Morality Meter

MTV and morality? For as long as I can remember, MTV has had a reputation of promoting controversial behavior. From binge drinking to bar fights; from sex crazed Real Worlders to drug addicts, MTV has documented what appears to be the drama of “life”. I mean it’s good TV I suppose, but when I read this article about MTV’s new project to clean up youngsters digital conduct, I was a bit skeptical.

In an effort to create awareness between proper and offensive behavior in the digital world, MTV has launched “Over the Line,” an online application that allows users to rate whether their text messages, emails, and other digital messages cross the line from being “innocent to inappropriate.”

“The new tool lets teens share and rate stories about sexting, constant messages, spying, cyberbullying, digital-dating abuse and other forms of abuse. The idea is that, along the way, the teens will figure out which behaviors really are ‘over the line.’”

While I think this is all well and good, I wonder how a network like MTV can provide a real sense of morality when most of its shows are promoting just the opposite. Can it be said that because it is known for promoting inappropriate behavior, that this application will provide a comfortable space to share opinions on what people feel is indecent in the digital world? Or is this just an effort by MTV to counterbalance its scandalous shows with a sense of social responsibility?

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5 thoughts on “Morality Meter

  1. I feel as long as MTV still airs their current line-up, they can’t be fully invested in reaching out to teens and correcting inappropriate behavior. It’s hypocritical and when they’re seeing things on the network and then asked to use this tool the lines are definitely blurred. Sure, I think it’s good MTV is trying to make aware these problems facing teens, but what teens see on TV and how that translates into real life is essentially the big problem. If they want to combat sexting and online sexual harassment, they need to put their foot down and air shows not promoting this behavior.

  2. I think that Mtv is trying to make the current generation more moral and upstanding in the same way that shows like Tool Academy and Bad Girls Club are trying to make their contestants more moral and upstanding. The goal is not to create better citizens, it’s to make money off of the shallow and disturbing culture they created. This MTV application is probably serving not to be a judge and jury of the morals on this generation, but to get ideas for new shows. Don’t be surprised when “True Life: I’m a compulsive Sex-ter” is in the fall line up.

  3. I think you’re right Carla. I feel like almost anything we see on TV or online, regardless of the network, is for a profit. While I think you could argue that MTV might actually care to have a hand in social responsibility, I always question the ‘whys’. In this case, I think it’s definitely to bring in more revenue, to create more buzz on their website, and as you said, come up with another ridiculous “True Life” episode. Doesn’t seem like truly genuine motives to clean up youngsters digital dialogue, does it? Well, I’ll just have to wait for that episode….can’t wait.

  4. Carla K! You’re so right. They’re just getting ideas for their next lineup! I mean really, who is MTV (host of Panama Spring Break) to judge my moral standards? For a second, if this was a genuine concern of MTV, don’t you think they could put a little more effort into promoting the concept? It’s just an online ‘application’. How many kids are going to actually go to this website and report ‘over the line’ acts? Maybe I could see this working if those replying were to get actively involved on the site with feedback, etc. But I stand by my sword when I say, MTV should not be making any judgments on teen behavior anytime soon, when they quite possibly could have been a proponent of the behavior somewhere along the line.

  5. I actually believe this might work not only for marketing purposes but to assist in a better understanding of what the newer generation considers “moral.” I don’t agree that all of MTV’s shows are shallow. The show 16 & Pregnant, as controversial as it is for some folks, actually lets teens/young adults better understand the consequences of having sex. Most parents attempt to shield their children from such stories but if they aren’t having “the talk” with them then who will? I was skeptical at first aswell because I have a teenage younger sister but if she doesn’t see the real hardships of having a child at a young age, she will become as oblivious as other teens.

    Another show is True Life, they have several series which can be beneficial in educating young teens about the negative effects of drugs, drinking, partying, no higher education, etc. They are getting the same information we provide them while they’re growing up but when we try to inform them, they shrug it off. By seeing it on TV, they can actually look a little deeper into certain issues they have questions over but are afraid of asking.

    The Real World and Tool Academy are definitely shows I don’t see a purpose for but I honestly feel that MTV is seen as outrageous and they will begin using that notoriety (in this case) to better understand the young teens they are marketing.

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