Censor our TVs? You must be kidding!

Written by Waity Katie on 4 May 2011 in Diary
Francesca Preece argues that keeping our kids away from padded bras and inappropriate TV shows is easy as ABC – and you don’t need a review to do it

Later this month, the government will reveal the results of their review into what Reg Bailey, Mothers' Union head, claims is over-sexualisation of our kids on TV, shops and society.

According to preliminary findings, over half of parents quizzed on pre-watershed TV were unhappy at seeing Christina Aguilera perform a risqué burlesque act on The X Factor, a show aimed at families.

To be honest, I’d be unhappy for any child to watch that show too – it’s rubbish. And hardly role model material for budding young singers unless they like autotune.

If I were Reg, I’d be attacking X Factor for its focus on image over talent. Judges dishing out insults on how people look, rather than how people sound, is more damaging to a child than some singer not wearing many clothes.

But while it’s the parents’ prerogative if they don’t want their children to see scantily-clad singers on the telly, what is not acceptable is that gay kisses, currently being seen on Coronation Street, are to be deemed inappropriate too.

One of the alleged examples of over-sexualisation of children (in the review) is the lesbian storyline involving actresses Brooke Vincent and Sacha Parkinson on the soap. You’d think that they were shedding their clothes for all the outrage that it has caused.

Even the actresses have been stung by the no-gay kisses clause in this review. Brooke Vincent, one half of Corrie’s lesbian couple, hit out at the PM this week, saying: "David Cameron is meant to be supporting equal rights."

She has a point. Surely children should see things such as this for tolerance and comprehension of different relationships. Storylines such as this are said to be invaluable to children going into teenhood with dealing with their own sexuality.

By reckoning that this should be a subject for post-watershed entertainment we risk putting across a view that homosexuality is something dangerous. Is repression of homosexuality really an avenue we should be travelling down? Again? I think there are a number of outed MPs we could ask.

Besides what’s so wrong with kissing anyway? It’s not taboo. It’s an expression of love. It is the most natural thing in the world. The next thing you know we’ll have gay couples being hounded out of pubs for a quick peck on the cheek... just ask my friend Jonathan Williams.

Should we choose to back this review, we risk suggesting that we are moving away from progressive Conservatism and 21st century living to the bad old days of Section 28.

Surprisingly gay campaigners at LGBTory insist that this is all blown out of proportion and that the D of E is yet to announce their official stance. Either way, it raises a valid point about whether the government have a right to decide what is suitable for children to watch or not. Are pre-watershed restrictions really in our children’s best interests?

Of course there are shows children shouldn’t see – pornography, graphic violence – but I am not convinced tighter laws on programmes pre-watershed will stop children being exposed to the evils of society – The Only Way is Essex, I’m looking at you.

Yes, Reg Bailey is right to be worried about over-sexualisation of our children but there are so many avenues in which children pick up inappropriate words, see and wear unsuitable clothing. We cannot censor all of these.

Parental advisory stickers on CDs and films or age requirements on booze have never stopped kids watching nasty horror flicks or drinking. And even parental controls on the internet haven’t stopped under-13s from embracing Facebook and YouTube.

However, one way we can prevent our kids singing along to Rihanna's S&M is to adopt a laissez-faire approach or rather ‘leave it to the parents’. Mums and dads are crucial for ensuring kids can be kids. 

Instead of trying to restore Pandora’s box, we should be putting power in parents’ hands. If a programme comes on the telly that they believe is too old for them, they can simply turn it off. If they see a pair of shorts with ‘juicy’ emblazoned on the back, do the parents NEED to buy them – of course not.

Parents are solely responsible for bringing up their child. It is their decisions that will ultimately mould their offspring. They are the only real factors that can make a difference to how quickly our children grow up. Instead of the government enforcing their own ideas of what is inappropriate, why not let the parents decide for themselves what is right for their child?

Draconian censorship is another weapon of Britain’s nanny state, something that the Conservatives should be dismantling, not extending.

We spent our time in opposition attacking Labour for banning conkers and but it seems that we just can’t seem to shake off the remnants of the cotton wool they covered our kids in.


The old grand Duke of Cambridge is heading off back to work but the new Princess Catherine seems to be waiting for her Prince to come back. After a very public engagement and wedding, the Queen-in-waiting plans to be a housewife.

This will not bode well with her critics who coined ‘waity Katie’ after her relatively small work portfolio. I’m sure she could find something to do in Anglesey while Wills heads off to the Falklands ... a few Jigsaws perhaps?


Tags: Children sexual exploitation, Homosexuality, Mothers' Union, Princess Catherine, TV censorship

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