Has television become more violent and vulgar? Recent studies seem to confirm that it is. One study found that 61 percent of TV shows in 1997 depicted violent acts while only 58 percent did in 1995. Perhaps even more disturbing was the discovery that 45 percent of the "bad" characters' violent behavior went unpunished and that an additional 39 percent of the violent characters were portrayed as "good" or "heroic" figures. The study also found that viewers were watching an average of six acts of violence an hour.
Vulgarity has also increased. The Parents Television Council found that during family hour, there had been a 47 percent jump in vulgarities in the last two years. They found that Disney-owned ABC led the pack with 3.47 sexual references per hour. A few of the ABC programs with numerous overt sexual references were sitcoms like Ellen, Spin City, and Dharma and Greg. And the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation proudly proclaimed that the 1997 TV network lineup included a "record-setting 30 lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters" which they estimated to be a 23 percent increase over the 1996 lineup.
So what's a parent to do? Oh, I don't know, maybe start by turning off your television set. And perhaps you could write to the sponsors of these programs and tell them what you think. Maybe you could tell them that it isn't worth turning on television when it's so violent and vulgar. So not only will you not be watching the programs, you won't be watching their commercials either. I'll bet you get their attention.
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International