South Florida father fights to reduce graphic violence on TV
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (CBS12) —
With just the a few clicks on a remote, the possibilities for children are endless.
That’s why a South Florida father says he’s concerned about what children are watching on TV.
Gary Lesser is a board member at the Parents Television Council, a non-partisan education organization advocating to protect children and families from graphic sex, violence and profanity.
“I have three daughters," he said. "I don’t want there to be an entertainment culture that says more graphic violence, more sex sells, this is all OK, this is normal, it’s not okay and it’s not normal."
The group claims that on a nightly basis, the publicly-owned airwaves are a toxic environment awash with depictions of violence and gun violence. In fact, it claims in a recently released report that since the school shooting in Newtown five years ago, violence and gun violence on prime time broadcast television have actually increased proportionally.
Data from last November found 61 percent of the 287 original episodes that aired on the broadcast networks contained some form of violence, according to the report.
“It does have an effect,” Florida Atlantic University psychology professor Robin Vallacher said, adding that the impact also comes with caveats and can lead to children being desensitized.
“I think it changes their world view," he said. "I think they tend to see the world through that lenses and they probably see more violence out there that otherwise would exist and they become desensitized to it."
“As parents and grandparents as a country, we don’t want children to think that excessive violence and gun violence is normal but the Hollywood entertainment industry is pushing this out more and more,” he said.
Lesser says the TV content ratings system also needs to be reformed.