Even though most would acknowledge that children’s TV has subjected youth to inappropriate content for some time, a recent report reveals that in just the past decade, major jumps in violence and profanity have reached kids’ eyes and ears via broadcasts.
“There was over 150% more violence and 62% more profanity on programs rated TV-14 in 2017–2018 than in 2007–2008,” the Parents Television Council (PTC) divulged in its new report titled, “A Decade of Deceit.”
Childhood innocence a thing of the past?
In fact, more and more children’s programming is being produced for older youth audiences today than it was just ten years ago. “In February 2008, programs rated TV-PG outnumbered those rated TV-14 more than 2-to-1; in February 2018, TV-14 content outnumbered PG content in almost the same ratio,” the report announced.
And G-rated programming appears to be a thing of the past – even on networks previously regarded as kid-friendly. “There were no G-rated programs on Fox, CW or ABC – even though ABC is owned by Disney – in any of the ‘sweeps’ periods, in either 2007–2008 or 2017–2018,” PTC stressed.
Parents have reportedly had no forewarnings by television producers, networks and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that they are exposing children to an increased amount of carnal/mature content in “kids’ programming.”
“Today’s TV ratings fail to reflect ‘content creep,” (that is, an increase in offensive content in programs with a given ratings), as compared to similarly rated programs a decade or more ago,” PTC pointed out. “Networks are packing substantially more profanity and violence into youth-rated shows than they did a decade ago; but that increase in adult-themed content has not affected the age-based ratings the networks apply.”
Pressing it …
The inappropriateness of material continues to become more and more explicit as the years advance.
“[E]xamples of the material in kids' shows includ[e] a discussion about having ‘Teen Sex!’ as the theme for a parade float, with actors throwing condoms to the crowd; the visual image of a couple having sex; and the bodies of two ‘vampires’ hanging from a tree,” WND noted.
The increased amount and explicit nature of sexual content on kids’ programming was further discussed by PTC. “Three girls gather in the center of the casino floor and strip until they are naked,” the watchdog group recounted. “They run around the casino. On the security monitors, the naked girls are clearly visible.”
Industry experts even concede that producers purposely push the parameters to see what they can get away with:
Shock factor gone?
With the advent of the Internet age, syndicated columnist Dr. Michael L. Brown – who serves as founder and president of the FIRE School of Ministry – has stated that with the advent of the Internet age, nothing shocks American youth in the 21st century as it did in previous generations.
“Almost nothing shocks us anymore,” Brown argued in his Townhall column last July. “From violence-glorifying graphics on the big screen to incessant headlines of perversion on our news feed to the latest appalling video on our cell phone. We have become accustomed to the extreme – to the twisted, to carnage and to gore.”
Because youth are inundated with such explicit content easily accessible on the Internet, it appears they are virtually numb even to horrific real-world tragedies, Brown said.
“Back in 2001 – the morning of September 11 – a youth pastor in Seattle hurried over to a local high school to speak with kids arriving for their classes,” the columnist recalled. “He was sure they would be quite traumatized. To his shock, most were nonchalant. What they saw on TV looked like a bad video game or a poorly produced movie. What’s the big deal? He was shocked by their lack of shock – and that was in 2001. Since then, the steady descent has continued unabated.”
And the shame of sexual immorality, he wrote, is also reportedly a thing of the past for many American youth. “Pornography is celebrated,” Brown said. “Sex-work is glorified. Nudity is normal. Profanity is no longer profane.”
He then quoted Scripture to shed light on today’s dimming moral climate:
“The apostle Paul summed things up very well 2,000 years ago: ‘They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed’ (Ephesians 4:18-19). We just need to change ‘they’ to ‘we’ and it’s a perfect (and tragic) fit.”
The Messianic Jewish leader compared the morality of generations past with today.
“Do you remember when marriage really meant something – when couples didn’t freely have kids out of wedlock, when no-fault divorce didn’t exist, when a wedding required a man and a woman?” Brown asked. “Do you remember when porn movies were only accessible at obscure adult stores and movie theatres, when 13-year-olds (let alone 8-year-olds) never heard of it – when the verb ‘sexting’ didn’t exist?”
He ended up noting the moral decline represented on television.
“Do you remember when elders were treated with respect, when TV heroes weren’t murderous criminals, [and] when daytime shows demonstrated moral restraint?” Brown lamented while ending his line of questioning.