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The Real World- How Old Should Kids be to watch?

those of you who are parents, how do you handle stuff like this?

Wed. May 30, 3:13pm

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if you child is too young to watch CSI-SVU, then your child is too young for The Real World. lots of drinking, casual sex, cheating on partners, smoking, domestic violence issues, racially motivated hatred. irresponsible behaviour and charged language. at least in the 2 episodes i've had the misfortune of watching.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 3:24 PM

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Is this mindlessness beneficial for anyone, regardless of age, to be watching?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 3:39 PM

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this should be a show, like many others, that you have to pay to watch. it shouldn't even be accessable for free. by having it out there, free, in reruns ad finitum, it is comparable to promoting this sort of dangerous behaviour. much like the general media tend to glorify lost young men & women who are struggling, parentless, while drinking underage and engaging in 'casual' sexual encounters, all the while being photographed doing drugs and claiming that the stories we keep hearing about their partying ways are merely rumors. i'm no june cleaver, but it would be refreshing if she moved back to hollywood.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 3:50 PM

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I disagree. I think the real world is total trash. I was in Austin when they were filming and no one was happy they were in town. I wouldn't let my kid watch Real World until she is 18. Now, CSI I do like. She will watch it with me, there is violence, but it explains things. Real world is just a bunch of dumb college kids. My daughter doesn't watch Law and Order - SVU, I think it's still a little rough.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 4:05 PM

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what do you disagree with? everyone has said that the real world is b/s.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 4:10 PM

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Not a parent, but I think it would be more effective to watch it with him/her and point out how stupid all of the people are, how they're wasting their lives, have no jobs, after the show end up waitressing in LA, etc. Just strictly forbidding them to watch will make them want to watch it more.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 4:22 PM

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i'm a parent and i can tell you from experience that laying down ground rules for what is and what is not acceptable behaviour in my house, while definitely forbidding certain words and ways of expression, works, at least for my family. children need to be taught that rules (laws) exist and are in place by parents (elected lawmakers) for the benefit of and the protection of the family (society). if they feel a need to question these rules, i give them an ear and explain more fully why the rules are in place. sometimes, the rules change, but I AM THE ONE WHO CHANGES THEM after a family conference. personally, i think it's a great lesson to learn that one need not experience everything first hand to know it's dangerous or otherwise just not a good idea.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 4:34 PM

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at least 16 !!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 4:50 PM

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My kids are still young, 9, 8, 3, 1 but my 8 year old son is already very interested in watching bad TV and telling gross jokes etc. I think I would be kidding myself if I thought I could keep him from watching shows like Real World. I think prohibiting just provokes their curiosity even more. I guess I would prefer to watch with him and talk about things as we see them. Kids now are bombarded by messages and access to bad things. The only way I really feel I can help is to keep talking about what they see and hear and express my opinions about things. Hopefully in time the message will sink in and they will make good choices.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 4:57 PM

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As a recent college graduate, and a fairly promiscuous and adventurous one at that, I think the Real World portrays people as "worse" than they actually are, and they constantly encourage "bad" behavior, and show it to look cool.

That being said, I enjoy the show, because of the interpersonal relationships and drama that ensue during the episodes, and because it's "funny" to make fun of the people for how trashy they make themselves appear. (Yes, maybe I am a bad person for this.)

However, I never saw the show before I was in college, and I don't think I could identify with the context properly if I had seen it any younger. I wouldn't have had the experience to know that that's not really how most people act when they are out on their own. Sure, it's kinda sorta how some people act, but almost no one is put in the situation where they have unlimited alcohol and no responsibility for 5 months. Even college is not quite like that - sort of, but not quite.

Anyway, unless you explain the context to the child, or they have older siblings in college who they are visiting (and, at this point, I assume they are at least in high school), I wouldn't recommend the show.

That being said, when I was about 10, I wasn't allowed to watch Beverly Hills 90210, and I used to sneak around to watch it anyway, and my parents were very strict! If your kid is determined to watch, find out why. If it's so that he/she can participate in conversations about the show with his/her peers in the cafeteria at school, maybe you should sit down and watch the show with him/her, and try to start a dialogue during the show about what the kid thinks of the show. It may give you more insight into how things are in his/her group of friends too, and you may be surprised by what you find out!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 5:23 PM

