Family First NZ says that a study linking tv programmes containing strong sexual themes to risky sexual behaviour by teens is a warning that we must take censorship more seriously in NZ.
The study published in the latest issue of the US Journal Pediatrics found that teenage pregnancies and sexual activity were twice as common among teenagers who had watched sexually-charged programmes compared with those who hardly ever watched them.
“With NZ having one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the OECD, we would do well to heed the warnings of this study,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “These programmes also fail to clearly represent the risks and consequences of their behaviour.”
“For too long censorship in NZ has failed our families because it has been based around a flawed premise of ‘freedom of speech’ which fails to address whether the programmes are harmful to the attitudes and behaviours of people who watch large amounts of these types of programmes. The same concern has been expressed over the level of violent content, and whether that is contributing to increasingly violent schools, youth gangs, and aggressive students.”
“With the ability to record programmes and easy access by teens to videos and computer games, the so-called ‘watershed hour’ is a farce, and most tv networks are simply pushing the boundaries anyway.”
Family First is calling for a complete review of broadcasting and advertising standards, and an overhaul of the Censorship process to develop and enforce higher standards for TV, film, radio and advertising content including levels of violence, sexual content and objectionable language.
“Standards should be developed according to a family perspective, not an individual rights perspective,” says Mr McCoskrie.