Overprotective Parents

January 31, 2010


Heinz has got British parents all a flutter with their latest television advert, which has just been pulled from our screens.

Featuring a man with a New York accent, dressed like a deli chef, making sandwiches in a homely kitchen. He is supposed to represent the modern mother, who with the help of Heinz Deli Mayo, can make even the moldiest cheese sandwich taste like a New York sub.

Not that this Stone Age vision of family life is what has gotten the paternal knickers in a twist. It’s the fact that, as the ads end, just as the haggard father rushes off to work, “mom” pulls him back for a quick peck on the lips before he goes out to chop some wood, or fight bears or do whatever it is we men are supposed to do to earn a living.

Parents told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the ad was inappropriate and unsuitable for children. In these knife happy days, the fact that two men trading spit in a post watershed advertisement gets parents in a tizzy bothers me.

These are undoubtedly the same parents who considered the Newsround coverage of Mark Speight’s death “sick and appalling”. Despite the fact the show never made any mention of his suicide or his drug use, some parents saw fit to complain about the show reporting the story at all. Perhaps they would have been happier if Newsround had just announced that Speight had left cBeebies and gone to live on a farm like several of Blue Peter’s cats and dogs.

Why in this day and age are we still obsessed with protecting our children’s innocence? By wrapping them up in cotton wool all we do is breed another generation as ignorant, small minded and backward as the last. While I believe children are growing up too fast, shielding them from the realities of the day is not the answer.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. A BBC spokesman has said that hundreds of children have gotten in touch to express their sympathy at Speight’s passing and say how important and influential he was to them.

Perhaps if parents were to treat their children as the mature children Newsround see them to be the UK would finish a little higher than last in a UNICEF league of European countries for child well-being.

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