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Family Update, Online!

Volume 04  Issue 12 25 March 2003
Topic: Parental Paralysis?

Family Fact: Parents, kids, and drugs

Family Quote: Parents, kids, and R movies

Family Research Abstract: Parental Paralysis Part II

Family Fact of the Week: Parents, kids, and drugs TOP of PAGE

"Years of CASA research have repeatedly found that parents are the most important resource we have to prevent substance abuse in our teens.  In the 2000 survey, half of teens (49 percent) who had not tried marijuana credited their parents with their decision.  Expressing strong negative attitudes about marijuana to teens is important: teens who perceive marijuana as 'not harmful' are at more than two and a half times greater substance-abuse risk than teens who think marijuana is 'very harmful.'" 

(Source: Joseph A. Califano, et al, National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse VII: Teens, Parents and Siblings, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, August, 2002.) 

Family Quote of the Week: Parents, kids, and R movies TOP of PAGE

"Open letter to the mother sitting in front of me at last week's 'Cradle 2 the Grave' screening:

Your daughter seemed to be about 8 years old, with her white dress and her hair done up in braids. I wonder what she thought when the people in this R-rated movie kidnapped a little girl about her age, duct-taped her mouth shut and shoved her into a van, planning to kill her later.

...So here's a tip to everybody: If you're too cheap, lazy or clueless to hire a baby sitter when you want to see R-rated movies, stay home.

If you can't do that, don't be surprised if your little girl grows up to be a thug, because you started exposing her to degrading images when she was still in elementary school. And don't blame society, either. Blame the person you see in the mirror."

(Source: Lawrence Toppman, "If you can't find a baby sitter, stay out of R movies," The Charlotte Observer, March 7, 2003; http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/entertainment/columnists/lawrence_toppman/5336075.htm.) 

For More Information TOP of PAGE

The Howard Center and The World Congress of Families stock a number of pro-family books, including Utopia Against the Family: The Problems and Politics of the American Family, by Dr. Bryce Christensen. Please visit:

    The Howard Center Bookstore   

 Call: 1-815-964-5819    USA: 1-800-461-3113    Fax: 1-815-965-1826    Contact: Bookstore 

934 North Main Street Rockford, Illinois 61103

Family Research Abstract of the Week: Parental Paralysis Part II: Television TOP of PAGE

In a follow-up to their acclaimed 1997 study, Kids These Days, detailing how children are viewed in American society, researchers from Public Agenda have recently released a study commissioned by the State Farm Insurance Companies purposing to "explore the parental side of the equation."  Conducted using a survey of 1,607 parents of children between 5 and 17 years of age, the report, titled A Lot Easier Said Than Done, describes a world in which parents battle for the safety and souls of their kids.

Among several noteworthy findings of the study, of particular interest is one found in a chapter headed, "Television: A Worrisome Old Friend." The researchers found that while 73 percent of parents worry about the negative effects of the television medium, and 39 percent worry "a lot", parents feel that they are all but helpless in light of the pervasiveness of television.

"Nearly the entire sample-90% of the parents interviewed-agrees that when it comes to 'bad language and adult themes, it seems like TV programs are getting worse every year,'" and 71 percent state that they have been personally "shocked or offended" in the past year by something on TV.  Even during the supposed "Family Hours" of primetime, 8:00 to 10:00 Eastern time, parents have noted a decided change in content, with only 19% saying programs shown during this time are "usually okay" for the whole family, and 65% remark that these shows are often "inappropriate for children."

However, this realization that television poses a potential threat to their children does not seem to translate into parental action, as only 13% who say "they have been shocked by something on TV have contacted the station or network to let them know."  Furthermore, the authors note that less than a quarter of parents-22%--have considered eliminating television altogether.

With almost every American owning at least one television set ("In this study, just 1 parent in 100 (1%) reports having no television in his or her home, and only about 1 in 8 (13%) reports having only one TV set."), and 56% of the parents who participated in this survey owning three or more television sets, parental concerns regarding TV's influence in their children's lives seems well-founded.  Yet, the fact that 51 percent of these parents also say that their child has a television in their own bedroom would seem to call into question assertions that "Almost half of parents (47%) say there is always an adult around when their child watches TV," and that only "7% report that there is hardly ever an adult present."

The unpleasant truth seems to be that parents feel overwhelmed by the media:  "What's more, many seem to say, TV is virtually unavoidable anyway..." Whether television itself is unavoidable may be debatable, but what are not are the long-term effects of children's over-exposure to violent, morally bankrupt and sexually-laden television programming.  Perhaps it is time for parents to take back the remote control.

(Source: Steve Farkas, Jean Johnson and Ann Duffett, A Lot Easier Said Than Done: Parents Talk about Raising Children in Today's America, State Farm Companies Foundations and Public Agenda, 2002.
 

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