LOS ANGELES (January 3, 2022) – In 2022, the Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) will focus on one New Year’s resolution: putting an end to the pandemic of entertainment media darkness that is consuming children and harming their health.
“The entertainment media targeting kids today is saturated with content that that normalizes dangerous, illegal behavior, and even suicide; it sexualizes and even sexually exploits little children as young as 9-11 years old; and it romanticizes wanton, bloody violence. In my 40 years working in and around Hollywood, I never could have imagined such darkness,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“Entertainment media has a tremendous impact on children, and we know that impact can be good or bad, positive or negative, helpful or harmful, inspiring or demoralizing. Over the past year, we received scientific proof of just how bad, how negative, how harmful and how demoralizing today’s toxic entertainment media culture can be for our youngest, most innocent hearts and minds. The research and warnings from health officials demand our bold and swift action.
“Because of the coronavirus pandemic, children are experiencing a sharp increase in screen-time. What they’re seeing when they’re in front of a screen has never been darker or more depraved. This second pandemic carries consequences for our children that will far outlast those of COVID-19. The entertainment industry and those who control it cannot stand idly by in denial over the influence they wield when the evidence is so overwhelming and incontrovertible,” said Winter.
The PTC will focus on these critical steps in 2022:
- Hollywood must be forced to cease its sexual exploitation of children. Those who seek to produce such material must be fired and/or lose their funding. Studio executives and corporate shareholders have the power to block company assets from being invested to depict children in sexualized scenes, including scenes where children offer sexual favors to their teachers, to their parents, to adults or to other children. This must end.
- Law enforcement at every level must do exactly what their title says: Enforce the Law. There are tragic real-life stories in the news almost daily that seem to mirror what the entertainment media culture is pushing at children. While Hollywood turns a blind eye to the human consequences of its work product, parents and families are left to pick up the pieces. There are existing laws already on the books that need to be enforced and utilized against those who break them.
- The Congress must deliver meaningful remedies for parents and families. In 2005 the Family Movie Act passed with bipartisan support in both houses; and in 2008 the Child Safe Viewing Act also passed with broad bipartisan support. Both pieces of legislation need to be reauthorized by the Congress so that they apply to today’s most popular entertainment media platforms – most of which did not even exist when Congress first adopted those measures.
- The FCC must use its position of regulatory authority to secure an accurate, consistent and transparent content ratings system. Almost every week PTC members around the country report about how they were shocked by program content that they believed was age-appropriate for their children based upon the content rating. Entertainment must be labeled accurately. And “Ratings Creep,” where program content that once held an older age-rating is now deemed to be appropriate for a younger audience, must end.
- And finally, parents must become more aware of the danger that lurks literally within a child’s fingertips when they hold a TV remote control or a computer mouse. The PTC will help parents to be better parents by producing groundbreaking research that will expose the growing threat of harm to children from a toxic entertainment culture that is eager to exploit their innocence for profit, and by helping to make parents more aware so that they can do their job of raising their children more effectively.