Television

US parents favour limiting sex, violence on TV in the early evening

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MUMBAI: With recent studies suggesting that television has an impact on teen violence and sex in American society, it should come as no surprise that concerned parents want the content toned down.



A majority of parents in the US have expressed concern about the amount of sex (60 per cent) and violence (53 per cent) their children are exposed to on TV.



According to a survey released by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 63 per cent of the respondents said that they favour new regulations to limit the amount of sex and violence in TV shows during the early evening. At that time children are most likely to be watching. Thirty five per cent have opposed the suggestion.



Television a greater threat than other media: Is the idiot box having a more harmful effect on kids than surfing the net or watching movies? Yes. Overall parents are more concerned about inappropriate content on TV than in other media. Thirty four per cent have indicated that TV concerns them the most, compared to 16 per cent who cited the Internet. Ten per cent cited the cinema, seven per cent music, and five per cent video games. Half of all the parents surveyed have stated that they have used the TV ratings to help guide their children's viewing,



While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had raised a big noise over the infamous Janet Jackson incident at this year's Super Bowl, only 17 per cent of the parents were 'very' concerned about the impact of the incident on their children.



The survey is titled Parents, Media, and Public Policy. Nearly 1001 parents were surveyed through the telephone from 12 July to 3 August 2004. Fifty five per cent of the parents said that ratings should be displayed more prominently and 57 per cent said that they would rather keep the current rating systems than switch to a single rating for TV, movies, video games, and music.



When read the competing arguments for subjecting cable TV to the same content standards as broadcasters, half of all the parents said that cable should be treated the same.



Parents are satisfied with the prevalent ratings system. Fifty two per cent of the respondents said that most TV shows are rated accurately. Four in ten said that most are not.



Lack of awareness over TV ratings guidelines: What is worrying however is that many parents don't understand what the various ratings guidelines mean. For example only 28 per cent of parents of young children (2-6 years old) know what the rating TV-Y7 means. It means that the show is suitable for kids aged over seven.



In fact 13 per cent were under the notion that it meant the opposite (directed to children under 7). Also only 12 per cent know that the rating FV means fantasy violence and that it is related to violent content. On the contrary eight per cent think that FV means "family viewing."



The general level of awareness among parents about what constitutes healthy viewing seems limited. A mere six per cent of parents with children under the age of two are aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children at that age not be exposed to TV at all.

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