Kids watching TV shows during the prime-time viewing hour of 8 to 9 p.m. are seeing violent, profane or sexual content once every 3.5 minutes, according to a new study by the Parents Television Council (PTC).
The watchdog group's study, released Sept. 5, takes aim at TV programming during what used to be referred to as the "Family Hour" and accuses broadcasters of now flooding that time slot with shows containing graphic adult content.
The PTC study logged the amount of violent, profane or sexual content in "Family-Hour" programs aired on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CW and MyNetwork TV during three two-week periods in November 2006, February 2007 and late April/early May 2007. The study found 2,246 examples of this content -12.48 instances per TV hour - in 180 total hours of original programming. Since the average hour of prime-time TV contains about 43 minutes of noncommercial programming, the council reasoned that kids are seeing inappropriate content every 3.5 minutes of noncommercial air time. Compared to findings in 2001-2002, the PTC reported that incidences of sexual and violent content have increased by 22.1 percent and 52.4 percent respectively.
PTC President Tim Winter called on broadcasters to air mature-themed content later in the evening, saying the "Family Hour needs to be restored." The PTC also urged advertisers to only underwrite appropriate programming during prime time and encouraged parents to "speak out in defense of the Family Hour."
The National Association of Broadcasters, which represents 8,400 broadcasters, did not have an immediate comment on the study.
- Deirdre Wilson