I hate to admit it, but I took the bait. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. I am not alone though. In fact, along with my husband, I fall into the ranks with about 4.8 million other hypnotized people. We have gotten sucked into the train wreck that is called "Jersey Shore," a ridiculously laughable reality show.
We want to look away, but we can't. The show beckons you with Snookie's outrageous comments like, "I feel like I am a Pilgrim from the 1920s" and entices you with The Situation's six-pack abs. To Snookie's credit, she was only off by about 400 years. If there are any young kids who may be reading this, please know that the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 (NOT in the 1900s.) And please, please do not take your history lessons, or life lessons, from "Jersey Shore."
While watching the third consecutive episode of JS, I was shocked out of my zombie-like stupor when Mike "The Situation" received a surprise visit from one of the many girls he hit up during his nightly visits to the club. This girl had brought along a friend, a friend whom I would say is on the thinner side of average. According to "The Situation," this average girl was a "hippopotamus."
All I could think about was the poor, vulnerable teenagers who are already self-conscious about their weight, their looks, their clothes. Do they really need some muscle head further agitating their sensitive self-esteem? All I can think about is fast-forward to when my little girl is an impressionable teenager, and will she be influenced or think less of herself because of shows like this? Can I prohibit her from watching garbage like "Jersey Shore," and what type of shows will they have in 13 years for her generation to get lured into wasting precious time? Is there any chance we can go back to the "Brady Bunch," or that she will still enjoy "Sesame Street" instead?
As I am viewing the train wreck online (OnDemand couldn't provide me with the latest episode fast enough), I see chat room bubbles pop up with the youth of today chatting each other up, and trying to make a love connection ... or hating on one of the "Jersey Shore" characters. I almost corrected that to cast members, but after thinking about it for a minute, I think the term characters is more fitting.
Since my mind is very sporadic, I jump to the next thought in my train of random thoughts which is - how can I protect my little girl from the evolution of web-based technologies such as chat rooms, Facebook and other social media? When my generation was growing up, you may have gotten teased at school, but when that bell rang, it was over. You went home to your mom, did your homework and played with the neighborhood kids until it was dinnertime. Now, the teasing does not just stop when the school day is over. It lives on at night, and invades the home in the form of hurtful comments on Facebook, Twitter and chat rooms. How many stories have you heard about brawls, bullying and worse that have occurred because of abuse of social media? Sure I could prohibit my daughter from whatever the trend is when she is older, but can you really guard your kids 24/7? Did you obey all of the rules your parents laid down?
I still have a few years to prepare my speech for my daughter about loving herself for who she is, but I can't help but worry now about the outside influences that I cannot control. My daughter only has one youth, so I only have one little lifetime to get it right and create a self-confident young lady who can recognize what is important in life and what she should let roll off her back. What I can do for my daughter now is to turn off the TV, sign off Facebook and engage in some old-fashioned playtime with old, archaic toys like dolls and Lego blocks.