Wednesday 21 February 2018

'Racist insults are more offensive but bad language really isn't that big of an issue for us'

Screening: Brian and Jacqui Hurley watching TV with their children Darrion, Brianna and Brogan.
Screening: Brian and Jacqui Hurley watching TV with their children Darrion, Brianna and Brogan.
TV facts

Case Study: Brian (Presenter on Irish TV) and Jacqui Hurley (sales executive). Their children are Darrion (13), Brianna (8) and Brogan (5). They live in Tralee, Co Kerry

'We try to have as much parental control as possible of what the children watch but it's difficult to monitor everything they see – especially as now they can watch content across a range of different media platforms.

Our youngest two, Brogan and Brianna, mainly watch the Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel so we're happy that there are no innuendos or adult themes on those channels.

In the evening all the children enjoy watching The Simpsons. We asked them the other night if they saw anything on the show they didn't understand.

One said there was a scene where the strap falls off Marge's shoulder and she says to Homer 'let's finish what we started'. We asked them what they thought she meant and Brogan (5) said 'you know dad, sex'. We weren't aware he even knew the word.

In a way we have to trust networks and programmers that the content they provide is suitable for the markets they target – ultimately though we know it's down to us to make sure what the children watch is appropriate.

Our eldest Darrion has started watching soaps and inevitably there are some story lines which cause us concern – like the baby-snatching one on EastEnders. We make sure the younger children don't watch those programmes – though they are on fairly early.

Darrion also likes CSI. We record those programmes and watch them first. If we think the plots and language are appropriate then we'll allow Darrion to watch them afterwards. He's more interested in how crimes are solved, the science behind it.

The watershed doesn't seem to count for much these days. With every house now watching British and American programming there's only so much the broadcasting regulators here can control.

Our biggest concern is online content. We have laptops and an iPad in the house and we're constantly checking what the children are looking at but it only takes a few seconds for them to stumble across something they shouldn't.

We wouldn't be offended by cursing on TV really. The most annoying thing, if anything, is a lack of balance in chat shows – because we're both linked to broadcasting that can be offensive in a way.

It's healthy for Irish society that alternative views are expressed even if we mightn't necessarily agree with them. Obviously racist or other types of general insults against a section of our community are more offensive but bad language really isn't a big issue for us.

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