Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mediawatch-UK on children and TV violence

Update: 14/07/07 mediawatch-uk has initiated a new petition, that theoretical restrictions on violence and bad language on TV actually be enforced. Please sign it!

Their new book on the subject can be seen as a pdf here; their full publication list here.

Briefing. 06/07/07

From CNews
: At the mediawatch-uk conference in April at Portcullis House, the organisation's director John Beyer made a hard-hitting speech in which he drew drew attention to some of the scandalous material finding its way on to television. He reminded those present of the letter published in the Daily Telegraph in September 2006 signed by 100 experts and academics warning that children are exposed 'via the electronic media to material that would have been considered unsuitable for children, even in the very recent past'.

Mr Beyer set his remarks at Portcullis House into the context of regulations, such as the EU Television Without Frontiers directive, which in Article 22 requires member states to take appropriate measures to ensure that television broadcasters ... do not include any programmes which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral health of minors, in particular programmes that involve pornography or gratuitous violence. He went on to remind those present that Ofcom's Broadcasting Code states, in Clause 1.1, that 'material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of people under 18 must not be broadcast'. Mr Beyer said: 'Of course these are fine sounding words but over time they have been rendered meaningless, more so, by the rush to sweep away constraints in an era of light-touch' regulation. mediawatch-uk has campaigned for many years about television because it comes directly into the home, where there is normally a feeling of security and safety and where sensibilities are relaxed. For this reason it can have a huge influence on attitudes and behaviour as well, of course, as to properly inform, educate and entertain. We have consistently campaigned against glorified, fictional violence in programmes because, as our founder the late, great Mary Whitehouse CBE said more than 40 years ago, 'If you constantly portray violence as normal on the television screen it will help to create a violent society'. Of course we welcomed the clause (2.4) in the Ofcom's Broadcasting Code saying that 'programmes must not include material which ... condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour', but it is evident that it has 'been, and continues to be, ignored by broadcasters, and the regulator has made no real effort to enforce it.'

Dr Aric Sigman, author of the book 'Remotely Controlled' said that watching television is now the industrialised world's main pastime, taking up more of our time than any other single activity except work and sleep. According to the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board in January 2004, by the age of 75 the average Briton will have spent more than twelve years of their lives watching television. 'The average six-year-old will have already watched for more than one full year of their lives. When other screen time is included, the figure is far higher. Children aged 11 to 15 spend 55% of their waking lives, 53 hours a week, seven and a half hours a day watching TV and computers, an increase of 40% in a decade. More than half of three-year-olds now have a TV set in their bedrooms,' he said.

Dr Sigman warned: 'The biological sciences are fast becoming the new arena for examining the effects of society's favourite pastime. And in industrialised societies the findings are set to re-cast the role of the television screen as the greatest unacknowledged public health issue of our time. Research by the American Academy of Paediatrics shows that children who watched television at ages one to three had a significantly increased risk of developing attention problems by the time they were seven. For every hour of television a child watched per day there was a 9% increase in such problems.'

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre, outlined his involvement in coordinating their work with parents, teachers, police and industry to protect children whilst they are online. He informed the conference of the success that had been achieved by putting pictures of the most wanted known sex offenders on their website and how they had involved children and young people in tackling the problem of child abuse by producing a short movie on the subject. He supported the Government's education programme through the website initiative and mentioned all CEOP's faculties including Harm Reduction, Intelligence, Operations, Partnerships and Child Protection and went on to outline all that they have learned and achieved. Dr Sigman's paper is available at: Find out more about Mr Gamble's work at: [mediawatch-uk]

For mediawatch-uk's press release, see here.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen