Society and media moving too far, too fastPublished 9:50am Monday, February 11, 2013
Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf
I can’t believe that at my age I am writing about K-Y Date Night, which was advertised on the front of the SmartSource Coupon booklet in my Sunday paper a week or so ago. If you haven’t seen the ad and you don’t know what product I am talking about, Google it. I am too old or too shy to explain what the in-the-bedroom product is.
I also couldn’t believe what I was seeing on the front of the ad booklet. There were two coupons for the product. The boxes looked like they might be perfume or some other perfect Valentine’s Day gift. The promotional lines were: Give the Gift of You. This Valentine’s Day, skip the dessert … give him you. Jump start your K-Y Date Night by saving $25 off your next restaurant visit thanks to Restaurant.com, but don’t let the date end there. Afterwards, why not head home to continue the romance with a little help from K-Y Brand?
You have to understand that I come from the generation where we didn’t advertise undies and we didn’t have women wearing bras on bare skin on television. We didn’t have ads for birth control, adult diapers, condoms and you name it. We didn’t have to explain all those commercials to our young kids. Those commercials now seem to run anytime on the air night and day even during kid viewing time.
I don’t have a problem with K-Y advertising, just not on the front page of coupon booklets that are available for kids to wonder about. The first thought that came into my mind was: “I am sure glad I don’t have to explain these coupons to my 7-year-old and 5-year-old grandsons who help their parents cut coupons. They love the bright ads. What happened to the age of innocence? Our kids are growing up much too fast into the adult world.
Recently a preschool in California was closed down because the 4- and 5-year-olds were caught engaging in adult behavior. Where did they learn about certain adult acts and how to do them? I found the story unbelievable and sad. Did the media contribute to their behavior or were they mimicking what they had seen on television?
We might argue that the parents need to take responsibility for filtering what their children read, watch and hear, but when it is out in the mainstream — short of locking them in their rooms without communication until they are 12 or 13 or older — it is difficult.
When my children were growing up, probably the hottest issue was whether sex education should be taught in our schools. We had to look for hidden Playboys and risqué magazines. We didn’t have to worry about coupons in the daily newspaper that we might have to explain.
Yes, we all need to have open communication with our kids, but I don’t think I ever thought it would have to happen at 4 and 5 years old. The media seems to introduce our children to ideas and beliefs now long before it happened when I was growing up or I was raising my children.
This is just the rambling of an old woman trying to adjust to a society where anything goes. Considering how far we have come over the years, I can’t help but wonder what is left for the future and how much more open a society we are going to become.
I do have to tell you that when I told other people about the ad, they were shocked and didn’t believe me. You see, they weren’t used to checking the coupons in the newspaper to see if it was something they wanted their kids to see. Many kids use the brightly colored paper for craft projects. Can’t you just see the teacher’s eye if a 5- or 6-year-old used the K-Y ad for a craft project? Would that get them suspended from school?
Maybe I can’t advocate my parental duties yet. Maybe I have to talk to my children about exposing my grandchildren to questionable ads or — maybe I want to be a little bug in the corner with a large hearing aid when they have all the conversations they are going to have to have with their little ones because of the media today.
Perhaps my eavesdropping will be an education for me on the new products that I don’t know about. Listening to someone educating a 5-year-old to the adult ways of the world might educate this 62-year-old, too.
Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.