• New PTC Study: More TV Violence, Rated Younger

    by  • December 9, 2013 • Misrated, Ratings Reform, Studies, Violence • 1 Comment

    Misrated Violent Content

    After the horrific massacre of children in Newtown last year, the entertainment industry promised parents “tools” to protect their children from media violence. The PTC’s new study shows how well the networks have kept their promise.

    In a desperate attempt at damage control after the Newtown and Aurora shootings, entertainment industry executives met with Vice President Joe Biden last January. They emerged from the meeting claiming they have a “longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families.”

    The PTC’s new study puts the lie to that claim.

    Even though broadcast network bosses constantly whine that their shows can’t be as gory as what’s found on basic cable, the PTC found that violence on the worst shows on broadcast TV is no different from violent cable TV shows. Violent broadcast shows exposed kids to guns or bladed weapons every three minutes – as well as deluging the public airwaves with programs containing graphic bloodshed, like Revolution, The Blacklist, Supernatural, Criminal Minds, Sleepy Hollow, CSI, and Law & Order: SVU. These shows contained the most graphic and grisly violence, including child molestation, rape, mutilation/disfigurement, dismemberment, graphic killings and/or injuries by gunfire and stabbings, violent abductions, physical torture, cannibalism, burning flesh and suicide.

    Shows containing that kind of violence on basic cable are rated TV-MA (mature audiences only); but every single one of the shows named above was rated TV-14 – appropriate for 14 year old children! The PTC has written before about the utter failure of the TV ratings system; but this study proves that broadcast TV is just about as bad as cable.

    The study also found:

    • Based upon shows included in the study, there was only a 6% difference between the amount of violence on cable shows compared to shows that aired on broadcast television.
    • On broadcast television a bladed weapon or gun appeared on screen every 3 minutes.
    • Children watching 4 episodes of Revolution during the fall of 2013 were exposed to an average of 91.5 acts of violence per episode. That is equivalent to a child seeing one act of violence every 39 seconds.
    • Revolution – a broadcast show rated TV-14 — had more violence than all of the TV-MA cable shows in the study.

    With this proof that violent broadcast TV shows contain similar levels of violence as cable shows and yet are rated differently, it is clear that the entire ratings system is fraudulent and requires a massive overhaul. TV ratings today only benefit Hollywood’s cash flow, not parents trying to protect their children.

    To read the entire study, click here.



    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.

    One Response to New PTC Study: More TV Violence, Rated Younger

    1. Cheryl
      December 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you for all the great information you provide! I have found that most of the shows on regular broadcast TV are way to violent for me, and I’m an adult. As a parent, it’s becoming so difficult to find content that is appropriate for children and is entertaining for the entire family, that I for once am seriously considering canceling my satellite TV subscription once the contract is up and relying solely on Netflix, DVD’s and Blu-Ray rentals, Hulu, etc to better control what is coming into the house. I wish that Hollyweird would get a clue and stop pumping out all this garbage.

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