Children and Television

There's been considerable debate in recent years about television rating systems. That kind of information is desperately needed by parents who want to protect their kids from harmful content, and I'm among those who believe that the present system just doesn't get the job done.

But even if changes are implemented there's a new wrinkle to be considered. Social research conducted by Yankelovich Partners Inc. has recently analyzed the television viewing habits of Americans and what they discovered is surprising. Forty-two percent of children age nine to 17 have their own cable or satellite television hookups in their bedrooms. The image of families gathered around a single TV set in the family room is fading. Instead, many kids are off by themselves where they can choose anything that they want to see.

Ann Clurman, a partner at Yankelovich said, "Almost everything children are seeing is essentially going into their minds in some sort of uncensored or unfiltered way." Considering the explicit sex, violence, nudity and profanity available now, especially on cable and satellite television, this is a disturbing revelation.

Children need to be protected from adult programming and yet, almost four out of every 10 kids have parents who don't really know what they're watching. I fear that situation will come back to haunt us in years to come.

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