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Monday, May 09, 2005

Parental, Not Government TV Censorship: Does It Work?

There's this TV censorship battle a-brewing in the US. This report cites a poll that cites an 8-to-1 ratio of Americans preferring parental/domestic control over what kids get to watch, over government involvement. I think it's a foregone conclusion that parental controls are ideal. No arguments there. The problem is that it just doesn't happen. What are the odds in today's busy societies that parents keep tabs on what their kids watch? Especially if they've long opted to buy their kids their own TV to watch in the privacy of their own bedrooms? Of course, I can just see the Devil accusing us later of our own negligence in this regard. Indeed, we could stand accused of that and we'd have to concede that the accuser is right: we should have kept tabs. I know of at least two families where minors, between 6 and 8 years old, were allowed to watch movies like Spiderman and Lord of the Rings, and even TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Here they ignore the rating system that TV Watch cites in the article as the way to go. They know it, too. The poll would have been more intelligent and far more useful if they had also checked just how relevant the ratings have been to parents. To be practical, I don't think the rating system is enough at all, since parents have been and will continue ignoring the ratings system. In the same sense, government controls will be more effective by far. At the very least, the government actions show concern for how children can be adversely affected by adult TV programs. Can't say the same for the other side. Why do I get the feeling that this is a conflict between entertainment and children's welfare? One would think that the latter would far outweigh the former.

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