FCC report finds violent TV harms children

The FCC last week found that exposure to violence in the media can increase aggressive behavior by children and recommended that action should be taken to address violent programming.

The commission released the report April 25, responding to a request from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce that the FCC undertake an inquiry on television violence.

The committee wanted the commission to consider the harm such programming has on children and whether the FCC should define "excessively violent programming that is harmful to children" and regulate it.

Among the reports highlights:

  • Research provides strong evidence that exposure to violence in the media can increase aggressive behavior in children, at least in the short term.
  • Viewer-initiated blocking and mandatory ratings impose lesser burdens on protected speech, but the report is skeptical that they will fully serve the government's interests in promoting parental supervision and protecting minors.
  • The V-chip is of limited effectiveness in protecting children from violent television content.
  • Cable operator-provided advanced parental controls do not appear to be available on a sufficient number of cable-connected television sets to be considered an effective solution.
  • Additional action to enable viewer-initiated blocking of violent television serves the government's interests in protecting the well-being of children and facilitating parental supervision and likely would be upheld as constitutional.

For more information, visit: www.fcc.gov.