Parents concerned about promotion of violent content


Kids watching TVA survey of parents done by children’s media watchdog Common Sense finds that three out of four find it difficult to shield their children from violence, and also found that a lot of the problem seems to be tied to promoting such content.

The Center for American Progress also sponsored the survey.

The survey measured more than just the media’s role – 75% believe it is too easy to acquire a firearm and believe the gun industry must be part of the remedy. 92% said bullying was a factor and 86% said current crime rates played a role in American violence.

When it came to the media, the remedies seemed to involve promoting violent content rather than changing content.

88% said ads for violent games, movies and television programs should not be aired on programs with a high percentage of children in the audience; and 91% wanted theaters to limit trailers only to content with the same content rating or tamer.

The majority believes that the media can help improve the situation.

“Parents are clearly concerned about how violence in media may be impacting their children,” said James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. “Our culture of violence seems to have made it the new normal that parents who take their kids to a movie theater or gather to watch a football game are at risk of exposing them to inappropriate content that is marketing video games or films rated for more mature audiences.”

“These survey results demonstrate that parents are anxious about their children’s safety in America today and that they believe we need real action to prevent gun violence and change the culture of violence. We need to do both, this is not a choice between two important goals,” said Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

RBR-TVBR observation: Here is an opportunity for the media to shine. This is the kind of common sense starting point that could provide a path forward for the media regarding violent content. It is First Amendment-friendly, for starters.

And like the CALM Act, it makes sure that the advertising content seen on television and in theaters is equivalent to the programming it is shown with. In the case of the CALM act, the goal is to keep volume levels consistent. In this case, the goal would be to keep program content maturity levels consistent.

That makes sense to us. There is no reason broadcast networks, television groups, MVPDs and theater operators can’t voluntarily pledge to keep promotional material on par with content as a concrete step toward being part of the solution.