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« on: March 11, 2006, 11:37:21 PM »

Kids' TV Contains 'Dark, Sinister' Violence, Pro-Family Advocate Warns

By Mary Rettig
March 10, 2006

(AgapePress) - The director of research and publications for the Parents Television Council (PTC) says violence pervades children's programming -- and it's not the "cartoonish" kind of violence with which many adults are familiar from their own childhoods.

The PTC recently completed a study of television programming specifically created for young kids. The pro-family media watchdog group revealed its disturbing findings in a report called "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: A Content Analysis of Children's Television" (See related story).

According to the PTC's Melissa Caldwell, the not-so-surprising revelation of this study is that much of kid-targeted TV is not terribly child-friendly. In fact, she notes, the study found children's shows contain -- amid all kinds of offensive and troubling content -- twice the amount of violence to be found in adult primetime shows.

And when the researchers sifted out the "Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner-type of violence" Caldwell says, then the children's shows became very scary. "For example," she points out, "in one program that we looked at, a man was knocked out, and then his soul was removed from his body and placed in the body of the man who appears to have killed him."

That scene comes from the Fox Network cartoon Shaman King, which the PTC report noted as an example of the dangerous impact Japanese anime has had on many children's shows. These and other kids' programs feature "a very dark, sinister type violence," Caldwell says. "It's not innocent, fun, 'cartoony' stuff like we were used to growing up with."

"Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" reveals that Cartoon Network ranked worst among the networks analyzed with the most overall violence in kids' shows, in terms of sheer numbers of instances of violence. "But when we looked at a per episode or a per hour average," Caldwell notes, "ABC Family Channel actually had the most violence, and that was because of one cartoon series -- Power Rangers."

The PTC researcher says the Power Rangers cartoon, when it first came out, was actually very controversial. "A lot of parents were very concerned about the amount of violence in that program," she explains, "but as time has worn on, it's become less and less of an issue."

Caldwell says she does not know whether that has occurred because concerned viewers have gotten used to the violence on the series and "learned to accept it, or if other things have come onto our radar screen and displaced that."

Either way, the PTC's director of research and publications feels more adults need to pay attention to what their children are watching on TV, even during after-school and Saturday morning broadcast time supposedly dedicated to children's programming. She says many parents may be surprised to learn that much of kids' TV is really not so much for kids anymore.

Kids' TV Contains 'Dark, Sinister' Violence, Pro-Family Advocate Warns

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