Survey: Parents Want Nets to Stop Violent Ads When Kids Are Watching
By John Consoli -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/10/2013 2:41:08 PM
In conjunction with the release of the survey results, Common Sense Media—a San Francisco-based child and family advocacy group—offered six recommendations, including asking that broadcast, cable and satellite TV networks institute a voluntary moratorium on all ads for violent games and movies when large numbers of children are watching.
Among the group's other recommendations:
- The FTC and FCC should place restrictions on marketing violent video games, violent movie trailers and violent TV promotions when significant numbers of children are watching.
- Media and entertainment organizations should display prominent, consistent and independent ratings for television programs, video games and movies across all marketing materials and platforms, including online and mobile.
- The National Association of Theater Owners and the Motion Picture Association of America should jointly agree to dictate that movie theaters should only show previews, trailers and promos for movies that have the same or younger MPAA rating than the feature film being shown at that time.
- The FTC must require the gun industry to explicitly and transparently reveal all product placements and other marketing practices and tie-ins with the video game industry.
- The U.S. Department of Education and the State Departments of Education should include citizenship skills and training as a core curriculum standard.
"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."
The survey was completed on Jan. 4 and 5 and conducted by Survey USA Market Research. It randomly selected 1,050 parents with children 18 and younger living at home to answer questions about factors that could contribute to violence in America. Respondents needed to be able to view videos on their computers, tablets or smartphones to be eligible to participate in the survey.
As part of the survey, parents were shown a video ad for the game Hitman: Absolution. Eighty-four percent of parents said the ad is inappropriate to show on TV at a time when children are watching. Parents were also shown a video of an ad for the movie Gangster Squad. Of those surveyed, 63% said the ad is inappropriate to show on TV when kids are watching.
Overall, 77% of parents nationwide said violence in TV and movies contributes to real-life violent actions, and 75% of those surveyed said violence in video games contributes to real-life violence, while 64% said violent toys are a contributor.
Among some other survey findings:
- 85% of those surveyed said violence in TV shows and movies makes it more difficult to shield their kids from real-life violence.
- On a scale of 1-10, with 10 meaning complete agreement, 47% assigned a 10 to their feeling that addressing violence in the U.S. will require taking action on violence in the media and keeping weapons away from kids. Another 13% assigned a 9 to that statement, 12% assigned an 8 and 10% a 7. Only 2% assigned a 1, which means they completely disagree.
- 45% believe violence in today's video games is a major problem; 44% believe it's a minor problem; and 8% believe it is not a problem at all.
As to how the parents surveyed view the major broadcast TV networks, 27% view them favorably; 36% view them somewhat favorably; 20% view the broadcast networks neither favorably nor unfavorably; 10% view them somewhat unfavorably; and 6% view them very unfavorably.
How about their opinion on some of the major sports leagues that advertisers run their commercials with? For the NFL, 39% of parents surveyed view the league very favorably; 29% view it somewhat favorably; 19% are neutral; 9% view the NFL somewhat unfavorably; and 4% view the league very unfavorably.
For the NBA, 31% of parents view it very favorably; 26% view it somewhat favorably; 24% are neutral; 11% see it as somewhat unfavorable; and 6% see it as very unfavorable.
The parents were also asked a hypothetical question about advertisers running ads in NFL and NBA telecasts, namely: "The NBA and NFL have television deals with the TV networks and have the ability to allow or not allow ads they think are appropriate for their audiences. If the leagues called on its TV partners to temporarily stop airing ads for violent movies and video games during televised sporting events when kids are watching, what would your opinion be?"
For the NFL, parents said if the league took that type of position, 57% said they would deem it very favorable; 22% said somewhat favorable; 12% were neutral; 5% would view it somewhat unfavorably; and 3% would see it as very unfavorable.
For the NBA, parents said if the league took that type of position, 55% would deem it very favorable; 23% somewhat favorable; 14% neutral; 5% somewhat unfavorable; and 3% very unfavorable.
If the broadcast networks were asked to take a similar voluntary position on violent ads when kids are watching, 54% of parents said they would view it as very favorable; 23% somewhat favorable; 14% neutral; 5% somewhat unfavorable; and 4% very unfavorable.
A majority of parents believe the media industry has the power to help change the culture of violence in the country by not exposing young audiences to violent advertising. Of those polled, 46% strongly agree, assigning a rating of 10 on a 1-10 scale to that statement. Another 16% of parents rated that statement a 9 on the scale. And 12% rated it an 8. Only 1% strongly disagreed with that statement.
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