Survey: Parents Want Less Sex, Drugs on TV

Poll Shows Effort to Control What Children See

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WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 15, 2010 ( A national survey shows that parents are concerned about what their children see on TV and want more help to control the amount of sex, violence and drugs viewed by children.

These were the findings of a random survey of 500 parents, commissioned by the U.S. episcopal conference.

More than 80% of respondents said they want better control over media that show violence, sex, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse and dirty language. There was particular concern noted about portrayal of drug and alcohol use, since this is not considered in many ratings systems.

The survey showed that parents are trying to control what their children see, with more than 90% reporting household media rules.

Some two-thirds expected they would use parental controls more with the following three factors: better understanding of controls, the ability to block inappropriate ads, and greater availability of media products with parental controls already set.

And parents are calling on the media industry to help protect children, with three-fourths saying the industry should do more, and 58% saying government should too.

Officials with the episcopal conference made a variety of recommendations based on the results. They called for «expansion of media content ratings to include not only violent, sexual and language content, but also illegal drug use, alcohol abuse and smoking» and urged that «policymakers and broadcasters develop resources to empower parents and other television viewers to block unwanted television ads and support initiatives that would promote and enhance parents’ use of parental controls.»

Bishop Gabino Zavala, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Communications, noted, «Our nation’s transition to digital television offers an excellent opportunity to provide children with additional protection.»

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