- PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - U.S. television is putting a premium on attracting
children aged 5 to 11, but many of the programs aimed at them contain violence
and harsh language, researchers said on Monday.
- A study by the Annenberg Public Policy
Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that broadcasters this year
were tailoring nearly two-thirds of children's programming for elementary
- ``However, almost half of these programs
fall into our low quality category,'' said Amy Jordan, an Annenberg researcher
who headed the study, titled ``The 1998 State of Children's Television
Report''. Elementary school children were not only more likely than teen-agers
or preschoolers to see violent acts and hear harsh language on programs
designed for their tastes. The study also found that the programming was
less likely to contain any enriching content.
- Programming for older children did not
fare much better in the report. ``While it's nice to see programmers addressing
the long-ignored teen audience, almost two in five of those shows ranked
as low quality in our study,'' Jordan said. The study was based on a week-long
survey of 1,190 programs targeted at children aged 2-16 by broadcast and
cable-TV channels, including the big-four networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
Almost all children's programs on PBS -- 99.1 percent -- were rated high
quality by researchers. Few PBS children's programs contained violence,
harsh language or sexual innuendo.
- The study's overall results showed that
only 25 percent of children's shows featuring three or more violent scenes
carried the FV rating meant to warn parents of ``fantasy violence''. Also,
one-quarter of shows earmarked ``E/I'' for educational and informational
content were found to be of minimal educational value.
- Overall, the study rated more than one-third
of children's programming -- 36.3 percent -- as ``low quality''. A nearly
equal portion of 36.4 percent was judged ``high quality,'' but that was
down 3 percent from a similar study in 1997. The ''moderate quality'' category
was up 4 percent to 27.3 percent. A separate Annenberg study found that
16.5 percent of parents with children aged 2 to 17 said they had ``mainly''
or ''very'' positive opinions about the quality of U.S. programming for
children. Only one in 10 said there were ``a lot'' of good programs for