Parents unaware of TV turn-off time

NZ Herald May 07, 2008
Fewer than half of Kiwi parents know what time adult programming starts on television. A new survey shows children are learning about the cut-off faster than their parents. A survey by the Broadcasting Standards Authority found 46 per cent of parents and 22 per cent of children knew 8.30pm was the time programmes unsuitable for children started screening on TV. And while 17 per cent fewer parents knew of the “watershed” time than in 2001, 10 per cent more children knew of the time now than seven years ago. Under broadcasting codes, television channels do not show adult-oriented material until after 8.30pm.

The research shows many children are still watching after that time – nearly half of children say they watched television after 8.30pm on a Friday or Saturday. That means they are watching horror films, and shows with sexual content and violence, such as Desperate Housewives and Crime Scene Investigation. BSA chief executive Dominic Sheehan said the drop in awareness came as a surprise. “We didn’t realise it had fallen by this much,” he said.

…The study found there had been an explosion of media devices in homes since 2001. But television was still the most-used – 99 per cent of children said they watched TV. More than a quarter had a television set in their bedroom, up 9 per cent from 2001. Broadcasting Minister Trevor Mallard said the findings underlined the need for parents to be aware of what their children were seeing. Parents listed violence, bad language, sexual content and nudity as things they did not think their children should see on television.