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A Minute for Parents

by JoAnn Hamilton

PTC Ranks Top TV Shows

I have great respect and appreciation for the Parents Television Council, www.ParentsTV.org, and the great work they do to help make television family friendly, especially during what is considered family hours.

Each year they do an evaluation of current TV shows. I thought you would be interested in what they considered most appropriate. This is what they said: "Believe it or not, reality shows are among the safest viewing options for children today. This is the surprising finding of the PTC's analysis of the 20 prime time broadcast shows most watched by children ages 2-17, according to Nielsen Media Research" (PTC Insider, Vol. 8, Number 12). The Parents Television Council found that none of the scripted shows most watched by children were appropriate for young viewers due to raunchy content (Ibid.).

They found that shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC/8:00 p.m. ET Sundays) and American Idol (Fox/Returning Spring '07) are popular with children and offer wholesome, family-friendly viewing. They also listed as "Most Suitable" NBC Sunday Night Football (NBC/7:00 p.m. ET Sundays), Deal or No Deal (NBC/8:00 p.m. ET Mondays and 9:00 p.m. ET Thursdays), Dancing with the Stars (ABC/8:00 p.m. ET Tuesdays, and American Inventor (ABC/Returning Spring '07).

These findings contradict the prevailing entertainment industry attitude that programming has to push the limits of gratuitous content to attract an audience (Ibid.).

Unfortunately popular with children but "Questionably Suitable" according to Parents Television Council is So You Think You Can Dance, The Simpsons, America's Got Talent, Biggest Loser and Survivor.

Totally "Not Suitable" for children according to PTC is, Lost, House, The War at Home, Grey's Anatomy, Prison Break, American Dad, Family Guy, Desperate Housewives and C.S.I.

PTC advocated that parents be aware that innocent-sounding television shows, such as Family Guy or American Dad are not what they sound like from the title. Their analysis shows that they are among the worst shows, which are watched by children, when it comes to pushing the limits of decency with heavy sexual innuendo, sexual themes, and foul language (Ibid.)

PTC's analysis showed that "every single top 20 scripted show that children watch is characterized by graphic sexual content, violence and coarse language" (Ibid.).

"The PTC ranked the top 20 programs according to their suitability for young viewers based on objective analysis of the frequency and explicitness of foul language, sexual content, and violence present in each series. Time slot, target audience, themes and plotlines of each program were also considered. Each series was rated as suitable, questionably suitable, or not suitable for young audiences, (as referenced above) and then ranked individually from best to worst." (Ibid.).

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