When the kids were younger and watched football and baseball on television, there was a time when they were watching a game and a promo for one of the networks’ other shows came on during the commercial break. My two little boys witnessed, during the 30 seconds of that promo, one teenager fire a gun point blank at another teenager and kill him. It was a horrifying scene, and it played out in front of a 5 year old and an 8 year old who were otherwise spending some quality time with dad.
You would have thought major sports events on television, which are watched by millions of children – obviously – would have been a safe family viewing activity. It was not, and it is not. I’m glad the boys now prefer other sports, like lacrosse, and have become too cynical about players on steroids to bother with the major sports.
Many parents are noticing just how impossible it is to protect their kids from media violence, despite supposed ratings. Often, it’s the ads that are the biggest problem. Common Sense Media has just conducted a nationwide survey of parents which found that 75 percent of parents say shielding children from violence is difficult. Seventy-seven percent of parents said media violence, such as content in TV, movies, and video games, contributes to America’s culture of violence. And a majority of parents agreed that addressing violence will require action on both violence in the media and keeping weapons away from kids.
Common Sense Media has this petition calling for a moratorium on the airing of ads promoting violent video games and movies during NBA, NFL, and NCAA games: Sports Broadcasting Companies: Stop airing ads promoting violent video games and movies to kids
The way to change this situation is to speak out and fight back against the corporations who have shown such a lack of respect for families.
I would like to gather more stories about parents blindsided by violent media. Some people have mentioned the previews on the cable on-demand screen. Please tell us about your experience in the comments section.