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TV Watershed awareness up

LONDON: An annual survey carried out by the Independent Television Commission reveals that awareness of the U.K.'s television watershed has reached 90 percent among adults for the first time....
May 1, 1996

LONDON: An annual survey carried out by the Independent Television Commission reveals that awareness of the U.K.’s television watershed has reached 90 percent among adults for the first time.

Awareness is even higher among parents, with 93 percent now recognizing the 9 p.m. watershed, beyond which program-makers are allowed to assume children are not watching when determining editorial content.

The survey ‘Television: The Public’s View’ also shows that the majority of people (63 percent) believe responsibility for children’s viewing lies mainly with parents, with 29 percent believing it should be shared with broadcasters and just six percent believing broadcasters alone should be responsible.

Nearly one in three parents interviewed said they had actively prevented their children from watching certain channels because they felt they were unsuitable or bad for them. This proportion was higher among parents who were cable and satellite subscribers (36 percent). Mothers were more likely to take action than fathers, and respondents with young children (aged 5 to 9) were the most likely to intervene.

However, despite current hysteria about the introduction of the V-chip into the U.K., parents seem reluctant to take up services that are already available to block channels.

Cable or satellite subscribing parents were asked whether they ever used the existing control devices, with the majority of such services allowing them to block channels they do not wish their children to see. Only 31 percent said they had such a device, and of those, only 12 percent (around three percent of all cable or satellite subscribers) used the system frequently.

As in previous years, the survey found that the main causes of offence are bad language, violence and sex/nudity in that order.

The ITC also discovered that in households with children, 35 percent had sets in the child’s bedroom. The ITC is required by law to assess public opinion concerning programming and the effects of these programs on viewers’ attitudes, behavior and preferences.

The interview sample consisted of 1,371 adults with working TV sets.

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