After spending an entire weekend with a couple thousand teenagers in South Carolina, my attention was immediately turned to the most watched television broadcast of the year in the United States: the Super Bowl. It was an intriguing transition.
The Super bowl is a distinctive television event. It’s not unique to adults, and it’s not exclusive to teenagers (a la MTV Video Music Awards). It’s an event truly watched by the entire family (the commercials alone are a huge draw for all ages- did you notice the ad for the new SpongeBob movie? And the new Ted 2 movie… wait… is that for kids?).
So what did I take away from this year’s Super Bowl?
One conclusion: the need for conversations.
Why did I arrive to this deduction? Simply because our country’s biggest “family entertainment” event offered plenty of moments that warrant discussion… and most families are not having these discussions. (For example: I just taught a workshop about what the Bible says about sex to a couple hundred teenagers yesterday, and countless teens could not attend because either their parents or youth workers thought these teens were not “ready to talk about this yet.” I’ll be blogging about this again soon, especially with the release of my new research on this subject.)
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying the Super Bowl was “bad” and we shouldn’t watch it. I’ve not even saying it was as sexually charged as most entertainment, or pushing the limits. It was actually quite mild by comparison. I’m just maintaining we live in a world that offers plenty of distractions for our kids and many of them reared their heads during the Super Bowl broadcast.
A few examples:
- A commercial for the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey film with the caption, fantasies provoked, and then asking, “Are you curious?” (Do you think our kids are? Will they YouTube the two-and-a-half-minute preview?)
- A Victoria Secret commercial with plenty of eye candy.
- Kate Upton continuing her legacy of “showing off her assets” in her newest commercial for Game of War.
- A commercial for the upcoming movie Ted 2, a movie with the slogan, “Ted is coming again.” (A play on words- the poster is a picture of the bear turned the other way with his hands occupied- insinuating when he is masturbating to give a sperm sample in the film.)
- A commercial where an old man tries to take a blue pill to sleep with a woman, but a Fiat digests the pill instead, then grows.
- A commercial for a cruise informing us how we originally came from water. (That’s funny, I thought we came from dust.)
And that’s without the halftime show.
This year’s halftime show was pretty tame, by comparison (remember the “wardrobe malfunction”?) But do parents even know the content of the music that was performed? Do you think young people aren’t going to revisit or download some of that music this week?
Two interesting observations about the halftime performance:
- Our kids know the lyrics: Whenever I talk with young people about the impact of music, I always hear the excuse, “I don’t listen to the lyrics.” Halfway through the show Katy began singing her song, California Gurls. She paused and encouraged the audience to sing. Almost an entire stadium began singing the song word for word. They know the lyrics.
- We wouldn’t agree with the lyrics if we read them: Don’t take my word for it. Go ahead—look up the songs that were performed and take a gander. Here they are, listed in order: (and you’re gonna want to look at more than just one song)
I just have one question for you.
Do you think our kids are ready to talk about some of this… or should we keep quiet and just hope they aren’t thinking about it?
RESOURCES TO INTERACT, NOT OVERREACT, ABOUT THIS WITH YOUR KIDS:
- Jonathan’s article, 3 Essentials to Talking with Today’s Teens, on TheSource4Parents.com
- Jonathan’s eyeopening book, More Than Just the Talk, recommended by Dr. Kevin Leman, Shaunti Feldhahn, Scott Rubin, Chap Clark, and more.
- Jonathan and Doug Fields extremely relevant 6-week curriculum for parents, Should I Just Smash My Kid’s Phone?