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Posted in Education
June 1st, 2018

Show Dogs and Cosmo After Dark: Thousands of People Raised Their Voices Against Inappropriate Content

It seems as if the media is pushing a sexual agenda more and more lately and there is nothing to stop it. Perhaps you wish there was something you could do to make a difference, to stop our youth from overexposure to pornography and other trafficking-related issues. Why can’t we just raise our voices and make it stop?

You can.

Just in the month of May, there have been two big instances where millions of parents have taken a stand and made a difference.

If you haven’t heard already, the movie Show Dogs came out last month on May 18th. Many parents who took their children to see this movie walked out of the theater with various negative reactions, from feeling awkward to being horrified.

Grooming Messages Apparent in Show Dogs

The two main characters are Max (a talking police dog) and Frank (his human partner) who end up competing in a dog show in order to save a kidnapped panda.

A mom, Terina Maldonado, reviews movies for the Macaroni Kid website. She brought her kids to see this movie and walked away knowing that she needed to talk to have an important conversation with her children. She wrote an article called, Show Dogs, Don’t Let Your Children Be Groomed, Use This to Teach Them.

In real-life dog shows, the dogs are judged in part by their physical looks, including having their private parts inspected. This was unnecessarily weaved into the storyline of this kids’ movie. This is how Maldonado described it:

Being that Max is new to competing, he needs to learn the process so his partner, Frank, along with a former show champion work to get him ready for the final round of the competition.  Since the inspection of the private parts will happen in the finals, Frank touches Max’s private parts to get him use to it.  Of course, Max doesn’t like it and snaps at Frank for him to stop.  Max is then told by the former champion, who has been through the process before, that he needs to go to his “zen place” while it happens so he can get through it.  More attempts are made by Frank to touch Max’s private parts, but Max is still having trouble letting it happen and keeps snapping at him.

For young kids, their understanding of this message may be that sometimes it may be okay for someone you know to touch your private parts – you just need to not think about it and you will be rewarded for the discomfort. She continues,

The day of the finals come and if Max doesn’t let his private parts be touched, he may lose the competition and any hope of finding the kidnapped panda.  It all rests on his ability to let someone touch his private parts.  The judge’s hands slowly reach behind Max and he goes to his “zen place”.  He’s flying through the sky, dancing with his partner, there are fireworks and flowers-everything is great-all while someone is touching his private parts.

Child predators groom children by pressuring them into behaviors that they are not comfortable with. Most of the time child victims know their predator personally and they are bribed or threatened to make the abuse easier.

The close inspection of dogs does happen in real dog shows, but the messaging in this movie was inappropriate for young children. Although it was portrayed as humorous in the movie, children do not need to be taught to go to their “zen place” when someone wants to touch their private parts and they feel uncomfortable. Instead, children should be taught how to say no in difficult situations.

Parents complained, movie was pulled from all theaters for editing

After millions of people read the Macaroni Kid review and this For Every Mom blog post, it was clear that parents wanted something done about this movie. Within a week, Global Road Entertainment announced that they would pull the film out of theaters and edit it.

Edits were “disappointing”

Show Dogs was put back into theaters in time for Memorial Day weekend, but unfortunately, the edits did not elicit a positive response. One headline read, “DECEIVED: Show Dogs Movie Still Contains Scenes of Genital Touching.”

Global Road Entertainment had made a few edits on the movie but ultimately failed to remove the parts that concerned parents.

Two theaters take a stand

A few theaters still did not agree with the edited version of Show Dogs. One theater posted a warning about the movie, stating that they had reviewed the edited version and described what scenes remained.

Another theater completely refused to show the movie. When the edited version came back, they invited a few mothers to review the edited version to see the difference.

Cosmo After Dark: An “X-Rated” channel on Snapchat accessible by kids

On May 18th (coincidentally the same day that Show Dogs came out), a new channel was launched on Snapchat in the Discover section. It is called “Cosmo After Dark,” by Cosmopolitan. There already is a lack of parental controls on Snapchat, and this new channel seemed to heighten that problem.

Any Snapchat user can subscribe to this channel, but worse, any child can fly under the radar by simply watching the channel whenever they want without subscribing. This content is readily available to any kid that stumbles upon it in an app that is used daily but countless pre-teens and teens. Chris Mckenna, a contributor on the Protect Young Eyes team, presents a compelling analogy:

“’But, Chris, not all kids who use Snapchat browse the Discover section.’ I’ll concede – this might be true. But, in analog terms, would anyone in the 1990’s have thought it was a good idea to hand their 8th-grade son or daughter a 3-page magazine where pictures of their close friends were on page one, pictures of people they kind of know are on page two, and porn is on page three? As soon as we translate a digital situation to an analog example, it clearly doesn’t make any sense.”

Cosmo After Dark discontinued

Just like the Show Dogs situation, millions of people read Protect Young Eyes’ article about Cosmo After Dark and it was shared so much that Cosmopolitan replied to Protect Young Eyes on Twitter with the decision to discontinue the channel, which was apparently just a pilot version.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

The most important takeaway from these experiences is that raising your voice matters.

It all started with parents and bloggers using their resources to issue warnings to parents about extreme content. These articles skyrocketed as millions of parents around the world read the online reviews and wanted something done. Their voices made a difference. Cosmo After Dark is gone, and more parents are aware of the apparent grooming messages to kids in Show Dogs. Their voices started a conversation. When the media’s goal is to make more money by selling sexualized content, our children need us to protect their young minds by saying no. Our children need someone to fight for them, to teach them what is appropriate and how to avoid abuse. By teaching our children to protect themselves on the internet, we are working to prevent grooming for trafficking. We are incredibly grateful for all the people involved in taking a stand on these issues and for the changes made.


What can YOU Do?

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As a community member, you can learn the signs of trafficking and report to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888) if you see something suspicious. Read the story of how 6-year-old Morgan was rescued because someone spoke up HERE

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