The Golden Globes: To Censor or Not to Censor from Kids

My 8-year-old daughter, Bryn, begged my wife and I to let her watch the Golden Globes with us Sunday night. It’s not like she was invested in who won or lost, and she hadn’t seen any of the nominated fare outside of the Best Animated Feature category. Her main desire to watch was, in all honesty, so that she could weigh in on all the red carpet fashions.

What could be the harm? We expected there would probably be some over-her-head innuendo in the opening monologue, and plenty that she’d potentially get bored by, but that was about all we worried about. Besides, it’s always fun for us to hear our daughter rag on some top designer’s $100,000 gown, so we caved. And those next three hours were an exhausting exercise in spur-of-the-moment censorship for us.

Within three minutes of show starting, host Ricky Gervais was making jokes about his genitals -- and the various things he would do with them. Then there were all the clips from the adult-themed movies and Robert DeNiro bizarrely going on about Martin Scorsese copulating with a film canister.

My wife and I had to be on our toes, coughing or loudly yawning at just the right moments, occasionally pointing at the windowsill and bursting out with abrupt shouts of “Hey, look what the cat’s doing!” (and completely confusing our daughter in the process, since the cat was almost always sleeping). Our remote’s “mute” button got a real workout that night, which caused Bryn to ask if something was wrong with the TV’s audio. The Globes’ seemingly endless Scorsese montage was so challenging for us that I contemplated breaking out a game of Uno in the middle of it.

When the ceremony was over, Bryn had ended up seeing a uniquely different version of the Golden Globes than anybody else had, but she seemed to enjoy it. My wife and I laughed about the whole situation, knowing that we overdid it a bit with the censorship. But as much as I can find humor in the experience, it also frustrates me. Our own parents used to watch “grown-up” TV around us all the time when we were kids -- without worry. As parents today, we feel like we can’t. That’s because our current conservative, angst-filled parenting culture dictates that we protect our children from anything that might be remotely upsetting. And once again, I find myself wondering how to find that happy medium between being irresponsibly lax and comically overprotective.

I will continue to contemplate this dilemma as we prepare for the Oscars.

Do you watch "grown-up" TV with your kids? Chime in below!

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