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I became an avid fan of the show when I was 12. (I'm not 21, and still watch.) Many of the things I snuck to watch when I was younger which were bad weren't bad to me at the time and didn't give me bad ideas or anything like that because I simply wasn't old enough to have to knowledge base to process them through. As a parent I can definitely see where you'd be concerned, because I watch things now that I saw when I was younger and I'm like "oh.. my.." but they didn't have a negative impact then. I think if your kid is mature and smart enough to understand, they'll be fine, and if they're not mature and smart enough to understand, a lot of the bad things they simply won't comprehend. I know that probably sounds naive or misguided, but I just wanted to offer the perspective of someone young enough to remember being a kid. With that said, let me just say that I have tremendous respect for all you parents. Sitting here now and thinking about all the things I did as a child or a teenager would give me massive anxiety if I ever planned to be a parent.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 5:56 PM

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5:56 here

That should say "I'm NOW 21" not "not".*

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 5:57 PM

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I've got MTV blocked. They will never watch the channel under my roof.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 6:16 PM

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My younger sisters were allowed to watch Real World when they were in high school. Interestingly enough when asked before graduation what they were planning on doing they both responded with something to the tone of, "buying a cool house and living with a bunch of my friends so we can party every night" I realize not every kid is as naive as my siters were but I feel as an older sibling that it gave a poor impression of what the "real world" is all about.
I am pregnant with my first chld and I don't know if I would want them watching it at all without watching with them. I know they would want to because it is presented as "cool" but it really is garbage. If anything I would watch it with your child about it--no matter what episode or season you watch, trust me you will have something to talk about. It may even be a great "ice breaker" for some harder discussion topics like sex, drugs and alcohol abuse.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 6:21 PM

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To the OP question - how do you handle stuff like this? I handle it by being a parent. By making rules, by explaining to my children why those rules are in place (ie: it is my job to help you become a responsible adult and this rule will, in my opinion, get you there.) As the adult, my opinion (experienced observation) is the one that counts.

As a friend of mine once said, "you make them eat their peas, you can make them....[whatever]"

Any good psychologist will tell you that children under 18 (and even beyond sometimes) do not have the same decision making ability as adults. They do not reason as adults. As parents, sometimes we have to do that for them.

My 4 children are 20 to 12 years old. I do not have major problems with any of them (Knock on wood.) My oldest did not agree with some of the rules I made for him as a teenager, but now, as a 20 year old, he is glad that I did. Kids really do appreciate rules and standards.

I like to think of my life and my children's lives as an empty jar. I can fill it up with good things (experiences that make me feel joy - spending quality time with family, reading a good book, helping a neighbor, personal improvement - or I can fill it up with crap - TV shows that glorify violence, promiscuous sexual activity, infedelity, or behaviors that do me no good - like tagging, teasing brothers and sisters, etc. At the end of my life, I want my jar to be attractive to look at - not a jar full of smelly crap. I try to encourage my children to fill their jars (lives) with stuff that will be pleasing to them to look back at later on.

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 3:03 AM

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I wasnt allowed to watch MTV growing up and still did drugs and had sex. I am from a typical middle class family and was on the Deans list all 4 years of college and am now trying to apply for law school. I dont think its the TV that tells kids what to do. They make their choices based off of several diff things. Before you look at what they watch you need to invest time into the people they associate and identify with (their friends)-those are the potential ones to corrupt your sweet, innocent children

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 4:52 AM

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in the context of watching the show with your child and discussing it throughout, i would also watch another type of "reality" show with my child to gain some perspective with regard to what helps a person get along in the real world. a show that teaches how to cook, how to carve a bookcase, how to perform simple home repairs or do a mini-makeover. the reality shows that actually teach a trade or help with learning a new, productive hobby are a good counter-defense to the type of "reality" one comes across in a show like The Real World. maybe tivo would allow you to find a Stories From The ER episode wherein a person is treated for drug use or over-consumption of alcohol. that would also provide a "real" consequence.

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 8:47 AM

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There are better things on cable to watch...

I think there are better things on cable for children to watch. Instead of filling their thoughts with sex, drinking, partying, and bad relationships, fill it instead with imagination, adventure, and get them thinking of what they want to do in a positive way when they are adults. The Discovery Channel has many shows I allow my son to watch (Man vs. Wild, Mythbusters, Deadliest Catch) and he loves them because of the adventure, the action... Good pure TV showing people doing things that are fun without being trashy or putting bad ideas in his head. Now, not every kid will see TV and think that is what they want to do. Some can watch it and not be affected by it. Not mine. He sees it, he wants to do it, so I am very careful. We are a family living a Christian life, so I do not permit him to watch anything that contradicts that. I don't want my kid drinking, doing drugs, or being a slut in college. Chances are already against him with society the way it is today, so I have to work even harder as a parent to set him up for success. There are better things on cable to watch.

