It’s being called the “most dangerous show for teens” by the Parent’s Television Council (PTC).
MTV’s ‘Skins’ is under fire for its so-called “racy” content, and some say it borders on child pornography.
The Parent’s Television Council, a group that closely monitors programs directed at the youth of America, criticized Viacom’s MTV for deliberately marketing the show, based on a United Kingdom series, to a teen audience, including via “an extended trailer with high school characters engaging in drug use and casual sex, as well as an interactive map on the show’s website asking real people to “post the truth about the biggest parties, heartbreak, friends, sex, and every kind of problem they could run into.”
“Despite the MA-rating (mature audience only) for ‘Skins,’ MTV appears to be deliberately targeting teens with its marketing campaign,” said PTC president Tim Winter. “Skins may well be the most dangerous show for children that we have ever seen.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter Daily News, an MTV spokeswoman, Jeannie Kedas, insisted that the future episodes of ‘Skins’ were still works in progress. She would not confirm whether MTV executives were fearful of running afoul of child pornography laws.
‘Skins’ is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way,” Kedas said in a statement. “We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of ‘Skins’ will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”
Child pornography is defined by the United States as any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In some cases, “a picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography, if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive,” according to the Justice Department’s legal guidance. Anyone younger than 18 is considered to be a minor. For ‘Skins,’ the producers purposefully cast actors ages 15 to 19, most of whom had never acted before.
Episodes of ‘Skins’ are rated TV-MA, indicating that the content may be unsuitable for viewers younger than 17. MTV states in news releases that it is “specifically designed to be viewed by adults.” However, many of MTV’s viewers are in middle and high school. According to the Nielsen Company, the first episode drew 1.2 million people younger than 18.
The fact that middle and high school students are watching the show is causing great concern to the PTC, and they are pressuring major advertisers not to sponsor the show. To date Taco Bell, GM, Wrigley and H & R Block have already pulled their ads.
I viewed the trailers and an episode of ‘Skins’ and found it very disturbing, and not very entertaining. The unseasoned group of young actors obviously wants to please the producers etc., and they give their all in the performances, in some cases too much ‘all.’
There’s a lot of drugs involved and sex, sex, sex. The adults featured–parents, teachers, school administrators and cougars–are basically idiots being outwitted by teens left and right.
There is ethnic representation, but as usual with this new crop of young producers, they put a light-skinned, curly haired girl in a female role, and it’s up to Blacks and Latinos to figure out what nationality she is. Her role is scandalous at best, but she falls right in line with the other characters on the show. As yet, there is no leading Black male character.
My purpose in writing this story is to clue you in on what our teens will more than likely be watching. Black teens and preteens will no doubt be avid viewers, check in on your kids from time to time; it might just surprise you what kind of antisocial behavior without consequences they are feeding our kids.
Gail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.