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Free TV Australia might just force parents to parent

September 21st, 2009 at 01:26am

The Australian Christian Lobby are quite upset about a raft of proposed changes to the codes of practice which govern free-to-air commercial television in this country, and in some ways they may have a valid point, especially when it comes to the proposed ways of submitting and handling complaints, however the rest of their points seem to be along the lines of “there’s too much violence and sex on television, and there should be less, much less”…I think they’ve missed a crucial point in their attempt to further their crusade against naughtyness on the box.

One of the proposed changes which has caused significant alarm in the ACL ranks is the idea of, on the extra digital channels, removing the restrictions which require G rated programs to be shown at certain times of the day.

The commercial TV stations are trying to change the Code of Practice to allow PG programs to be screened at any time on their new digital multi-channels (which everyone has to switch over to by 2013). If this happens it would mean there would be NO set time of the day when commercial stations had to screen G-rated programs – representing a big deterioration in standards. We already have the problem of PG-rated programs containing greater levels of sex and violence. Do we want parents to NEVER have a guaranteed time when they know they can let young kids watch TV?

Oh goodness, how horrible it is that parents might actually have to monitor what their children are watching!

I have massive reservations about the blocks of time which are allocated to “child friendly” programming as, just because a program doesn’t contain violence, swearing or people being intimate, doesn’t mean that it is suitable for children to watch, and too many parents just turn a blind eye to those blocks of “child-friendly” programming because “the TV guide said it was OK for my child, who is under 15 years of age, to watch”.

Many of the shows push a particular world-view or attitude, and this can very easily differ from the values which parents are trying to instil in their children. Removing these blocks of “child-friendly” programming might just force parents to actually parent their children by paying attention to what their children are consuming from the box. Possibly more importantly, if parents notice that television programs aren’t suitable for their kids, the kids might just go outside and play.

I actually think that forcing a “the world is wonderful and everyone stands around sharing songs about the alphabet” view of the world on kids through “child-friendly” programming, especially once the kids have reached the latter half of primary school, is harmful, as an incredibly important part of growing up is finding out that you can’t trust everyone, and that bad things do happen. Children need to learn about the real world…obviously not all of the details all at once, but if they don’t learn about the real world, they will grow up to be overly trusting and ignorant.

The Australian Christian Lobby seem to favour the “wrap everyone up in wool” approach, which is unfortunate for a group which wants to positively influence the direction of the country. I fail to see how anybody can keep the many bad influences in the world at bay, if they are wrapped in enough wool to not be able to understand the problems with the bad influences.


Entry Filed under: Samuel's Editorials,TV/Radio/Media

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