Research on sex, violence, and profanity on Television
Father's Day Special
PTC Finds More TV Fathers are Involved in TV Family Life
Network television is increasing the visibility of father-figures in prime time
television according to a recent study of the 2004-2005 television season by the
Parents Television Council.
The study, the third of its kind, found that 86.5% of all TV children have a
father figure involved in their lives, but an increasing number of single dads
are raising their children.
The PTC reviewed every original series airing during prime time (8:00-11:00pm
ET/PT) on the broadcast networks during the 2004-2005 television season. The
analysis encompassed 106 shows depicting 195 children. The last study on TV
father figures was conducted for the 2002-2003 television season. The key
findings about TV children and the roles include:
86.5% have a father figure involved in their lives (up
50% live in a
traditional family, with their married biological parents (down 2.8%)
14.8% are being raised
by single fathers (up 10.7%)
13.8% do not live with
any kind of father figure (down 13%)
12.9% do not have an
involved father figure (down 3.4%)
As a whole, television shows are increasingly showing more fathers who are
involved in their children's lives. This study is not a qualitative look at the
types of fathers portrayed by network television; rather it is a quantitative
look at the number of fathers and father-figures portrayed during the prime time
hours on the seven broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, UPN, ITV and WB.
The PTC studies the presence of fathers on prime time television because of
the proven importance of fathers in the lives of their children. According to
the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI):
Fathers who live
with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship
with their children than those who do not. The best predictor of father
presence is marital status. Compared to children born within marriage,
children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience
father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are
four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.
About 40 percent of
children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the
past year; 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their
children; and 50 percent of children living absent their father have never
set foot in their father's home.
children (34 percent) live absent their biological father. Children who live
absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times
more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health,
emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to
engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married,
biological (or adoptive) parents.
involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school,
have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid
high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity
compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
While the presence
of father-figures on prime time network television has increased over the
years, it is not accurately reflecting current trends in American culture.
According to U.S. Census data collected in 2003 and provided by the NFI, the
number of children living in two-parent families is 68.4%. Children being
raised by single fathers measures 4.6% and children being raised by single
mothers measures 23%.
"These (PTC) findings reinforce the importance of not only developing
programming suitable for all families, but producers endeavoring to show
committed, responsible fathers involved in their children's lives. Too many TV
shows today tag fathers with the ‘3D' image - dumb, dangerous and disaffected.
Such images must be reversed to demonstrate to viewers that fathers are there
for their children and/or need to be," said Roland Warren, president of the
National Fatherhood Initiative.
The PTC applauds the increase of the presence of father-figures on prime time
network television and encourages the industry to continue the positive trend
while insuring that the role and importance of fathers is not diminished.
Parents Television Council,
Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The
nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting
children against sex, violence and profanity in
entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval,
and Family Guide to Prime Time Television
are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.