A new survey conducted in the wake of
the Newtown, Conn., school shooting rampage shows that parents overwhelmingly
believe that violence in TV, movies and videogames contributes to violence
overall, with a majority saying that the prevalance of mayhem in the media
making it difficult to shieled their children from such images.
The survey, conducted by SurveryUSA on behalf of
Common Sense Media and the Center for American Progress, showed that parents
were split on the question of whether violence in videogames is a “major” or
“minor” problem. Although parents said that the current voluntary movie and
videogame ratings allowed them to make informed decisions about violent content,
they also were in favor of limiting when ads for graphic videogames and movies
can air and be shown in theaters.
The survey, conducted from Jan. 4 to 5, was of
1,050 parents who have a child under the age of 18 living at home.
Respondents were asked whether a series of items
“contributes to violence in the United States.” Topping the list was “lack of
supervision of children,” with 93%, followed by bullying, 92%; “crime in day to
day life,” 86%; violence in TV and movies, 77%; “easy access to guns,’ 75%;
“violence in videogames,” 75%; and violent toys, 64%.
The survey showed that 75% of parents found
shielding their children from violence “difficult.” After shown an ad for the
videogame “Hitman: Absolution,” 84% of parents found that it was “not
appropriate” to air the spot when children were watching TV. Some 63% said the
same when shown a trailer for “Gangster Squad.”
Common Sense Media, an parental advocacy org,
cited the survey results in a letter to Vice President Joseph Biden, who is
scheduled to meet on Thursday evening with representatives from entertainment
and later in the week with representatives from the videogame business.
Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer used the
results to bolster their call for limits on marketing of violent material. He
outlined a series of proposals in his letter, including a voluntary moratorium
on all advertising for violent videogames and violent movie trailers during
programming when children are watching. He also is calling for legislation that
wo9uld give the FCC authority to restrict the marketing of violent videogames,
movies trailers and promotions when children are watching, as well as a more
prominent display of movie, TV and videogame ratings on marketing materials.
Another proposal calls for the Federal Trade Commission to require that the gun
industry revela all product placements and tie-ins with the videogame
A recent survey done by Penn Schoen Berland and
the Hollywood Reporter showed that 70% of respondents over 30 felt there was too
much violence in advertising for movies and TV shows, with 34% supporting
greater restrictions. But 75% said it was not the role of the White House or
Congress to pressure the industry to tone it down.
The complete results of the SurveyUSA poll are below: