I broke one of my Daddy guidelines with The Girl last night. Normally, I am hyper-vigilant about her media consumption and I try to filter as much of the content she sees and hears before it gets to her. I know we only have a few years where we are in control of the messages she gets, so I want to take advantage of it.
Last night, in a moment of what I can only describe as sheer technology enthusiasm, I let my filter down.
See, The Girl is a big fan of audio books. She uses them to help her get through the nap period at preschool. She hasn’t napped in over a year, but her preschool still has to have a mandatory period of quiet time each afternoon while the younger kids sleep. So to help her pass the time, I got her an MP3 player and have been loading it with audio books from her collection. Yesterday, I discovered I can download audio books from our local library.
Here’s where my geek enthusiasm took over. I was so excited to try out the process that I went straight to the kids books and searched for audio books for her. The only thing that looked vaguely age appropriate was an anthology called Junie B. Jones. My wife mentioned that the name was familiar, probably from the Scholastic book order forms that roll through pre-school every once in awhile. That was enough of a recommendation for me, and off I went and downloaded it, set it up on the mp3 player and handed it over to The Girl, who spent the next 2 hours mesmerized by the tales of Junie B. Jones.
It was only then that my own media filter twiged and I realized that I had no idea what my kid was listening to. So I went to my favorite source for all things kid media, Common Sense Media and read the reviews by both parents and the site editors.
If you are not familiar with Junie B. Jones, here are a few selected comments from the reviews.
Parents need to know that much of the humor comes from Junie’s bad behavior. Young readers are supposed to laugh at it, not emulate it.
I am left of the left when it comes to most anything in this world. And, I eagerly encourage my children to read and love books. HOWEVER, Junie B. Jones is the closest I’ve ever gotten to banning a book in our house. The grammar/language is just horrible and the stories of misbehavior are way too numerous and validates, for a preschooler,rude behavior.
Junie is a handful. If your child is ‘spirited,’ impressionable and/or highly dramatic and she reads this book, soon you will have a handful on your hands, too. I know several mothers who have banned these books from their house because their dramatic girls suddenly think it’s great to sock their little brothers and to back-talk like mad
Well, you can see why I was regretful for my lapse in judgment. I immediately listened to the audio book and realized I completely agreed with all the reviews. Junie B. Jones is terrible.
Needless to say, the digital Junie has been returned to the library. Nice thing about working with a 5 year old is that she stills believes me when I tell her the digital audio file needs to be returned to the library.
This highlights why I truly appreciate a site like Common Sense Media. Not that I neccesarily agree with every review they post, but their reviews combined with other parent reviews makes it a great starting point when it comes to evaluating age appropriate media.
The site has recently undergone a homepage makeover to make finding info even easier than before. If you need a good starting place when it comes to figuring out of something is appropriate for your kids to view, read, play or listen to, consider starting at Common Sense Media.