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 9:57 AM

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To add to my comment... I also limit the time he has in front of the TV. I encourage outdoor time so he isn't fat like me :)

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 9:59 AM

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Even 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' would be better (althought they curse so there's a lot of bleeping) - my son will never touch 'ice' because of the people they catch and help to recover from their addictions.

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 10:00 AM

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hey, now, now! i spend the majority of my free time outside and i'm still fat. let's not start slinging mud and changing the subject!

The Real World is not a reflection of any person's "real world". at least not the way it is produced and editted and shown to us. the people behind the scenes are living vicariuosly through the f**ked up antics of kids in their late teens / early twenties. these are not your average kids by any means!! it would do a kid a world of good, if the kid is insistent on viewing the program, to also visit a hospital ward where they treat addicts or to attend a 12-step meeting to get a grip on what challenges people face when they live and behave flippantly and dangerously, without thinking about the consequences or the affects their behaviour might have.

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 10:05 AM

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No one should watch it. It is garbage for the mind. There are much more positive things that can be done with your time such as helping another, plant a tree, start a compost pile, or simply sit outside. Turn off the TV and your life will greatly improve.

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 10:06 AM

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I didn't mean to sound like you're fat because you are not active... I meant I want to do all I can for my children to be in shape and healthy and part of that is getting them in the habit of being active vs. a couch potato. Lots of kids have the problem of playing too many video games and watching too much tv. I was a fat kid, and it absolutely sucked. I don't want my kids to go through the things I went through. Being a teen is hard enough without being fat.

Thursday, May 31, 2007, 5:48 PM

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umm i kinda agree with u but i think sum of the real world is trash because if u ever exsperence the real hard core world then u will know how tuff it is but if u havent then u most likely will never know so its how one person looks at it and how another does but you have to let you kids excperience for thereselfs just like you did cuz if u dont it will be real big suprise when it happens to them when they get older.

Sunday, May 25, 2008, 4:19 PM

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I have never seen it.. but they way everyone else describes one should watch it! But, kids epecially..
they shouldnt have their mind be filled with that junk!

Sunday, May 25, 2008, 4:21 PM

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does anyone remember the first season or two where they actually had to have jobs and pay bills and they were tackling real issues...not "whos going to have a threesome this season?"

Sunday, May 25, 2008, 7:16 PM

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My kids are 9 and 11 and I don't know if I'm EVER going to let them watch MTV. Our society bombards kids & teens (especially girls) with all kinds of confusing messages. It's not a "Real" World they're televising, it's a disgusting, trashy, loser world where promiscuity is ok, women should dress like prostitutes, your value as a person depends on how good you look & whether or not men are attracted to you, etc. I'm going to keep my kids as innocent and wholesome as I can for as long as I can.

Sunday, May 25, 2008, 8:13 PM

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My husband and I handle it by:
Having definite standards that apply across the board (we don't watch a lot of things most adults watch, including all R and most PG-13 movies)
Having a reason for those standards
Helping our children understand where they are going in life so that they can choose well, among the things presented to them, those that will help them get there
Talking openly about issues and choices, challenges and consequences
Having high expectations for ourselves and our children that are independent of what anyone else is doing or what is considered typical, but are instead based on what will create a life of peace and joy and what will not
Encouraging active pursuits, service, responsibility, and evaluative thinking skills; good friendships with supportive people; media that uplifts, encourages, and empowers; and both quality and quantity in family time
Discouraging excesses in junk food, junk music, junk TV, junk cinema, and junk relationships--that is, all sorts of things that don't promote well-being

Our kids range from 18 to 8, are largely straight-arrow, and the teenboys have remained close to us throughout their adolescences, even when making choices that they know we don't approve of. They don't do everything just as we'd like, but they remain respectful and willing to listen...maybe better even than we do. Man, they are great kids! I'm very lucky.

Sunday, May 25, 2008, 11:07 PM

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Monday, May 26, 2008, 2:20 PM

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Never watch The Real World

Let me just echo one thought. NO ONE should EVER watch The Real World. Firstly, there are so many finer things with which one is able to fill their minds. In other words it is a waste of valuable time. Secondly, viewing people devalue themselves regularly DOES have a desensitizing effect. It may become ever easier and easier to indulge in degrading activities if you see people engaged in these activities regularly. Thirdly, and MOST importantly, we should each take an added measure of responsibility for the world in which we live. We should look at our activities in terms of "how might the world be if everyone behaved this way?" In other words, if no one watches The Real World, the effect would be that the programming would be canceled and similarly mindless and immoral programming will not be produced in the future.

