Should Our Kids Watch Soaps?

I came across an article the other day and I have to say that coming from one of it’s long standing members of cast, I think parents should take note.

The article basically refers to some of Eastenders legend Dot Cotton’s (actress June Brown’s) comments in recent interviews where she states that she thinks the soaps are not suitable for children.

Hear, hear!!

I am absolutely resolute in my opinion on this matter and I agree wholeheartedly with June..


In fact it really angers me that they’re on before the watershed. They are completely unsuitable. They are not meant for children, have very adult themes and only teach them aspects of life that they need not know yet.

I feel as though it’s unfair of broadcasters to air them before the watershed as it gives parents the belief that they must be relatively fine for children to watch, otherwise they wouldn’t be on so early, right?

I mean, yes – we could have our young children in bed before Coronation Street or Eastenders, but what about Emmerdale or even Hollyoaks?! Waterloo Road is another offender as far as I’m concerned! These are the main ones that kids want to watch.

And yes – us parents should use our discretion to decide at what age the content in soaps IS suitable, but why are WE making these decisions? Why are we getting into arguments with our children who want to watch something because their mates are watching it, and trying to justify our decision to deny them when they’re on so early?

I don’t think children younger than high school age or maybe even the early teenage years should be watching, personally.

I used to love the soaps and watched them all religiously until my eldest son got to a certain age, when I started to notice that he would stop whatever he was doing and be absolutely transfixed.  He seem completely enthralled with them, especially Eastenders. Probably something to do with the full on half hour of shouting and anger….. my little boy would stare at the TV screen, utterly absorbed. I remember one evening, when I was busy tidying up and sorting things out, not even really watching the tele that was on in the living room, there he was, my little boy sitting there glued to Eastenders in an almost hypnotic state!!

It could grab his attention better than any kids programme!!

It was then that I starting questioning myself and whether this type of viewing was suitable. I don’t know if the soaps story lines have got much more grittier and graphic over the years or whether my awareness was heightened and I just became more sensitive to them because I had a small child. Soaps are constantly competing with each other for top ratings resulting in sensationalised, shocking story lines, especially over the Christmas period.

The thing with soaps is, especially from the viewpoint of children, they seem real. The characters look and act like real people, which is obviously the intention, but there really is something that draws the viewer in, no matter how old the viewer may be apparently!!!

But it’s showing children aspects of life that aren’t the norm. So why would we want to frighten our poor kids by introducing them to the nasty side of life that really isn’t necessary?

Drugs, alcoholism, abortion, rape, fighting, death, criminality….. etc. Is this what we want the innocent minds of our children to see?!!


Children are inquisitive and easily influenced so for me it was a simple decision to make.

I didn’t want my son seeing any of it anymore.

So we stopped watching them completely. I decided it was too much hassle to record them and watch them back myself as I didn’t have enough hours in the day so that was it. No more soaps.

My eldest son has just turned 15 and he still doesn’t watch the soaps, he’s not interested so I think I’ve probably done him a favour!! We have three younger children too so we’ve never had them on since in this house.

I haven’t missed them at all to be honest, they take up far too much time and I prefer not to be stressing about missing an episode anyway!!

Do you let your children watch?



  1. I am so with you on this. We were never allowed as children to watch soaps (mind you, we were generally early to bed even if we were reading, unlike lots of children today), although we used to watch Eastenders, we’ve now lost the habit and don’t watch it or follow it. Life’s hard enough without putting ourselves through watching something so depressing. And it’s definitely not suitable for children of primary school, if younger secondary school either.

    We weren’t allowed to watch Grange Hill either (and that was aimed at children) – because my mum believed it encourage children to think that it could be normal to go against rules and play up/disrespect teachers. We were probably the only kids who didn’t watch it, but i can’t say I felt like I missed out at the time. we were too interested in other things like sport, music, and dancing.

  2. I agree that most of these shouldn’t be watched by children. I think that is where parents need to parent and make the right decisions. Too many people want to allow the TV to be the babysitter these days.

  3. I agree with you totally!

    Infact we’ve given up TV altogether, it’s been 3 years now!!
    My boys have TVs in there room, not tuned in though, just for Xbox (which is probably worse tbh lol) and DVDs. But we don’t have one in the lounge or kitchen either, so no TV is watched. I will sometimes watch the odd documentary via my iPad, but that’s it. The kids couldn’t care less and we don’t miss it in the slightest :)x

  4. Oddly I am on the opposite side of the fence from you. Yes, I agree not for younger children. But I have teens and they all watch soaps, mostly Hollyoaks.

    Last week my 14 year old’s RE teacher remarked how my daughter was always able to come up with an argument when they were debating the ethics of something, and all because she watches soaps. The teacher basically said this was a good thing adn we went on to talk about it at parents evening.

    Next term they will be doing the ethics around euthanasia. Is it right or wrong? They are encouraged to watch Coronation St where a character is going to excercise her “Right to Die” against the wishes of her husband.

    When discussing the ethics of abortion they were encouraged to watch Vera Drake.

    I think it isall about the age of the children and the context. Soaps are not real life but they do often tackle issues that are real for many families.

    • Mummy Endeavours says

      I think it’s ok for teenagers and maybe slightly younger if the individual is mature enough to understand the issues of the storyline. And if a particular storyline raises awareness of a subject they are learning about then that’s great. X

  5. I agree, soaps are not suitable material for children. They exaggerate all the bad aspects of life and human behaviour, and could definitely have a negative influence. I have stopped watching them too! #PoCoLo

  6. I don’t want any soaps myself, so can’t see a time that my kids will as they won’t be on in the house, but I do agree with you that the themes they share should be post-watershed.

  7. Monkey is nearly 4 so we don’t have to worry about this just yet, but I believe in early bedtimes and never have the TV at that time anyway. Watch this space in a couple of years time! #PoCoLo

  8. I definitely think soaps are not suited for young children. I think Mummy Barrow has an interesting point in her comments about teenagers but then again TV scriptwriters tend and need to dramatise. I hardly watch TV and I have a rule that my kids are not allowed to watch any TV or films on school nights apart from Fridays.

  9. Since leaving the UK we don’t watch any soaps (or live TV for that matter)! Having said that, I stopped watching Eastenders years ago, too depressing (and at times nasty!) and never really watched Corrie or any of the others. I wouldn’t let my kids watch them now, but once they’re in High School I think some of the story lines do raise awareness of issues and that can be a useful addition (an accessible representation of an issue, that their friends are also watching, to trigger debate), so can understand the comment from MummyBarrow above. But day to day, they are just too depressing, and often ridiculous, to watch regularly! #PoCoLo

  10. I agree, soaps are not suitable for young children, the attitudes in most of them are not what I want to encourage. My kids are in bed by the time they start at the moment, but I will be making sure they are not watching them when they are old enough to stay up at that time.

  11. I have to say that I don’t really watch much telly these days! I used to be stuck to Eastenders all the time and I do think that the acting is fab! That said I think that the best ‘soap’ for me when I was younger was Grange Hill. I think that they have similar on CBBC these days and am happy for Grace to stay there for now! Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

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