Teens Say Too Much Sex, Violence, Profanity on TV – Poll

Media Release 14 January 2012
A nationwide poll of 600 young people aged 15-21 poll has found that teenagers – and especially young women – are concerned about declining broadcasting standards.

When asked “Do you agree or disagree with this statement – that there is too much sex, bad language and violence on television?” 51% of the young people agreed. Young women were far more likely (57%) than young men (45%) to agree. Those aged 20 and 21 were more likely to agree that those aged under 20.

A similar poll of all NZ’ers in 2010 about programmes broadcast before the 8.30pm watershed, ironically called ‘family viewing’, found that 65% of respondents were concerned about the content shown before 8.30 pm when teenagers would most likely be watching. Once again, women – along with over 60 year olds – were most concerned.

“Parents are sick and tired of lunging for the remote to protect children from offensive and inappropriate content during family viewing hours – including promos for upcoming adult-rated programmes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. 

“The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) tries to argue that their standards are reflecting community standards. However, it is quite clear that as they allow broadcasters to push the boundaries, the standards are lowered, offensive material becomes more mainstream, and is then used far more in the media. But we now know that NZ’ers – including the majority of our young people – are hugely concerned by this trend. Women are right to be the most concerned.”

A 2010 report by the US-based Parents Television Council gave strong evidence that television shows being shown in NZ are promoting the sexualisation of girls. And a 2009 report documented an alarming rise in violence against women and girls on prime-time television, including a shocking rise in the depiction of teenage girls as victims, more scenes showing intimate partner violence, and an increase in the use of violence against women as a punch line in comedy series.

Last year, senior Labour MP Lianne Dalziel said the “Adults Only” television watershed should be moved to 7.30pm as 8.30pm no longer reflected the content of the shows broadcast.

Family First is calling for the development and enforcing of higher standards for TV, film, radio and advertising content including levels of violence, sexual content and objectionable language, and a
complete overhaul of the BSA, ASA and Censorship Board with greater community and family representation.

The Curia Market Research poll surveyed 600 15-21 year olds nationwide. The poll was conducted between 4 and 6 December 2011 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.1%.