Family First NZ says that family television viewing is ‘saturated’ with foul language and sexual content.
A Family First investigation of 15 programmes on four free-to-air channels between 6pm and 8.30pm over a period covering November 4 – 13 found a saturation of foul language, sexual innuendo, and promotion of Adult Only programmes.
“We were appalled at the constant diet of sexual content and foul language on free-to-air television during times when families should feel safe when watching programmes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
Words featured during supposed family viewing times included b**ch, fu*k, a*s, pi**, bast**d, bl**dy, and included expressions such as “holy f**k”, “sex with your mother”, “shove bottle up his a** ”, and “a** bit** ”.
Among the worst offenders was Two And A Half Men which screens on TV2 at 7.30pm. Offensive language included “son of a bit** “, “damn” “hell”, “a** “, and constant sexual talk including references to “licking”, “stiffy”, “orgasms”, and “masturbation”.
Another programme of huge concern was Just Shoot Me which screens on TV2 at 6pm every weekday night. The two programmes monitored included “bast**d”, “pi** “, “a** “, and constant sexual themes and innuendo throughout.
The most concerning was Police 10 Seven on TV2 at 8pm. Expletives included “a** bit** “ and many more offensive terms which, although beeped, were written as coded subtitles but which left little to the imagination. These included “you c**ts”, “f** prick”, “f** faggot”, “f** you”, and “f** niggers”.
Also of huge concern was the number of programmes which are rated for Adult viewing only screening well after the watershed time of 8.30, yet were promoted between 6pm and 8.30pm. Examples included promos during TV1’s 6pm News for Virgin School screened at 9.30pm and Mistresses screened at 8.30pm, a promo on TV3 before 8.30 for Outrageous Fortune at 9.30pm including scenes of a strip show, and a promo for Playboy Mansion on C4 at 7pm.
“Television viewing is an integral part of family life but the so-called family watershed time is being called into question. Broadcasters are normalising the use of foul language and sexual content to children and young people.”
“This study has revealed that the term ‘broadcasting standards’ is a complete oxymoron. Parents do not want their children bombarded with foul language and sexual content – yet broadcasters are pushing the boundaries with little to no retribution,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is calling for television networks to take seriously their responsibility to protect families and children from material that is offensive and disturbs or adversely influences young people’s attitudes and behaviour.
They are also calling for the development and enforcing of higher standards for TV, film, radio and advertising content including levels of violence, sexual content and objectionable language, and a complete overhaul of the BSA, ASA and Censorship Board with regular changing of board members after limited terms of office to avoid desensitisation or lack of accountability.
“Standards should be developed according to a family perspective, not an individual rights or freedom of expression perspective,” says Mr McCoskrie.