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Cartoons Are No Laughing Matter:

Sex, Drugs and Profanity on Primetime Animated Programs



 

 
 

 

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Sex, Drugs and Profanity on Primetime Animated Shows Kids Watch Most

The latest report from the Parents Television Council “Cartoons Are No Laughing Matter,” documents shocking levels of adult content on networks with the highest-rated primetime animated cable shows among children ages 12-17, according to Nielsen data. The networks included in the study reflect where kids are consuming the most popular animated shows during primetime: Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Nick at Nite.

“Nielsen data told us where children ages 12-17 are watching animated programming on basic cable. PTC analysts followed the Nielsen data in order to see exactly what type of material kids are consuming. The findings of this report should be vexing for every parent. The term ‘adult’ not only describes the nature of the cartoon content itself; it also describes the products being marketed to kids,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“Adult content isn’t just creeping into the cartoons that kids today are watching the most; it has overtaken much of that animated programming. We’re not talking about cartoon characters slipping on banana peels and ramming into doors. Our data demonstrates that today’s norm is profanity-laden storylines involving everything from rape and cocaine to STDs and crystal meth. There is now more sexual content on these cartoons than violence – even when counting traditional ‘light’ cartoon violence.

“Parents might not be surprised that there is an abundance of adult-themed content on a cable network called Adult Swim; but those same parents are likely to be very surprised at just how adult the content is and how often teens and pre-teens are flocking to the network. Many don’t even realize Adult Swim appears on the same channel as the decidedly kid-centric Cartoon Network and begins airing at 9:00 pm Eastern/8:00 pm Central.

“Just as shocking as the volume and degree of adult material in the cartoons was the abysmal network failure rate in applying consistent TV content rating standards. During the study period, harsh profanity and graphic sexual depictions aired during programs rated TV-PG. Cartoon Network failed to use the ratings system to warn parents about sexual content, suggestive dialogue and explicit language 100 percent of the time. We also discovered the networks are directly marketing adult entertainment products to kids during TV-PG programming, including R-rated movies and TV-MA shows and DVDs,” Winter continued.

“Parents need to understand just how explicit these cartoons are so they can make better viewing decisions for their family. They also must be given the chance to unsubscribe to explicit cable networks. As it stands now, every parent who subscribes to cable so their kids can watch Disney or Nickelodeon is also forking over cash every month to Adult Swim. Parents, not cable companies, should decide which cable networks they want to pay for.

“In addition to cable choice and more responsible programming decisions by the networks, the entire television content ratings system needs to be overhauled. The current system fails parents and families when it comes to accuracy, consistency, transparency and accountability,” Winter concluded. READ MORE

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