• ADHD Boasts of Huge Increase in Teen Viewers

    by  • August 13, 2013 • Advertiser Accountability, Misrated, Sex • 6 Comments

    On its Twitter feed, Fox boasted that the August 4th episode of its disgusting new cartoon block ADHD saw a 100% increase in teenage viewers. This huge increase just one week after the show premiered demonstrates why ADHD is such a threat to kids.

    Defenders of ADHD love to claim that parents have no right to complain about the cartoon’s horrifically graphic content, because Fox airs the program at midnight. But obviously, the late-night airtime isn’t stopping kids from tuning in. When the number of teens watching goes up 100% in a week, it is clear that Fox’s vast ADHD marketing machine has kicked into high gear.

    And this is exactly what the PTC has been warning about. ADHD is far more than merely a sleazy cartoon that airs at midnight. Fox has created a website – accessible to any child with a computer, smartphone, or other form of Internet access – on which videos far more extreme even than those which make it to air are shown. Many of the videos are also available on other websites like YouTube. Fox is also making a huge push for ADHD to “go viral,” complete with software enabling kids to make three-second clips of the worst content, then share it with other kids.  All these actions are in pursuit of Fox boss Kevin Reilly’s goal: to “grow the next Family Guy” out of ADHD and “skim [it] off for prime time.”

     The same writers who claim ADHD is harmless also say that if kids manage to see an ADHD video (from their friends, or friends of friends, who text them, or send them links, or show them a video clip face-to-face) – well, that just proves such kids have lousy parents. But parents know the impossibility of monitoring their children every second of every minute of every day – especially when a multi-billion dollar global corporation like Fox is constantly bombarding those same children with content like ADHD.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    6 Responses to ADHD Boasts of Huge Increase in Teen Viewers

    1. The7Sticks
      August 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Just one question: Is it not the responsibility of the parent when it comes to these kids having access to phones and mobile devices in the first place? There was a time when kids didn’t even have cell phones in the first place, and it requires all sorts of data plans and circles to run around to get it. The point is that you want to blame it on anything other than what it truly is: Bad parenting. It’s all about how parents want someone else to do their job for them and not taking responsibility for their own failures at being a parent. I know it’s harsh to say, but that’s what I believe to be the truth.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        August 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        I can’t believe that anyone who is a parent would talk about parents the way you do.

        Parents DO take responsibility for their children. Parents recognize how much responsibility they have; but they also quickly realize how little power they also have.

        I’m curious: do you believe parents are to blame for all the school children murdered at Newtown, too? By your logic, surely the killer was not to blame for the massacre: “The parents should’ve been more responsible, and kept their kids away from danger!”

        The sad fact of the matter is, we live in a world filled with malign influences, and it is impossible for parents to guard their children against every threat every second of every minute of every day…particularly when they’re up against a vastly powerful industry which controls access to information, and which spends literally hundreds of millions of dollars every year specifically trying to seduce children and teens.

    2. Allyson Montour
      August 19, 2013 at 12:43 am

      How interchangeably you use the words “kids” and “teens”… The world is full of far worse things than anything in Fox’s or any other network’s programming, and if your kids can’t sanely process “edgy” content from the television by the time they’re teenagers, they’re pretty much doomed for handling real life. Maybe if you weren’t so concerned with sheltering your offspring from offensive content in media you wouldn’t have to worry about them being exposed to it. You think exposing them to it is harmful? They’ll be exposed to it as adults, and it may indeed be harmful if that happens all at once rather than gradually as they grow up, with a parent there to discuss it with and put it in the proper context.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        August 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        This is an “argument” the PTC hears all the time. “There are worse things in the world than TV! Your kids will experience it when they’re adults! Therefore, you shouldn’t shelter them from it now!”

        However, the logic in this “argument” is more than a little shaky. Agreed, there are worse things in life than what’s on TV. But the fact that children may be exposed to something in adulthood in no way justifies exposing them to it before that time.

