MTV’s new racy new teen show “Skins” has come under fire by conservative children’s groups, leading the The New York Times to proclaim that the music station’s executives are in a panic. More likely they are high fiving each other.

They’ve got an unquestionably controversial show on their hands that has sparked a national debate and caused some squeamish advertisers to jump ship. But by now most of the nation probably knows about the show and ratings are through the roof.

Although critics claim the show is nothing more than child pornography, it hardly meets the legal definition of such, despite its racy content. And, defenders say it is merely exploring a world that already exists.
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“It’s pushing the boundaries for teen drama because I think ‘Skins’ goes where other shows are afraid to,” Sofia Black-D’Elia, who plays a lesbian teen on the show, tells popeater.

“It’s what teens are doing. It’s the way teenagers believe, I think, especially you know in certain situations when you come from home lives where your parents don’t really support you or really listen to you. That’s what most of these kids are going through.”

But is it really what teens or doing? Or will it encourage them to engage in similar behavior?

Critics believe television has a tendency to legitimize social pathologies by creating an aura of cool, especially when the behavior is bad.

More than 3.3 million tuned in for the first episode, and most of them were in MTV’s key demographic, between ages 12-34. Thanks to the publicity the show will likely draw even more.
But, as in the case with “Skins,” and other controversial television shows, a dialogue usually follows, and that’s a good thing.

Because out of the discussion, kids will come to their own conclusions about the behavior they see, and whether parents are capable of believing it or not, they are also able to make informed decisions.

In fact, “Skins” hardly pushes the envelope at all. It’s based on a British series and a movie, “Kids” filmed way back in 1995 that explored the lives of sexually active young teens in New York City.

Parents can always block the channel if they think their kids are too impressionable or too immature to handle the content.

But better yet, they should sit down with them and discuss the show, as kids are already doing among themselves at school.

They might find that their kids are more tuned in to the dangers of dysfunction than they think.