Should I let my kid watch the soaps?

You may be a massive fan of ‘Eastenders’ or ‘Coronation Street’ or perhaps you’re an ‘Emmerdale’ fan but should you let your children watch these popular soaps? It’s a difficult question to answer because there are most definitely some elements of soap operas that can easily be watched by children, but there are also some that aren’t.
A discussion about this issue on the website Room to Grow  agrees that while it’s agreed that “too much TV is not good for kids” parents need to be “aware of the quality of the programmes that kids are watching and to make sure that these are age appropriate.” The site agrees that children under the age of 10 or11 shouldn’t be watching the evening soaps because they “often feature situations and conversations that are not really suitable for kids.” They feature “adult situations that are beyond the comprehension of most children.”
In ‘Coronation Street’ there has recently been a storyline that saw one child get led astray by another and becoming a bully. This culminated in them bullying another younger child and posting upsetting photos online. Now this is a storyline that was handled well by the programme and could certainly help any youngsters who were watching. Raising awareness of cyber bullying in particular was important.
There have been many other stories that have helped children such as attitudes towards gays and lesbians, teenage drinking and just about everything under the sun in soaps such as ‘Hollyoaks’, ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Home and Away.’ If you want to research these and other child related safety issues, we recommend checking out for some up to date, helpful information.
If your child is under the age of ten there’s very few subjects covered on soaps that are suitable for them. It’s best to record programmes and watch them yourself before deciding whether it is suitable for your children to watch.
If you do think that allowing your child to watch storylines that could help them, why not dig that old video recorder out and just record the scenes in the show that cover the relevant topic. That way you can cut out all the other scenes that you think might be unsuitable for your child.
All UK soaps are traditionally shown before the watershed so there’s no swearing and no scenes of a sexually explicit nature. However there are plenty of things in soaps that do worry parents. This includes scenes of violence, arguments and of course the occasional gay or lesbian kiss has caused varying degrees of controversy.
A lot really depends on what age and maturity your child is. Teenagers shouldn’t have any problem with ‘Hollyoaks’ but with other soaps that are shown later in the evening it should be purely down to the parent to decide what their child can and cannot watch, as it should be with all programmes.
‘Eastenders’ in particular does have a lot of violent storylines with fights, kidnapping and massive arguments a regular occurrence. Drug taking and other addictions are also storylines that are featured. ‘Coronation Street’ is a little bit milder but those cobbles have attracted a fair few serial murderers in recent years as well as plenty of gay/lesbian storylines.
One soap actress who doesn’t believe children should watch soaps (even the one she appears in) is ‘Eastenders’ actress June Brown who believes that some of the plotlines contribute to children growing up too fast. Talking about ‘Eastenders’ she commented: “I don’t think soaps are really good. They can’t stay ­children for long enough. They put make-up on have their ears pierced and wear short skirts.”
The soaps have certainly changed in recent years that’s for sure. ‘Emmerdale’ seems more interested in murders, arguments and abuse storylines than the good old days when the biggest crisis was a cow going into labour too early.
As with any kind of television programme your decision has to be final in this matter. There may well be plenty of innocent scenes that can be watched by anyone but in a competitive industry the soaps love to shock in order to get ratings, just make sure they don’t shock your child.

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