Are You Being Preached at when You Watch TV?

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Remember when your favorite TV show promised a “special episode” of the series? Usually this meant the show would tackle a sensitive topic, such as teen pregnancy, drugs or sexually transmitted disease.

Some shows today are also using their series as a platform for current social issues. Kids today are a bit more cynical, so weaving messages into their favorite shows may be a better way of communicating than just telling them outright.

How It Works

Producers of hit shows such as “Raising Hope,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Family Guy” work with advisors of campaigns that help educate teens about pregnancy, drugs, drinking and diseases. The producers create storylines around a particular campaign to help raise awareness about a topic they feel kids (or even adults) may need to learn a little more about. This is “subliminal” advertising in a way; you’re learning about something important when you think you’re just watching television.

The reason why campaign advisors like employing this method of communication is because it’s largely not expected. Kids and adults don’t usually sit down to watch their favorite TV show and expect to learn valuable information. Kids may tune out the information in a school setting, but when they are watching television (particularly comedies) they are all ears.

Opening a Dialogue

Your teenager may be glued to her computer, looking up what SEO service is for a school project. How do you step inside her world and talk about teen pregnancy with her without it being awkward or unwanted? Shows like MTV’s “Teen Mom” are a great way to open a dialogue with your teenager about a serious issue. “Teen Mom” shows the reality of teen pregnancy, and watching shows like this with your child may be a good way to broach an awkward subject in a less tense environment.

Using media to get kids to thinking about social issues isn’t a new concept, but they are improving this method every day. Instead of sitting down to an “After School Special” that you (and your teen) know is about a difficult topic, it may be easier to sit down to an episode of “Family Guy” that humorously brings up that same topic.

The Success Of Shows with Social Messages

When you have a break from researching SEO for ecommerce or the best flea treatment for your dog, check out a very successful social messaging show: “Glee.” “Glee,” which airs on the Fox network, discusses serious social issues including homosexuality, bullying and racism, and it makes them funny, entertaining, and musical! The show resonates with teenagers because it talks about the things they want to talk about, but are too uncomfortable to bring up in daily life. Sometimes using TV as a social messaging platform does a lot of good, and it’s a great way to reach kids that aren’t as open about social issues.

In today’s world, social messaging is a great and perhaps gentler way of reaching out to our teenagers to talk to them about the issues they deal with every day.

Guest post contributed by Michael who blogs about everything from social messaging through television shows to how the right SEO service can improve your website.