Kaiser: Ads Worry Parents, Want Government To Step In

Benjamin Franklin said nothing is certain but death and taxes. It's time to add advertising to his list.

According to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, while 65% of parents closely monitor their kids' media use, nearly 70% worry that their kids see too much advertising. Some are more alarmed than others--one in three parents (34%) say they're very concerned, while 35% say they're somewhat concerned. It's not just the amount of advertising that bothers parents--it's the content, too.

Says Vicky Rideout, vice president and director of Kaiser's Program for the Study of Entertainment Media and Health: "Parents feel they're juggling media-ratings tools and parental advisories. They look for safe versions of songs. They check out their kids' MySpace profiles and monitor IMing and e-mails. Yet they can't control things like TV advertising.

"They check the ratings of the shows," she adds, "but can't control the ads with scantily clad women or promos for upcoming programs that pull out the most salacious parts, like the violent or highly charged sexual scenes."



This frustration comes at a time when most parents (65%) are very concerned that their kids are overexposed to inappropriate media content in general. The solution? Many are taking control. Compared to 1998, parental use of music advisories has increased to 52% from 41%, while about half of all parents use TV and video-game ratings.

But parents also think the government and TV networks should step in to help.

The survey found that 66% of parents favor government regulations to limit TV content during early evening hours. As regard inappropriate advertising, Rideout says many parents feel networks should only show commercials that are consistent with the age group for which the programming is intended. Meaning: End the promos for "House" during commercial breaks for the kid-popular "American Idol."

The study consists of a random telephone survey of 1,008 U.S. parents of kids ages 2 to 17, as well as six parental focus groups.

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