Originally posted spring 2008
Television is not something new to people in this century. Almost everyone watches television today, and many watch it a bit more than they should. This is not a bad thing it might help to release some stress and help some relax, while for others it might give them their only source of news, that is, if they watch the news instead of reading the newspaper. It does prevent many people from going outside and getting the exercise that they need. Just about all American families today own at least one TV set. It is getting to be where some families own one for every room. This is unbelievable, whatever happened to the days where families would go to the park or take a walk? This is becoming less and less popular, now people are just putting their kids in front of the TV and having the TV be the babysitter for a couple hours. Richard Louv states in his book that children are beginning to like the indoors better, as well as their parents. This is depriving them from learning what this world is really all about; it’s not about playing video computer games, or even watching TV (Eartheasy Book Review). Most people really don't pay any attention to the rules and regulations put on the TV networks. The rules are becoming harsher in some aspects, but then in other situations they are becoming more lax. Many shows are becoming a little more risky in what they show. There are loads of laws that have been placed upon broadcasting stations to prevent many much obscene, indecent, and profane shows.
Many of the laws that govern the TV stations are stated on the web. Some are not stated so clearly and to the average person they may seem like mumbo jumbo. The laws and regulations not clearly written out in terms that we can understand. The people that work in this industry can identify what they mean, but what about those who can’t? Why shouldn’t they be able to understand them? As long as those who work in the TV industry know what they are doing it is okay. If any of the TV stations break a rule that is put upon them they will get their license taken away, they could have a warning placed on their station, and/or a fine placed upon the station. The laws that guide the stations preventing them from showing any indecent materials are abundant. For indecent broadcasting they have many regulations such as, anything involving inappropriate language or any inappropriate sexual organs can only be aired between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., after these times no inappropriate shows can be aired. Obscene broadcasting cannot be aired at any time, this refers to anything that is blatantly offensive. Profane programming is also only allowed at certain times. This kind of material is any defined as profanity that is extremely offensive. Some shows are also made to be delayed or previewed before they are shown. This allows for the shows to be safe to go on the air. For programs like commercials they have rules saying on a kids channel the commercials cannot exceed 10.5 minutes on the weekend and 12 minutes in the week. If the channel is an educational one, they are prohibited from airing commercials. For other programs they have a little more leeway with their commercials and how long they are aired. For drug advertisements such as the use of alcohol or cigarettes, they can only be aired on programs that no one under the age of 21 will be watching. They cannot promote it on any channels that are related to college students as well. There are many more regulations put upon broadcasting stations, but these are some main ones.
Many of these laws are not so troublesome for the viewers of the TV shows. Although the makers of the shows feel a little more stressed about this. They feel that since they have all of these rules, they will not be able to show what they want. They can’t make the shows as powerful as they would like. One person interviewed, who is a TV watcher, said he thought there shouldn’t be as many rules put on the shows shown. He thinks that it is not their job to regulate what we watch, but it is ourselves, and for the younger children it is the parent’s job to monitor what they watch. On the other hand another interviewee, who is also a TV watcher, said she thought there needs to be harsher rules. This is because it is wrong to have the sex and violence on the television. There needs to be an exclusive channel that has this, or they need to make the times that the shows are on much later. She said that we need to regulate the shows better so that the children won’t get all the ideas that sex and violence create. Either way there is an abundance of laws that need to be abided by or else face some harsh consequences.
Ways to Escape Controls:
In order to stay away from all of these regulations all we need to do is go outside or turn off the TV. If someone has such a problem with these laws then why don’t they just go outside? Isn’t it better for us to go take a walk instead of sitting on the couch watching TV? Maybe if the TV was turned off more often, there wouldn’t be as many overweight people in this country. Why not get the family together at night and play games or read? That would then get their minds working instead of just turning it into mush when they watch TV. Let’s all just throw out our TVs, who needs them anyway? The producers and makers of the shows can just cut it out. They can find ways to not show things and still make the show funny and powerful.
“Obscene, Indecent and Profane Broadcasts.” 2007. Federal Communications Commission. 21 Mar. 2008 <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/obscene.html>.
“Eartheasy Book Review: Last Child in the Woods.” Eartheasy. 30 Mar. 2008 <http://eartheasy.com/bookreview_Last_Child_in_Woods.htm>.
“Commercial Limits in Children’s Programming.” Federal Communications Commission. 30 Mar. 2008 <http://www.fcc.gov/parents/commercials.html>.