Peppa Pig has Bad Parents.

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.

1. Language
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.

2. Food.
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.

4. Discipline.
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.

Example One
“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!”

Example Two
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.
Thoughts?

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Daaaad? What does ‘Rewind’ mean?

Lately, I feel like I’m getting old.

Obviously not old, in the real sense of time. I have all my own teeth and hair, can still just about run for a bus, and can make spontaneous plans without having a nervous breakdown over the change in routine. But I am feeling slightly left behind. New technology is starting to confuse me, I find myself complaining about bands which truly are “just noise”, and I’m not ashamed to say that when I get an invite for an event past 9pm, my first emotion is fear that I may not be home by 11 to make my midnight sleep curfew.

So with this newfound ancient-ness, I am having a nostalgic look into my fleeting youth, and thinking about what R will never experience in the same way that I did.

1. Cars. Clearly he will experience some kind of car, but I really dont think it can be compared to my recollection of motor vehicles. Remember these?

  • Wondering whether you were really hot enough to make it worthwhile winding down the window? (a phrase our kids will douibtless never even say)
  • Debating the cost/benefit of opening the window on a motorway? (if you do, no one will be able to hear each other any more and you’l get bits of god-knows-what in your eyes, but if you dont, you may die of heatstroke)
  • Only being able to have music until you were out of the London area? [Ps-how rubbish is radio??] Then being subjected to someone’s ‘mixed tape’ that they assure you is amazing. It isn’t.

The mode of transport of today, with CD players, USB ports for iPods, windows which open at the press of a button, silent air conditoning, spacious seating, tinted windows and the like, are pretty much the equivalent of comparing the cars of my childhood with a horse and buggy.

2. Computers. Here are just a few of the computer-related things that he will never experience.

  • The sound of your computer actually dialling the internet.. How did we put up with that for so long?
  • When illegal downloading was a huge hassle and it was actually worth the money not to have to spend a week waiting for a movie to download.
  • Word Processors. Were they basically just a huge machine that only had Word on? This is actually the Amstrad that I had in my house. I was so cool.
  • When you were on the computer, you were at home, on the computer. In the computer room. Or at the computer desk. Certainly not in the garden. Or in Starbucks.
  • Watching movies on your computer? What-like on a CD ROM type thing? That’s incredible.

Other things my son will never know about.
– Blockbuster video (including videos in general)

– Walkmen and Discmen and the short lived Mini-disc players. (What an epic fail that was.) Remember having to choose what music you wanted to listen to that day first thing in the morning?

– Mobile phones with Aerials, and Keypads. I remember promising my mum, that if she bought me the Nokia 3210, I would never ever need another mobile phone in my life, because I simply couldnt imagine a more modern cell phone. Here it is.

– Setting the video to recorrd a show. Calling home to make sure your parents remembered to record a show. Being excited to watch the video, only to find out they’d missed the end or taped over it. Then having absolutely NO way to see it, no catch up, no I Player, no +1 channel.

– Terrible photos that cant be deleted. Going to get your film developed and looking through the photos. This one I’m kind of sad for him about, as it was just the most fun to see photos you’d pretty much forgotten taking, and to be excited over the ones that came out well. Digital photography definitely saves a lot of embarassment and money though.

I’m really okay about all of these things being gone, and I think for the most part he is better off for all the new technology of this generation. What scares me a bit is that he will have his own list of technology which no longer exists when he has his own children, things that we dont even know about yet. By then I may be one of those grandparents, that (with all the effort and good intentions in the world) cant turn predictive text off their phone, keeps emailing their entire address book simultaneously, and calls your new smartphone a “blueberry.”

In short, I may be like these two. http://youtu.be/FcN08Tg3PWw