        By this logic, because some people are mugged and suffer from physical assault as adults, should parents stand by and allow bullies to beat their children? Because some adults may be raped, should parents allow their kids to be sexually molested? And certainly, many children will choose on their own to have sex as adults. So why not allow – even encourage — kids to have sex? (This certainly seems to be the view of entertainment industry writers, judging by much of the programming aimed at teens, and which is routinely watched by even younger kids.) Why not hand kids tobacco products, liquor, meth, and cocaine? After all, many children may choose to do drugs as adults. Isn’t preventing your children from beinig sexually or physically assaulted, or smoking, drinking, or using drugs, the height of irresponsible parenting? Aren’t you unrealistically “sheltering” your kids from the “real world”?

        These examples may seem ridiculous; but in reality, they only make clear how ridiculous our culture’s double-standard about television and other forms of media really is. Like tobacco companies, the entertainment industry is a vast, multi-billion dollar conglomerate which reaps lavish profits from exploiting children, and getting them hooked on unhealthy patterns and products at a young age. When Big Tobacco pushed Joe Camel at children, people howled in outrage; but somehow, when it’s Big Media, many of the same people shrug, or even vociferously defend the “right” of entertainment companies to corrupt children.

        And this ties into another argument we hear frequently: “it’s the parent’s responsibility to control what their kids see.” Especially in an age of smartphones and Internet access nearly everywhere (including schools), saying “Parents should control what their kids are doing every second of every minute of every day” is grossly unrealistic. In previous decades – as today – parents weren’t able to prevent kids from sneaking a cigarette or a drink. How are they supposed to control or even know what media their kids are consuming every second?

        However, we recognize that society has a vested interest in keeping tobacco and liquor out of the hands of minors. We don’t allow cigarettes or liquor to be sold to people under 18. We even have banned cigarette advertising on television, because of the unhealthy influence it can have on viewers. Why then is it acceptable for television to bombard kids with adult sex and violence?

        Frequently, one of PTC’s opponents will say, “Parents are being unrealistic by sheltering their kids — they’ll be exposed to it as adults anyway,” then in the very next sentence and with no sense of irony, say “It’s the parent’s responsibility to control what their kids watch”…thus simultaneously arguing that parents both SHOULD and SHOULD NOT regulate their children’s media consumption. Generally, though, those making such arguments don’t see that they are contradicting themselves…because the real crux of their argument is, “I should be able to watch anything *I* want! To h*** with the well-being of OTHER PEOPLE’S kids!”

        And all teens ARE “kids.” They are all children, under the legal age of majority. Yes, it is their parents’ job to protect them – and one way of doing so is to advocate for measures which will help them do so. But, as with tobacco, liquor, and assault, society has an interest – and should take a role — in protecting children, as well.

        • A
          August 28, 2013 at 1:16 am

          Mr. Gildemeister, your position, I share, and I say to that: The person that you respond to is saying that, in practice since that “x” bad thing may be OK in adulthood it is advisable in youth? That is, to say the least, an extremely unAmerican and especially, in human concept. If Americans say this now, what will they say in a century? The US was at one time the bulwark of morality, and I strongly hope and pray for a return to that.

    3. c c
      August 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      When we first got cable TV 7 years ago, I was able to block channels off the menu, with DISH. Then we got Direct TV, and the blocked stations would pop back onto the menu. Now that we have DISH again, they have changed the menu blocking. There are 3 menus, that can be accidentally toggled through just be pushing the guide button. How is a parent to keep the trash off the menu for their kids? I have asked both companies, repeatedly, to allow me to choose “a la carte” from the menu. The response was that I could block the channels that I don’t want. Well, clearly, that is not such a great method of keeping offensive stations off my TV’s. Comparing the TV menus to food menus – I can honestly say that I have never gone to a buffet that had trash dispersed throughout the food. The only reason we even got cable was for my husband to have sports. But we have to take the garbage with the good. That needs to change.

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