Do you know what your teenagers are watching? If it's 10 on a Monday night, you might want to check that it's not what the Parents Television Council (PTC) has called "the most dangerous program that has ever been foisted on your children." In response to PTC, Salon observed, with characteristic snark, that such warnings are the best PR a TV show can get. They may have a point: the pilot episode of Skins, airing this week on MTV, got the highest rating for a new scripted series ever, garnering 3.3 million viewers, which Entertainment Weekly calls a "strong start." Most of those watching (2.7 million) were within the "coveted 12-34 demographic" group.

But I doubt the kids are paying much attention to the PTC. The show's big splash was due to at least two other factors. First, Skins is based on a successful British version, which has even fewer moral boundaries than the American show. Second, it was greatly hyped through social media well before its debut, creating an online community of young fans before it even aired; within days of the premiere, it had nearly 10,000 Twitter followers.

Newsweek describes Skins as a "controversial new series" that "portrays teens as experimental and sex-obsessed, lying to their parents and sneaking out at night. In other words, it shows them as they really are." Well, I was once a teen, so I find it hard to disagree with this characterization, but that doesn't make the show okay.

Don't get me wrong. My pop-culture sensibilities are far from sensitive. (I'm even a member of that secret cult of Christian women who surreptitiously watch Sex and The City - or at least the edited versions that have gone into syndication.) The problem with Skins isn't just the elements that border on the pornographic ...

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