News Articles

Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children: An excerpt from the FTC report

9/17/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern

The Commission found that despite the variations in the three industries' [movies, music, electronic games] systems, the outcome is consistent: Individual companies in each industry routinely market to children the very products that have the industries' own parental warnings or ratings with age restrictions due to their violent content.

Indeed, for many of these products, the Commission found evidence of marketing and media plans that expressly target children under 17. In addition, the companies' marketing and media plans showed strategies to promote and advertise their products in the media outlets most likely to reach children under 17, including those television programs ranked as the "most popular" with the under-17 age group, such as Xena: Warrior Princess, South Park and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

Since the President requested this study over than a year ago, each of the industries reviewed has taken positive steps to address the concerns. Nevertheless, the Commission believes that all three should take additional action to enhance their self-regulatory efforts.

The report called for the industries to establish or expand codes that prohibit target marketing to children and impose sanctions for violations; increase compliance at the retail level; and increase parental understanding of the ratings and labels.

The Commission emphasizes that its review and publication of this Report, and its proposals to improve self-regulation, are not designed to regulate or even influence the content of movies, music lyrics or electronic games. The First Amendment generally requires that creative decisions about content be left to artists and their distributors.

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