• Parents Television Council Statement Following White House Media Violence Meeting

    by  • March 12, 2018 • Broadcast Decency, Ratings Reform, Television, Violence • 13 Comments


    The PTC’s Director of Programs, Melissa Henson, details her meeting at the White House with President Trump.


    On Thursday, March 8th, I met at the White House with President Trump, other public policy experts on media violence, and representatives of the video game industry, regarding violent media and its impact on children.

    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.

    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 the time is up for the entertainment industry to put a stop to marketing graphic, explicit, and age-inappropriate content to our children.

    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, and 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.

    MViolence_DonateBut 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 different 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, the 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.


    Below is the video that President Trump presented to the participants at the beginning of the meeting.
    WARNING: There are very graphic images of violence shown from various video games that children can have access to.



    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

    13 Responses to Parents Television Council Statement Following White House Media Violence Meeting

    1. moax429
      March 20, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Right on, Phillip!

    2. Lori
      March 19, 2018 at 10:31 am

      I couldn’t even finish watching the posted video. This is sick. Not only should no one allow their children to watch such violence, no adult should be watching it either. Exposure to this type of violence is what leads to the desensitizing of not only young people but adults as well and their disconnection with real life impacts. However, the simple law of supply and demand comes into play here. As long as people choose to purchase violent content, it will be supplied by the industry. Do we expect the industry to turn down the opportunity to make the money they do? Of course not, but we can hold them to the ratings so adults can make informed decisions. Also parents, you shouldn’t rely 100% on the ratings anyway, investigate it yourself and see if it meets your standards. There is plenty of info. out there on the internet, so no excuse. In any event, it doesn’t say much for our sick and depraved society that there is a large enough market out there that would enjoy such violence.

      • Julie
        March 19, 2018 at 10:55 am

        I totally agree – very well said.

    3. Renee
      March 17, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      I find the scenes depicted in these video games deeply disturbing and I am an adult. Definitely inappropriate for children.

      • Karen Sanderson
        March 17, 2018 at 6:50 pm

        This is way over the top that even adults shouldn’t see!

    4. Sandra Walden
      March 17, 2018 at 8:25 am

      As parents we have never had pay TV in our home and we did our best to make sure our children while growing up were only watching things appropriate for their age. However, we have been in movie theaters where adults took their kids along to see a movie that in our opinion was not age appropriate for children.

      While I agree it is the parents responsibility to keep their kids away from things that are not age appropriate, I also believe there is way to much blood and gore on TV during hours when kids may be home and around and way to many violent video games. The one above is just grouse.

      I would also like to remind the skeptics that as our kids grow up they are not always at home with their parents. They maybe at a friends house watching this kind of crap where a parent is not home or doesn’t care. Not every parent shares the same values as other parents do, as in the example I gave above. Parents can only do so much. I believe Hollywood, gaming companies and broadcasting need to own up to the role they play in promoting violence in the world. When I was growing up TV was much different than it is today!!

    5. Maddox Cox
      March 16, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      There is 2 thousand likes OMG! vs 90 thousand dislikes SMH

    6. Ted Huizinga
      March 16, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      I’m not an expert in this field, but I am an extremely bright human being. What is being peddled as “game” is nothing more than an effort to financially gain from the natural depravity instincts of humanity and at the same time promote senseless disgusting and reprehensible violence. People addicted to this material begin to lose sight of reality versus “game” and will (as we have all witnessed with the tragic gun violence) act out the violent acts on real human beings. How anyone can be against guns and yet be ok with this very sick material is beyond me and is the height of hypocrisy. People you need to get a grip on this one.

    7. Jeff Hill
      March 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      Yeah I am 50 years old and enjoy video games but the video above was crazy violent and even upsetting.

      Kids should not be subjected to this and adults should chose not to.

    8. Jonathan
      March 12, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      As someone who has actually worked in retail and sold video games, the fact that you say that it’s easy for a a minor to buy a M rated game without an adult is a lie. A employee can lose their job if they sell a M rated game to a minor without their parents being there and approve of it. I have actually been on the other end as well forgot my wallet and couldn’t buy the game since I didn’t have my ID.

      You should actually look into this stuff if you want “inform” people. Also why don’t you show both sides of the argument? Why just show the studies that support your agenda but not the ones that disprove it?

      • Wade
        March 14, 2018 at 1:26 pm

        The PTC just wants their views and agenda heard and no one else they don’t want to be challenged on their research and how wrong they are about broadcasting & Hollywood about media violence. I have from time to time had to show ID to buy a violent video game which I’m more into Madden NFL & the sports games than anything else. The PTC blames everyone mainly broadcasters & Hollywood and not the parents and as I always say it’s parents not government as The PTC wants.

        • Phillip
          March 17, 2018 at 5:14 pm

          Go away Wade, and no, the PTC does not have any agendas!

          • Lex
            April 27, 2018 at 11:38 am

            PTC is marxist anti freedom of speech

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