If your kids wish to watch this type of programming it is probably not entirely in ignorance of the consequences. Perhaps it is a combination of poor understanding or belief of the consequences coupled with some nasty peer pressure. Sometimes our youth needs some training into how to make peer pressure work both ways and how to leave the stubbornly imalleable poor influences by the wayside. Too often we think that friends are forever. I am so happy that this is not true as some of my closest high school friends are people whom I would be ashamed to call "friend" today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 6:51 PM

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Ditto on the amen for 11:07pm! While there may be some luck involved with the temperament of your kids - give yourself some credit, too! Those boundaries and expectations (i.e., good parenting) go a looooong way in how you help shape your children into being responsible, caring adults!

And 6:51pm - good points. Some tv shows are kind of like fast/junk food - we may enjoy it in the moment - it's like a sinful indulgence, but there's nary a redeeming quality and we're really not better off having indulged. And if we stopped indulging in it, the industry would change to meet our demands!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 8:50 AM

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7:16 I remember the beginning of this show, back in the early 90's, I thought it was stupid and not real then but now its just unreal and way stupid. At least back then it was about the issues and how to socially get along. I wouldn't think any parent would want their kid to watch this crap. Someone mentioned SVU and CSI, those shows by far have a more positive message and you can sometimes really learn something from them. The real world is not the real world.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 10:49 AM

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I don't understand anyone who can get the real world also has access to block out certain show/channels. So these parents saying they can't control what their kids watch are full of shit. Learn how to use the parent controls and block the crap you don't want your kids watching.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 10:51 AM

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But 10:51...then my kids won't like me.... ;)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 11:34 AM

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How old do you want your kids to be when they start behaving like the people on the show?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 1:36 PM

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 1:38 PM

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Devil's Advocate

I'm a 25-year-old professional, and I like some crappy television shows. The Real World happens to be one of them, so I'm going to play Devil's Advocate.

I still would not let my pre-teen children watch the show (if I had any). But if I had children in high school, who were asking to watch it, because their friends watched it, etc., I would consider letting them watch it, with me, and have discussions along with the show, about what happens on the show.

There is a lot of promiscuity spoken about, and hinted at, on the show, no doubt. But, the most graphic thing you'll see is two people climbing into bed together and pulling the covers over themselves. There is more graphic promiscuity on Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City, etc.

There is also a lot of alcohol use and abuse on the show, as well as bleeped-out swearing, smoking, etc.

However, on this season (Hollywood), some of the people have seen some repurcussions. One guy had a clear problem with alcohol; the show sent him to rehab and said he couldn't come back to the house until he had completed a 6-week rehab program. They keep him in the storyline via phone calls, etc., but, he is getting help for his problem. Another girl was in an abusive relationship (mutually abusive), and had been arrested for hitting her then-boyfriend; she had to fly home to go to court, and the show followed the drama that ensued.

I think that, so long as you have open discussions with your kids about what is happening in the show, and they are old enough to understand that MTV will cast people based on who they think will cause the most trouble/drama, rather than who is like a real person, then the show can open up some good discussions about appropriate behavior, consequences, etc. If your kids are going to hear about the plot/characters at school anyway, wouldn't it be better for them to have some perspective based on discussions with you, than just based on their classmates, who may be trying to show off and sound "bad" by saying how cool these other "bad" characters are??

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 6:07 PM

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Take it from me, a surviver of a completely dysfunctional single parent home. My mom was the ultimate friend. Smoked dope with me and my friends when I was 14, let me drink and date guys well past their teens, let me drive without a license and I was just wild and out of control. I had no rules, no boundaries or restrictions. You do not want your kids thinking you are a friend. They need a parent and if that means they "don't like you" because you won't allow them to watch a certain show well then boohoo on them. When they get older and have their own kids they will understand. All I ever wanted was for my mom to be a real fracking mom, not my friend. I craved and needed discipline and was always seeking some sort of consequence for my actions. It took me a long time to work through issues with my mom.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 8:03 PM

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6:07 - sitting down with the (older) kids and watching the show is a GREAT way to open up discussions on all the things we should be talking to them about anyway (sex, drugs, protection, STDs, alcohol, relationships, etc.)! And I don't know if 8:03 was referring to your suggestion, but doing this does NOT make me my kid's friend. Far from it. It can not only serve as a springboard to having these otherwise 'hard' conversations, but it's also a chance to teach teens how to scrutinize media.

And 11:34 was being facetious! Often, being a parent and doing what's best means the kids won't be happy! In fact, that's often how I guage my effectiveness as a parent - how much eye rolling I get and how mad my kids are at me - haha.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 8:59 PM

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but did she let you watch real world?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 9:02 PM

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