While I was enjoying Mom 2.0 this past weekend, Liz and I made our rounds of the expo area and after gushing over the Barilla pasta lunch to their PR reps (I think I might have eaten my weight in parm and prosuitto*) we found ourselves in front of the Clearplay** display.
If you're not familiar with Clearplay, the concept is relatively simple. Okay, not really, and I have no idea exactly how they do it, but in buying their DVD player, usb filter thing, and monthly membership you have the capability of censoring movies - or well, the large number of movies that they've programmed for you to censor.
At the first glance, it's not a bad idea.
If you want to watch a movie without the violence, blood, or guts, you can - which would save me having to leave or conveniently pee just when someone's about to get their fingers chopped off.
You can cut out sex scenes and nudity, which well, I'd prefer to be able to add more, specifically in all Ryan Reynolds movies.
And you can eliminate curse words or "blasphemy" as the rep called it.
And then, you have one hell of a chopped up movie that's safe for children and your very religious mother. Or something like that.
Now I can clearly see the appeal of this product, but really, it would be waaaay better if you could fill in your own voice with replacement words.
So instead of "Jesus" it would say "Pat Robertson" or something like that.
And so, I have to wonder if this isn't a good idea gone way off the deep end. I mean, there's a reason most movies are rated R, and I'm not sure it's really appropriate for kids to be watching them even if they've been heavily censored.
And even if you're dumbing down a PG-13 movie, I wonder if you're really doing your kids a service.
The idea of locks on television channels and the internet doesn't really bother me. I do believe that there are shows that kids should not see, and websites that little eyes should not be viewing.
So maybe that's why I'm not quite sure this is the answer. Isn't it better to explain to your kids that they can't watch the movie and discuss why? I mean, we can't censor life - though we might like to edit out things they see and hear.
Part of growing up is learning limits and boundaries. And it's about taking those moments when limits and boundaries are broken and using them as a chance to teach our kids about the nuances of life. Our existence is colorful - sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly.
But as a parent, I feel strongly that it's my job to give them the mediums for their artwork when they're ready to use them, not deciding which colors they should (and should not) use to paint their picture.
*I have no idea how to spell that word. I'm Chinese. To us it's just thinly sliced meat that's really hard to eat with chopsticks.
**I was not paid or compensated to write about this product, although the nice product rep did give me three Milky Way Midnights and a mini Twix after I rudely rifled through his candy jar to find them.