Study: Parents want government to limit sex, violence on TV

Thursday, September 23rd 2004, 9:25 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nearly two-thirds of parents in a new survey want the government to place tighter controls on sex and violence on television, researchers said Thursday.

Federal law bars radio and non-cable television stations from airing references to sexual and excretory functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. But the law doesn't address violence, and the anti-indecency standard is only enforced when a complaint is filed with federal regulators, triggering a review and possible fines by the Federal Communications Commission.

Sixty-three percent of parents surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation said they favor new regulations to limit the amount of sex and violence in TV shows during the early evening hours when children are more likely to be watching.

``The folks in the television industry ought to take note of the fact that parents are now supporting content standards for television,'' said Vicky Rideout, the study's lead researcher and a vice president at the foundation. ``If they're serious about avoiding that, it's going to be really necessary to make sure parents are able to use the tools available to them now, namely the ratings (system) and the V-chip.''

The survey also found that more than half of all parents, 52 percent, said they would like to see federal regulators apply content standards to cable stations. Forty-three percent opposed the idea.

Parents do have some tools to help them screen the programming their children watch, but the study found that many still aren't using them or don't know they have access to them.

For example, only 15 percent of all parents surveyed have used the V-chip, which works with the voluntary TV ratings system to allow parents to block specific programs.

The chips were required in new TV sets in 2000. According to the study, four in 10 parents have bought a new television since then, but didn't realize they had a chip in the TV set.

The ratings system fared better. Half of all parents said they have used the ratings to help choose appropriate programming for their children. But 20 percent said they had never even heard of the ratings system, up from 14 percent in 2001.

The study was done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on health care issues. It is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries.