Unexpectedly Explicit: The Pitfalls and Advantages of Watching Television with Your Teens

Recently, I was watching a cable television show with my 14-year-old daughter when, suddenly, the couple onscreen tore off their clothes and began having sweaty and graphic simulated sex. I found myself staring straight ahead, face hot, until the camera cut away.

As the show proceeded, I wondered: Should I have lunged across the couch and covered my daughter’s eyes? Turned it off? Said something to make the moment less awkward? (Like, “Check out that guy’s pecs! Do you think he works out?”) Or should I have avoided the show all together, insisting we watch something more firmly grounded in PG-13 territory?

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