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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2007


PTC Finds Dramatic Increase of Violence on TV

 

LOS ANGELES (January 10, 2007) -- The Parents Television Council™ released a new study on television violence, Dying to Entertain, which found that violence on prime time broadcast television has increased 75% since 1998.  The television season that began in the fall of 2005 was also one of the most violent ever recorded by the PTC™.

 

"This new study shows that violence on television is alarmingly more frequent and more disturbing than anything we've seen before.  Children and families who watched primetime network television last season were treated to a frightening amount and degree of violence.  Not only was there more on-screen violence than ever before, but the discussions of violent crimes were more explicit and the violence depicted was far more graphic," said Tim Winter, president of the PTC.

 

"Television violence has become a paradox of sorts.  Medical and social science have proven conclusively that children are adversely affected by exposure to it – yet millions of parents think nothing of letting their children watch C.S.I. or other, equally violent programs.  Prominent leaders in the entertainment industry publicly decry violent entertainment – but then continue to produce and distribute it.

 

"The industry's proposed solution – the V-Chip – is ineffective at protecting children from TV violence.  Previous PTC research proved that TV ratings are inconsistent – even within the networks – rendering the V-Chip useless.  We need a better solution.  Parents must be more aware and involved with their family media consumption.  And it is up to the program creators, the networks, the sponsors and our public servants to institute sweeping changes to the current system which clearly does not go far enough to protect children."

 

Experts like Dr. Deborah A. Fisher with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, explain the effects of violence on children.  "Given that on average American youth witness more than 1,000 murders, rapes, and assaults per year on television, understanding the consequences of such exposure is an important public health issue.  After decades of research and more than a thousand studies, the answer is yes, watching violent content on television affects youth.  Although not all those exposed will commit violent acts, the evidence is overwhelming that viewing high levels of violent programming increases the likelihood of aggression," she said.

 

Dying to Entertain is the PTC's second examination of TV violence during prime time on the six major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN and the WB).  Using the previous report, TV Bloodbath (released in December 2003 and analyzing content from the 1998, 2000, and 2002 television seasons) as a baseline, the PTC was able to discern some longitudinal trends and qualitative differences over the past eight years.  For this Special Report, PTC analysts reviewed programming from the first two weeks of the November, February and May sweeps during the 2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2005-2006 television seasons for a total of 1,187.5 programming hours.   

 

Overall Findings:

  • Since 1998, violence increased in every time slot during prime time:  During the 8:00 pm Family Hour, it increased by 45%.  During the 9:00 pm hour, violence increased by 92%.  During the 10:00 pm hour, there was an increase of 167%.

  • ABC experienced the biggest increase in violent content overall.  In 1998, ABC averaged .93 instances of violence per hour during prime time.  By 2006, ABC was averaging 3.80 instances of violence per hour – an increase of 309%.

  • Fox, the second-most violent network in 1998 experienced the smallest increase.  Fox averaged 3.43 instances of violence per hour in 1998 and 3.84 instances of violence per hour by 2006 – an increase of only 12%.

  • Over half (56%) of all violence on prime time network television during the 2005-2006 season was person-on-person violence.  Nearly half (49%) of all episodes airing during the study period contained at least one instance of violence.

  • For each hour of prime time, CBS had the highest percentage of deaths depicted on screen during the 2005-2006 season.  During the 8:00 pm hour, 66% of violent scenes depicted a death.  During the 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm hours, 68% of violent scenes depicted a death.

  • Across the board, 54% of violent scenes contained either a depiction of death (13%) or an implied death (41%) during the 2005-2006 season.

  • Over time, violence has shifted from being incidental to the story telling, to being an integral part of the program with more and more programs focusing on graphic autopsy scenes, scenes depicting medical procedures, and extensive torture sequences.

  • Violent scenes increasingly include a sexual element.  Rapists, sexual predators and fetishists are cropping up with increasing frequency on prime time programs like Law and Order: S.V.U., C.S.I., C.S.I. Miami, C.S.I. New York, Medium, Crossing Jordan, Prison Break, E.R. and House.

To read the full study, Click Here

Click Here to watch a video statement by Dr. Joseph Zanga of the Brody School of Medicine.

 

To schedule an interview with a PTC representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.


The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

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