying for blood or like the humiliation suffered by John Merrick portrayed in “The Elephant Man” by John Hurt.

This sort of programme laughs at and not with its participants and encourages the audience to ridicule, jeer and belittle the contestants showing them no respect or any dignity.

Just why people want to have their 15 minutes of “fame” regardless of the cost to their own personal self esteem is to me rather strange and beyond my comprehension but I am not judging them as my main point here as a Mum of two teenage kids myself, and a parent coach, is:

  • What are we teaching our kids here?
  • What sort of example are we setting them? That it’s OK to mock and bully people weaker and more vulnerable than ourselves?
  • Is laughing at and ridiculing other people acceptable and fun?

Watching the programme didn’t enrich me as I felt shabby and guilty. While I may not be too popular over the next few Saturdays in my house by not allowing my kids to watch it, I hope I’m setting them an example of compassion and dignity and teaching them to respect the dignity of others. And no, I’m not a kill joy as I love to laugh and have fun dancing round the kitchen table to Madonna’s new “4 Minutes” using the pepper mill as a mike but I just want to choose to be a different role model for my own kids.

Knowing what’s important to you, what you believe in and what you stand for helps you be clear about your values so that you can easily pass them on to your kids in your words, actions and behaviour.

So grab a cup of coffee, pen and paper and ask yourself:

  • What are my values? Write out all the things that are important to you like, telling the truth, being kind, working hard, eating healthily, doing your best, having determination, being reliable or being patient – whatever it is for you
  • Put them in order of importance to you.
  • Ask yourself how you live these values at the moment and how are you passing those values on to your kids? What are they picking up from you?
  • You might discover things you might like to change so don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty. Just make a decision to make some small changes this week and tweak some of them.

Being clear about your values makes parenting a lot easier because you know what you want to pass on to your family and you know where you are going in the bigger picture. So have fun discovering and exploring what you stand for and what your priorities are. Don’t be afraid to make a stand in some small way for the things you believe to be important.


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