I want to watch football and I want my children to be able to watch football with me. I have come to realize that although football is safe for young eyes to watch, the commercials are not.
I‘ll let the kids watch the first bit of Saturday night football or Sunday night football before they go to bed. As soon as the station switches from the game to commercials, I grab the remote and have it ready to switch channels in case something bad comes on. They already don’t like going to bed. I don’t want some movie preview to scare them right before bedtime.
Movie previews are the worst when it comes to scary stuff. When it comes to anything else inappropriate, the TV station’s shows are the worst offenders. They have previews for whatever dramas or sitcoms they want to promote for the coming week, and the previews are meant to catch your attention. That means they don’t always show things that are what I want to see or what I want my kids to see.
I figured that went with the territory of the prime-time games.
I figured that the afternoon game would be safe to leave on commercial while I stepped away for a minute.
Alas, it was not. I forgot that it was Halloween. Somehow that made it okay to show disturbing images to young children during daylight hours… I came back to find my 4-year-old watching a TV screen that was showing people at a local (to whatever game it was) Halloween party. The costumes were very elaborate and professional looking, but also very grotesque and scary.
Now, whenever I leave the room during a football game or any other show, I turn the TV to the nothing-but-local-weather-not-even-commercials channel, one of the secondary digital channels here. I just can’t trust the TV stations’ judgment when it comes to content. Or maybe it’s really the advertising company that I can’t trust, but the end effect is the same – not watching commercials.
I got to thinking – why not rate the commercials? And then require a warning at the beginning of each commercial so that the viewer would have a chance to avoid it? They do that with normal TV programs already. The catch is that commercials are so short that the offensive material often starts very quickly, so the warning would need to last long enough. I thought that the worse the content was, the longer the warning would need to be.
- G would not need any warning
- PG would need a 1-second warning
- PG-13 would need a 2-second warning
- R would need a 3-second warning
While that’s a start, it’s insufficient. What if I’m changing channels and stumble into the middle of a commercial? The warning at the beginning wouldn’t help me then. Scratch that plan…
What about limiting a commercial’s rating to the program’s rating? A commercial’s rating should not be able to any worse (where G is good and R is bad) than the rating of the program during which it airs. What’s the point of rating a show as appropriate for children when at least 8 of the 30 minutes (that’s at least 26%) of the show is unchecked advertisements?
That would require a change to the broadcasting system, because not only are commercials not currently rated but sports and news shows are also not rated. My suggestion would be to make sports default to PG and news default to PG-13. If a network knows ahead of time that a sports show requires something other than PG (wresting, Superbowl halftime show, etc.), then it could set the actual rating of the show to the right level.
Once the rating of commercials is in place, then you could either trust the show will be safe (i.e. the rating will be what you expect throughout that whole block of time) or you could setup the V-Chip and know that offending or graphic or frightening commercials would not make it onto your TV screen. The V-Chip doesn’t work if something is not rated, so today’s V-Chip program ignores news and sports and commercials. Those gaps need to be closed somehow.
This blog post might not do much, or even affect the FCC or even my local TV station, but at least I feel better now. I just want my kids’ eyes and minds safe until they can discern what is good.
And I still want them safe after that too.
Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?