Monday, January 5, 2015

An Open Letter to Nine News Perth

Dear Nine News Perth,

Today was an absolute STINKER of a day. But you know that, right?

It got up to mind melting 44.4 degrees. But you know that, too, right?

I know you know because in the ad breaks of this afternoons movie you kept telling me. Funnily enough, I actually worked out that it was hot all by myself. Being covered in sweat despite sitting under a fan was a useful clue.

My issue, and the catalyst behind this open letter, is not to just faff on about the weather or even the triumphant return of Liam Bartlett whose sultry tones can talk to me about anything and I'd still enjoy it, but rather to complain. Because what good is an open letter if you don't whinge, amiright?

You see, my kids were watching the 1pm movie. Well sorta. The big one was, the little one was running in and out of the lounge, asking for food and, at one point, trying to sit on the dog. But I digress.

It was too hot to let the kids go outside past 7:30am (I know this because that's the time we left the park) so I let my four year old watch a movie on the couch after lunch.

We flicked through the channels to see what was on, and the straight to DVD classic, Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove, caught the preschooler's eye.

Brilliant! He can enjoy the mish mash of CGI and green screen with the "acting" of Bindi Irwin and I can feel smug in the fact that I can almost chalk this up as educational TV time. Orcas and conservation FTW!

Then your ad came on.

Immediately, horrid images filled the screen. Houses on fire and smashed cars. We heard that many houses had been destroyed; the car crash was fatal.

I get you want to advertise, and that's just dandy, but because you placed these awful images in the ad breaks of a CHILDREN'S MOVIE during the SCHOOL HOLIDAYS I'm now having to explain to my petrified four year old that (fingers crossed) our house isn't about to burn down and we won't die in a pile of twisted metal on the way to pick up his Dad in the afternoon.

Did you know a lot of preschoolers can be a bit obsessed with death? So it's not that I've got some morbid little freak here that is on his way to becoming a psychopath, it's a stage of development and they want to know what happens. Usually I can field his questions with age appropriate responses, but it makes it hard when you're showing everything but a dead body.

I figured that maybe it had been put on in error, but the ad kept coming on. Three times that I'm aware of - after that I managed to get there in time to flick channels during the ad breaks in an attempt to not further traumatize the kid who insisted on finding out whether Willy was freed. I kept watching to be chief channel flicker and to find out if Willy ate Beau Bridges. One of us was right, but I don't want to spoil it for you, so I won't say any more.

I don't let my kids watch the news because they don't need to see or hear about the horror in the world. They know bad things happen, but right now the most horrific thing in my four year old's life is not getting a new dinky car at the shops. He's little and I want him to retain that wide eyed innocence for a while longer before full time school, or rather recess and lunch, helps whisk it away. So pretty please, Nine News, if you're going to put on ads during a movie aimed at children, please consider that children might actually be watching.

Yours sincerely,


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