• What’s Worse – Sex or Violence?

    by  • August 11, 2015 • 4 Every Girl • 18 Comments


    That’s the question du jour this week, it seems.

    Headlines from The Washington Post, ABC News, and People, among others, talk about Miley Cyrus’ comments about sex and violence in entertainment, questioning why one seems to get more attention than the other.

    Great questions, Miley. We’re glad you brought that up.

    Our long-standing mission at the Parents Television Council has been to combat sex, violence, and profanity on TV and in entertainment and bring about public awareness of those issues because of the long-term harmful effects they can have on children.

    So is the graphic sex worse than graphic violence, or is the graphic violence worse than the graphic sex? The reality is that both can be harmful to children. Social and medical science confirms what most parents instinctively know to be true: children who consume explicit entertainment content — both sexual imagery and violent imagery — can be negatively impacted. Justifying one by pointing to the other is deceptive at best, and toxic to the mental and physical health of children at worst.

    We are especially concerned about the harmful effects that sexualized media can have on young girls, and created a campaign, “
    4 Every Girl,” to address this problem.

    Just two years ago, our own research found that underage female characters on primetime broadcast television are more likely to be presented in sexually exploitative scenes than adult women.

    That’s unacceptable.

    And our research also shows that there’s way too much violence on TV. In our most recent study on media violence, we found that the volume and degree of violent content shown on broadcast and cable television are virtually indistinguishable, and that broadcast TV shows in the study consistently underrated graphically-violent content as appropriate for 14-year-old children, even though similar content on the cable networks was rated for mature audiences only.

    That’s also unacceptable.

    We think the question shouldn’t be which type of content is worse. The question is what the entertainment industry is going to do about it. Everyone in the industry is responsible, but no one likes to take any ownership for the harm that can be done to children, instead pointing fingers at parents as the only ones who should be responsible. While parents should be involved in their children’s media, they are certainly not the only ones to blame.

    Consider that the entertainment industry is eager to tout any successes it may have with how TV can influence the culture for good. We’ve certainly seen that with anti-smoking on TV campaigns, and other causes.

    But influence doesn’t end at the good.

    That’s just the beginning.



    18 Responses to What’s Worse – Sex or Violence?

    1. Bob
      September 8, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      It seems today that all you see is violence in movies, and sex on TV. But where are those good old fashioned values, on which we used to rely?

    2. Ron
      August 17, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      The sexual content a child is exposed to is almost always presented as normal, as ok, as acceptable, as good, etc. regardless of how far afield it strays from the traditional notion that God intended the sex act to be enjoyed within the sacred union (marriage) of a man and woman. Only infrequently is the sex presented as having negative physical or emotional consequences. So, a child can readily absorb the message that “if it feels good, go ahead and do it.”

      On the other hand, the violent content a child is exposed to is almost always presented as a clash of good versus evil with both physical and emotional consequences. This can deter a child from becoming desensitized to the use of violence as a way to obtainin power or pleasure.

    3. Jennifer
      August 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

      Miley’s womanhood is up in ruins because of her outlandish yet sexual and violent behavior in public. She was once an innocent young girl at that time she was on Disney Channel. My worse case scenario is that both sex and violence can be incorrigible on television. Parents must advise their children to change channels.

    4. Sheri
      August 17, 2015 at 6:06 am

      I have not read anyone’s opinion, I’m just leaving my own.
      We have a JAGUARS GOLD CLUB in our town.
      One day, a guy ( I do not understand why strip joints are called gentlemen so clubs- that is an oxymoron) Spent several hours watching the strippers. Then, when he left, he was driving bu a hotel, saw a pretty business woman, pulled his car over, and beat her face until it was unrecognizeable.
      My cop cousin responded to the call.

      It is my opinion that sex ( perverted, vulgar strip joint mentality). Leads to a lot MORE violence.

    5. Rosie
      August 15, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      I also see sexual content as more harmful to children and even adults because we are more prone to act as we see. Violence takes a little more discernment even with children because there is harm done to others. In sex, it is primarily
      oneself and the life of the other person is not threatened. In a normal mind, violence is quite unreal. Sex on the other hand can happen anytime.

    6. Craig
      August 15, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      We need LOVE, MERCY, AND COMPASSION not graphic sex and graphic violence. GOD created the first and WE created the second.

    7. Slycat
      August 14, 2015 at 9:11 am

      I think that the stuff playing on TV and in the theaters is not very healthy in either case. Teens are feeling more pressured to not be virgins or to have kids at a young age. They also feel entitled to everybody treating them special. I think it is sad that teens no longer enjoy their childhood. We as humans spend so many more years as an adult that we forget how short life is as a kid. So why not encourage kids to be kids. Humans should be encouraging acting goofy, running around, finishing homework (which is practice for the work force), riding bikes, jumping in pools, playing tag (or any other game-not video games), and the like. I also feel like it’s not what is playing on the different forms of media, but how it is perceived. For example, an adult can watch “Wicked” or “Maleficent” and know that it is just a story. However, a kid/teen watched these two things and thinks “wow the main character was really treated badly and deserves to punish others.” An adult thinks “how sad that the main character was treated badly, but that doesn’t mean she should be mean.” A kid/teen would even agree that if you are treated badly, you should treat others badly. An adult would say that’s life, just take it and move on. My friends teased me and I them, but never in a million years did it cross my mind to shoot up my school and friends because my feelings got hurt. We as a society need to be teaching kids that taking revenge on people doesn’t solve your problem. You will most likely end up in jail, and then no one will like you. Kids need their childhood to stay that way.

