Whatever Happened to Family Hour?

I enjoy watching television. Well, that’s not really true. I seldom sit and simply watch television. I generally have some TV program running as background noise. It keeps me company and helps me to keep track of the passage of time.

When I was growing up stations observed a “family hour.” From 8 to 9 p.m. (7 to 8 central, where children evidently either go to bed earlier or mature faster) programs had little violence or sexual innuendo. Programs with more adult content aired later. Even after cable arrived, most network stations observed the same stronger-stuff-later format.

Now it seems that anything goes. Two and a Half Men, which has definite adult themes, airs in syndication at 7 p.m. Some of the CSI shows are running at 8 p.m. as filler between reality show seasons. I love the CSI shows, but they aren’t kiddie material. A quick flip through the channels convinces me that family hour is gone.

It’s a shame. I don’t have little ones in my home any longer, but this trend still concerns me. Our children are growing up way too quickly. They are exposed to much more adult themes at much younger ages. When our son was a little guy we were fairly strict about what he could and could not watch on TV and at movies. We did our best to make sure that similar values were observed when he was at someone else’s home. Still, we couldn’t be everywhere.

That little guy is now a 23-year-old man, so we’re talking about things sometimes 15-20 years in the past. I can’t imagine trying to raise young children today. Our culture seems determined to rip every bit of innocence from our children. It’s a shame.

I see the ramifications in the children at church. I want to gather them under my wings and protect them. I want to help them to hold onto childhood for a while longer. The big, bad world intrudes soon enough.


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