Document Image

Press Release

Parents Television Council Statement Following Today’s White House Media Violence Meeting

By: Kelly Oliver

Release Date: 3/8/2018

WASHINGTON, DC (March 8, 2018) - The Parents Television Council Program Director Melissa Henson participated in today’s meeting about media violence at the White House, and her post-meeting statement is as follows:

Stop Media Violence“What I heard in today’s meeting is that the entertainment industry is still fighting to maintain the status quo and is not ready or willing to confront the impact that media violence has on our children. But time is up for the entertainment industry to put a stop to marketing graphic, explicit, and age-inappropriate content to our children,” said Ms. Henson.

“The video game representatives pulled out their same old talking points that have long been refuted. During the meeting, I was able to interject and say just how untrue their excuses are.

“As a media analyst and advocate for more than twenty years, I’ve read nearly all the scientific papers on media’s impact on children. As the mother of a nine-year-old boy, I’ve experienced it firsthand. I’ve seen how the deck is stacked against parents in our culture.

“We are told to use the ratings. But those ratings are often misleading, or outright deceptive. The process by which the ratings are applied is secretive, those who administer them are accountable to nobody; and parents have no real recourse when they are misapplied.

“The ESRB ratings are supposed to help keep violent video games out of the hands of children, yet PTC research has revealed how easy it is for an unaccompanied minor to purchase an adult-rated video game; and the video game industry fought for the right of retailers – all the way to the Supreme Court – to sell violent video games to unaccompanied minors.

“The academic community has warned us for over 60 years of the real-life impact of violent media content, yet in the five years since Newtown, TV violence has increased, substantially.

“But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve seen how marketers foster feelings of social-isolation among children, boys in particular, by making them feel like if they aren’t playing video games, or if they don’t own a game system, they are Stop Media Violencedifferent from ‘normal’ kids. I’ve seen how same-age-peers can act as the most effective marketers for the entertainment industry – and that there’s virtually no way to inoculate a child from the peer pressure to play these games; I’ve seen how the incentives and rewards systems built into these games can make even an occasional gamer, behave like an addict. I’ve seen how even supposedly child-friendly environments like Chuck-E-Cheese make violent video games accessible to children without limit or restriction.

“I’ve also experienced, both professionally and personally, the near-constant parent-shaming perpetuated by the entertainment industry and its acolytes: If your child was more disciplined, if you were a better parent, if you’d only ‘do your job’ – none of this would be a problem.

“But there’s virtually no way to get away from the constant pressure on kids to ‘see this movie,’ ‘watch that TV show,’ ‘listen to that artist,’ ‘play those games.’ It’s everywhere. On the cereal boxes, the retail displays, advertisements. Even the most diligent parent can’t completely shut it out, at least not without deepening a child’s sense of social isolation. It’s like a toxic gas. Even if you shut the doors and windows and seal the edges, it will still find a way to get in.

“We appreciate President Trump’s willingness to confront media gun violence and its impact on our children, and we hope that today’s dialogue will be the starting point towards real change.”

The Parents Television Council® ( 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 1.4 million members, 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.

Visit the new PTC Watchdog Blog at

Follow the PTC on Twitter: @ThePTC.
Like us on Facebook at

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at