Is it just me, or is Peppa just not a very good role model for our kids?
My son loves a lot of things. He loves his baby bear, he loves most types of food, he loves books of all kinds, and this week he loves Lego. But as I’m sure most parents find with their kids, he doesn’t love anything as much as the limited time he spends watching TV shows. As we don’t have a television, at the moment his entire repertoire of shows consists of Baby Einstein and Peppa Pig which we’ve downloaded to our laptop/smartphones. Most parents will agree that Peppa is a useful show, because it only lasts five minutes. The perfect amount of time to keep your kid entertained while you make the important phone call, quickly put the supper on, scream into a pillow etc, without making you feel like one of those mums who over-uses TV as a way to entertain their offspring. (After all, 5 minutes even three times a day barely counts as television, I wouldn’t even mention it. ;))
I chose Peppa Pig because I saw endless children who were obsessed with the characters, and because we had received a book with Peppa and George in our Bookstart pack from the library, and R brought it to me to read about 7 times a day. And it’s a cute show, with simple and sweet story lines. For those (luckily) not in the know, the family of pigs consists of Mummy and Daddy Pig, Grandma and Grandpa Pig (I assume Daddy Pig’s parents given the matching surname?) Peppa, who seems to be about 3 or 4, and her baby brother George, somewhere between 1 and 2. Oh the hiijinks they can get up to in five minutes!
So what bothers me? A few things, and I preface this by saying I know I’m probably being over the top, and also that I have only seen approx half of the first season and none of the others.
Does anyone else notice the amount of times Peppa exclaims “Naughty Daddy!” or “Messy Mummy!” or “Silly Naughty Daddy!” and the entire family erupts into peals of laughter? I see that the parent in question normally joins in the laughter, so I wouldn’t say it’s exactly encouraging bullying and teasing, but surely there is a correct way to talk to your parents, and this just isn’t it! Aren’t we showing our kids at their most receptive time for learning that it’s okay to use words like naughty and silly, and not only use them but direct them to their mums and dads? Worse still, the parents reinforce this by using the same language to each other in front of the children too. Over the top or not, I find it uncomfortable.
I know they are a family of pigs, so maybe I’m fighting a losing battle with this one, but is there ONE episode of this show where they don’t consume junk food? Biscuits, Pancakes, Chocolate Cake, Cookie batter… and all eaten in two swift bites! Would it kill the writers to give Peppa an apple?
3. Gender Stereotyping.
Daddy Pig works in an Office. He has a flashy laptop and a big desk. If Mummy Pig does any work, it is condescendingly referred to as Very Important, and is done on the Amstrad PC she has upstairs in her bedroom. Of course, the second the computer stops working, she is all a flap and calls Daddy Pig to fix the big mean problem. He promptly turns it on and off again to rapturous applause from the females and children. Phew. What would we do without big strong men-folk.. er, pig-folk.
If the Pig residence was a real household, Super Nanny would have been called years ago. Because there is no way that Peppa and George would be such well behaved kids with the lack of discipline they are shown.
“Peppa, be careful with your bike around my prize pumpkin!”
“Yes Daddy…. [to friends “lets race to Daddy’s pumpkin!”] CRASH …sorry Daddy”
“That’s okay Peppa, as long as you’re ok, now lets make pumpkin pie as a reward for you totally ignoring what I just told you!”
Peppa and George are jumping in Muddy Puddles. They are head to toe covered in filth.
“Let’s go show Daddy!”
-traipse into house spreading mud everywhere-
“Hahaha, lets get you cleaned up before Mummy Pig sees.”
Not even a “next time don’t bring mud in the house/ take your boots off first.”
Don’t get me wrong, there are far worse characters out there, who promote much more dangerous activities than pumpkin smashing and mud slinging. And far less educational shows for toddlers as well, which seem to consist of nonsense being babbled at my baby for twenty or thirty minutes. (If I wanted that, I would put him in front of a mirror.) In comparison, Peppa Pig is pretty harmless.
Yet it bothers me that in any episode where Peppa does something naughty, she either looks sheepish for about 3 seconds until her family erupts into laughter, or she says “sorry Daddy/Mummy” in the singsongiest of voices until she gets a tooth decaying treat for her trouble.
I’m not saying they should fill the show with Peppa sitting on the naughty step and receiving lessons on her 5 a day. I’m just not sure I want R looking up to her that much either.