    8. Gayle
      August 14, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Great article. Will this appear on any opinion pages on Sunday? Is there a campaign to contact the executive decision makers to change their content?

    9. Nancy
      August 14, 2015 at 8:05 am

      2088883924 I feel both sex and violence have increased and are bad for us. I would like to see it controlled better.

    10. Firstlady03
      August 14, 2015 at 6:57 am

      I think they are about equal as far as children are concerned. I’m a married woman, however, and personally the sex bothers me more than the violence.

      • Lori K.
        August 14, 2015 at 11:13 am

        I believe that sex and nudity in movies/TV programs is more insidious, and therefore harmful, because men are more sexually stimulated by sight, and because men are called (figuratively and literally) to defend, with arms, their families, their communities, and their countries. Thus, I think it’s at least more acceptable (between these two) to allow our young men to be exposed to violence, as it serves as a means of desensitizing to the horrors of war. But there is never an excuse or reason to desensitize people to the exploitation of women (or men) for the purpose of public sexual consumption or the rampant topic of sex outside of marriage, and the portrayal of sex acts, as well as exposure to gay/lesbian relationships in all visual media. The Bible says that to look upon a woman (person) with lust is the same as committing fornication or adultery and that same-sex acts/relationships are an abomination to the Lord. I’m not concerned that my boys will go out and blow up someone or something, or gun down a bunch of people somewhere, or even raise their fist to someone in anger; but I sure am concerned that my sons will find themselves in a tempting situation with a girl, and things will “slip” and go too far, especially since sex and partial nudity, even among very young people, is common fodder in the entertainment industry, and virgins are considered laughable, a tragedy and something that ‘needs’ remedied.

        • CMarie
          August 16, 2015 at 8:11 pm

          Couldn’t agree more, you thoughts and comments are right on. Having grown children with children of their own proves it out. In the late 70′s early 80′s everyone was starting to worry about violence. Then when a kid or group of kids did something horrendous like shooting up schools, etc., everyone used that as their “proof.” But you RARELY heard that backdrop where each of the kids was involved with Satanic music – anyone who understands life should understand that is where the influence came from. Fast forward, because violence was thought to be the culprit to all ills, more sex came into the scene. Think about the reality of today 2015, the use of drugs, sex, etc – its out of control. More pregnancies, more single moms, more lost souls all because sex has taken over and the uncontrollable urges brings on not only agreed upon actions, but rape as well. Sex is the worst culprit and the internet porn industries proves that fact.

          • Sho mi yo folse claymes
            August 20, 2015 at 7:31 pm

            Honestly, we should not blame tv or video games or comics for shootings and such crimes, it’s the mentality of the person not the things i mentioned that are falsely blamed it’s the person’s mental state, and how the parents deal with a child that has a severe mental problem. Honestly its okay if the kid is mature and understands what he is doing and knows it is not right to do any very violent or sexual acts in the real world. I need some reels for my memory so people can understand this logic.

        • SueL
          February 12, 2016 at 7:01 am

          Very well stated. Although, I would add that young men (and women) need to be taught when violence is acceptable and when it isn’t. Also, I don’t think desensitizing to the horrors of war is a good thing (even when it is unavoidable, our hearts should still be pricked at the loss of life) but as many of our young people may end up as soldiers or as law enforcement officers that could find themselves in situations requiring deadly force to be used (or even as a civilian in a situation requiring them to defend themselves &/or their family), it isn’t such a bad thing if they are exposed to a little of it. I think they should be older than many currently are before seeing it, though.

    11. Robert Santner
      August 14, 2015 at 6:42 am

      They are both bad and part of the same issue “a respect for life”. Since we are the only thing God made in His image they both amount to spitting in His face.

    12. Joyce Raby
      August 14, 2015 at 6:14 am

      Children are affected by both sexual content and violence on TV and in the movies. I truly believe that we are trying to destroy our children’s minds with both sexual content and violence. I have been a teacher in Florida for 45 years, and the kids seem to be more exposed to worldly influences year after year. We need to stand for more decent TV and movie shows for our youth.

    13. Chuck
      August 14, 2015 at 5:53 am

      Both bad, but profanities especially using G-ds
      and Jesus name are especially offensive! Also many movies would only be half as long without the “F” words!
      Can you imagine what would happen if Mohammad’s
      name was used that way?

      • Toss the Cobby Of Duty
        August 20, 2015 at 7:25 pm

        Honestly , I think both are worse for kids at a early , age I suggest violence for 12 year old that are capable of watching that do not have any threatening severe mental problems. Sexual content should be seen when they are 13 and the same reason I stated before. I also don’t get why we cant say the would f*ck and other words, I think we should have the right of freedom of censorship dearly on the internet. If you don’t like the words that some people might say avoid anything with those words. I’m going to eat some Doritos and mtn dew.

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