Mostly books, sometimes other bits.

5th February

I’ve just watched Sun, Sea and Suspicious Parents and I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing –not from the kids, who have been massively exploited without even suspecting it by television bosses, but from their supposedly responsible parents.
After following her 18-year-old daughter to Zante and subsequently being found out, the mother in question declared that she would be forgiven, and that if her daughter was in any way mature she wouldn’t even be upset.
Well, I think the fact that her daughter did forgive her was amazingly naive.
The kids on this programme are 17 and 18; they are applying to university and in a few years they’ll be on the graduate job market. How can it possibly be ok that when they get to this stage in their lives they won’t be able to forget their drunken, sun-induced teenage behaviour?
Quick illustrative point: Last year a trainee teacher was thrown off her course because a drunken photograph of her dressed as a pirate appeared on Facebook. It was deemed inappropriate, in her profession. A few years ago I read about a woman, again a teacher, who had made a suggestive video before she had ever decided which job she was going to go into –and when it came to light she too was fired.
Most people have done messy things at the age of 18, and being on holiday is almost certainly a situation where things get out of hand. But for most of us the only thing that we need to do is destroy the evidence –and generally this means detagging a few Facebook pictures. The video footage of Jen drinking out of a stranger’s waistband is going to be on YouTube for years. It will still be there when the rest of us, whose parents didn’t deliberately condone our drunken antics being posted all over the mass media, have been able to forget.
Aside from the ethical implications, what kind of teenage boy is going to behave naturally whilst faced by a camera crew and the knowledge that his friends at home are certainly going to be watching? Girls might monitor their behaviour, but boys are almost certainly going to put on an act. And what teenager is going to pass up a free holiday, if a TV crew offers it them? The footage isn’t even a valid representation of how they would’ve acted if they’d simply been allowed to go on holiday uninterrupted. Any 17-year-old with an AS level in psychology could tell you that, so why haven’t the parents realised it?
Jen et al should have been allowed to act like teenagers on holiday without it being splashed forever across BBC3 and IPlayer. There are some things that parents have absolutely no reason to see –and why on earth would they want to?
This is the worst kind of TV.