RACY PREMIER. in a scene from the adolescent drama Skins, Tea (Sofia Black-D’elia) and Tony (James Newman) embrace.


Recently the new MTV show Skins has Parent Television Council heads exploding. With accusations like the “most dangerous show for children,” the question of legality comes into play. The main concerns about the show, which is a copy of the British version by the same name, are that it is suggestive to minors and that it violates United States child pornography laws.

Skins follows the lives of several teenagers through their drug infused and sexually charged escapades. Fans of the British original feared MTV would tone down the explicit content for America’s prudish masses; Britain is known for its lax attitude toward televised promiscuity. Those fans, however, were wrong. The show maintains its drug and sex references, which have parent groups and cable providers taking notice and preparing to fight.

As for the complaint of suggesting inappropriate material to minors, MTV does a good job of alerting that the material is mature. Not only is the show rated TV-MA, unsuitable for those under 17, but there is a warning before each episode that makes viewers aware of the risqué content ahead. Protective groups should be equally concerned with the hordes of underage teens that sneak into R-rated movies to view similar material.

Additionally, critics of the show say that it glorifies bad behavior, specifically using drugs and having sex. On the contrary, Skins features very real and immediate consequences of immoral behavior. Unless viewers are attracted to the ideas of dealing with a severe overdose, being in debt to a drug dealer or nearly drowning in a car driven into a lake, they will not try any of these actions soon.

Instead of censoring television shows, parents should worry about monitoring their own children’s behavior and teaching them the consequences of actions they deem inappropriate.

Furthermore, the allegations of child pornography are equally bogus. The idea that this disgusting crime is being trivialized to apply here is not only grotesque but incorrect.

The episode in question features one of the characters, played by 17-year-old Jesse Carere, running down the street with his backside exposed after being locked out of his home. The nudity of the character is present for a comedic effect, not a sexual one. Since United States laws dictate child pornography as “any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct”, the episode is clearly not in danger of breaking any laws.

In this case, as with many others, protective groups have again jumped the gun and missed the distinction between propaganda and entertainment. Young adults should be given the opportunity to distinguish right from wrong and analyze consequences of the actions they see, without protective organizations censoring the television they watch.

See the trailer here (mature content)


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