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GOSSIP GIRLHaving tuned in to the “Gossip Girl” premiere Monday evening with my 16-year-old, and followed that up with a dash of “Hills” and as much *yawn* “90210” as I could stand, I’m finding it difficult to keep vapid, like, you know, language out of this, OMG, blog post. Totally, right? While most parenting watchdog types tell you to shun such racy fare, Liz Perle at Common Sense Media has a refreshing take this morning. Perle says she uses “teen soaps’ over-the-top plots as a great way to have non-loaded discussions with my teens about touchy subjects like sex, drugs, and alcohol” but this week’s viewing left her mulling negative role models – anorexic, alcoholic, bed-hopping, drama-obsessed TV characters.
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Posted on Friday, September 5th, 2008
Under: Gossip Girl, TV | No Comments »

DANVILLE Moms on “Today” Tomorrow

Plate-Mate We’re guessing spilled peas prompted this invention. Two enterprising Danville moms, Michele Wong and Paige Akabane, invented a way to keep their tots’ food corralled on the plate. Now, their Plate-Mate – a spill guard that fits around the rim of junior’s plate – has won a slew of awards. Catch Paige on the “Today Show” tomorrow morning.

Posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, Gossip Girl, Teens | No Comments »

GOSSIP GIRL’S “Mind-Blowingly Inappropriate” Ads

Gossip Girl promoSo “Gossip Girl,” the CW’s frothy soap about privileged, extraordinarily good-looking, prep school teens is back in the news, this time for its racy ads. Wait. Didn’t we talk about this a few months ago? That’s when their ads featured a certain gorgeous blonde, spotted on the East Side, going at it hot and heavy with her BFF’s BF. XOXO. Anyway, the tagline on that ad was “OMFG,” which made the Parents Television Council writhe in horror. (And OK, we laughed, because mainstream magazines use four-letter words these days, and the PTC is upset about letters of the alphabet? Those letters are probably flying right over the heads of everyone outside the Gossip Girl demographic anyway.)

Now, the newest GG ads show their beautiful cast members kissing, lounging, whatever over a new set of taglines, each one a quote from a reviewer: “Every Parent’s Nightmare,” “A Nasty Piece of Work” and “Mind-Blowingly Inappropriate” — a quote from the Parents Television Council review. And man, is the PTC steamed. So, what do you think? Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and dish…

Posted on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
Under: Gossip Girl | No Comments »

“Gossip Girl” and your kids

GOSSIP GIRLGossip Girl” made a major splash this fall as the top rated show among teens, says USA Today, and the number one seller on iTunes. Among parents, it’s another thing entirely: a worrisome mélange of sex, drinking, bad decisions and swanky high school parties. Think “Sex in the City” for the underage set. Common Sense Media suggests that parents watch with their teens and use the show as a jumping off point for some serious discussion.

What’s happening in your home? Are you watching this show with your kids? Banning it from your airwaves? Or is it just a dash of frothy fun? Click “comments” and share your thoughts.
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007
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Teen drinking

glassUnder age drinking is not just the stuff of frothy TV, although the denizens of “Gossip Girl” drink an unbelievable amount of martinis and champagne. Middle and high school binge drinking is an “epidemic” say health experts. We explore that topic in today’s Contra Costa Times. Find out more by following these links:
** The US Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Underage Drinking, with info for families.
** California Healthy Kids Survey of seventh, ninth and eleventh graders, with reports divided by district.
** Columbia University’s National Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse 2006 study on student and parent perspectives on alcohol and drug use.
** National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report on underage drinking, risks and medical impact.
** report on the latest research on underage binge drinking.
** For a teen perspective, check out I Should be Doing My Homework, the Times’ teen blog.
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2007
Under: Gossip Girl, Health & Safety, Kids & Tweens, Teens | No Comments »

Kid Nation vs. Sex in the City for teens

GOSSIP GIRLBetween the debut of “Kid Nation” – 40 kids building their own society in the Wild West – and the launch of sexy “Gossip Girl” (pictured above, courtesy of the CW) tonight should be a hot one for parents. We’ve been listening to colleagues Ann Tatko-Peterson and Chuck Barney weigh in on the Kid Nation conceit – Ann was horrified by the contracts parents signed that gave up all oversight of their children’s safety to a bunch of money-grubbing television producers, while TV critic Chuck is taking a wait-and-see approach. And the Times’ parent poll, which asks the question “Would you let your kids do this?” is running 72 percent against. So now we’re really curious…which is exactly what CBS intended.

As for “Gossip Girl,” the series is based on Cecily von Ziegesar’s popular YA novels that young tweens started snatching up a few years ago. Apparently, their parents saw the nice pastel covers and didn’t bother peeking inside or even reading the jacket blurbs, which called it “Sex and the City” for the teen set. And sexy it is, but what’s more concerning is the amount of alcohol the sexy teen prepsters blithely consume in the pilot episode tonight – champagne, limoncello, and vodka – with little in the way of consequences…

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Posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007
Under: Gossip Girl, Kid Nation | No Comments »