The Parents Television Council’s Release is Flawed by Faulty Analysis and Biased Methodology

Facts the Parents Television Council doesn’t want you to know:
April 19, 2007 - CHARLESTON, SC
  • According to PTC’s own survey, which was not limited to households with children, 12 percent of all U.S. television households use the V-Chip. Less than one-third of all U.S. households have children at home, and assuming that only households with children would use the V-Chip, PTC’s own results would indicate that more than one-third of all U.S. households with children use the V-Chip.
  • V-chip ratings have proven far more useful to parents than government regulation of content. Ratings apply to all primetime entertainment programming and are available to parents before the program airs, allowing parents -- including the 12 percent of households that the PTC agrees use the V-Chip—to make their own judgment as to what content is right for their own families. In contrast, FCC regulation protects, at the most, the five percent of all U.S. households that: a) have kids and b) do not subscribe to unregulated cable and satellite TV.
  • PTC’s conclusions place too much emphasis on use of the descriptors, which are merely intended to supplement the six age-based ratings that are modeled on the commonly understood age-based motion picture ratings system.
  • Importantly, PTC’s own study demonstrates that all but one program had the correct age-based rating – and age-based ratings have long been the most important aspect of the voluntary ratings system and parents’ use of the V-Chip.
  • PTC misleadingly defines words as “obscene”.
  • Even where a network has added three of the four possible content descriptors for a TV-14 program, PTC claims that the program rating did not provide parents enough information (although PTC concedes that the program was correctly rated TV-14).
Americans are using the tools they have and they don’t want the government to make the decision about what’s appropriate for families to watch:
  • 75 percent of Americans surveyed said they believe parents should decide what their kids should and shouldn’t watch on TV rather than the government taking control of what they watch. (Kelton Research Poll)
  • 50 percent of all parents say they have used the TV ratings, and one in four (24 percent) say they use them “often” to help guide their children’s television choices (Parents, Media and Public Policy: A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey)
  • A vast majority of parents who have used the TV ratings say they find them useful, including more than a third who say they are “very” useful (38 percent) and 50 percent who say they are “somewhat” useful. (Parents, Media and Public Policy: A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey)
  • 61 percent of parents who have used the V-Chip say they found it very useful. (Parents, Media and Public Policy: A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey)
  • Among parents who are aware that they have a V-Chip but have chosen not to use it, 60 percent say the main reason is that an adult is usually nearby when their kids watch TV, and 20 percent say it’s because they trust their children to make their own decisions.(Parents, Media and Public Policy: A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey)
  • More than half (56 percent) of parents have used the TV Parental Guidelines to determine which programs their children watch. Twenty eight percent of parents say they use the TV ratings often. (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2001)
TV Watch was launched in May 2005 and is the leading national organization to promote parental controls and individual choices as an alternative to increased government regulation of TV content. TV Watch is a nonpartisan coalition of 27 individuals and organizations including legal and entertainment experts and political and consumer organizations representing more than four million Americans. For more information about TV Watch, visit TelevisionWatch.org or contact Emily Tyner at (843) 722-9670.

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