Seattle Children’s Hospital study: Parental attitudes influence children’s media choices

24 Jun

 

Some one told moi a story about a woman who wanted to introduce her 12 year old son to culture. The way she set about the introduction was to buy tickets for the entire Ring by Wagner. Perhaps, her son thoroughly enjoyed the Ring. More likely, he probably developed a hatred for opera. About the time that school starts around the beginning of September, many arts organizations begin their season. It is good to introduce your child to all types of artistic endeavors, but one should chose wisely by looking for cues as to what the child’s interests are and having an awareness of content.

 

What Types of Rating Systems Exist?

 

 

The Federal Trade Commission  (FTC) maintains a system of ratings to guide families in making appropriate entertainment choices for their children. The system describes movie ratings, many other venues such as theaters may use the system to describe their content. The Movie Ratings are: 

 

General Audience.All ages admitted. This signifies that the film rated contains nothing most parents will consider offensive for even their youngest children to see or hear. Nudity, sex scenes, and scenes of drug use are absent; violence is minimal; snippets of dialogue may go beyond polite conversation but do not go beyond common everyday expressions.

Parental Guidance Suggested.Some material may not be suitable for children. This signifies that the film rated may contain some material parents might not like to expose to their young children – material that will clearly need to be examined or inquired about before children are allowed to attend the film. Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.

Parents Strongly Cautioned.Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. This signifies that the film rated may be inappropriate for pre-teens. Parents should be especially careful about letting their younger children attend. Rough or persistent violence is absent; sexually-oriented nudity is generally absent; some scenes of drug use may be seen; one use of the harsher sexually derived words may be heard.

Restricted-Under 17requires accompanying parent or adult guardian (age varies in some locations). This signifies that the rating board has concluded that the film rated contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their children to see it. An R may be assigned due to, among other things, a film’s use of language, theme, violence, sex or its portrayal of drug use.

No One 17 and Under Admitted.This signifies that the rating board believes that most American parents would feel that the film is patently adult and that children age 17 and under should not be admitted to it. The film may contain explicit sex scenes, an accumulation of sexually-oriented language, or scenes of excessive violence. The NC-17 designation does not, however, signify that the rated film is obscene or pornographic.

 

 

Information about the rating system and the history of movie ratings can be found at Film Ratings

 

 

Often parents want to look at other rating systems for content and the Entertainment Ratings Software Board (ERSB) also has a rating system.

 

 

ESRB Rating Symbols

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD
Titles rated
EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

EVERYONE
Titles rated
E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

 

EVERYONE 10+
Titles rated
E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

 

TEEN
Titles rated
T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

 

MATURE
Titles rated
M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

 

ADULTS ONLY
Titles rated
AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

 

RATING PENDING
Titles listed as
RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game’s release.)

 

 

 

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has a caution system and which is described at Parental Advisory

 

 

Mary Guiden reports in the Seattle Children’s Hospital study, Parent cultural attitudes, beliefs associated with child’s media viewing habits:

 

 

Differences in parental beliefs and attitudes regarding the effects of media on early childhood development may help explain the increasing racial/ethnic disparities in child media viewing/habits, according to a new study by Wanjiku Njoroge, MD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

 

The findings support national research that preschool-aged children spend considerable time with media, a situation that brings both risks and benefits for cognitive and behavioral outcomes depending on what is watched and how it is watched. A 2006 Kaiser Family Foundation media study, for example, highlighted that ethnically/racially diverse children—specifically African American, Hispanic and Asian children—watch more television than non-Hispanic white children.

 

New study included almost 600 parents

 

A total of 596 parents of children ages three to five years completed demographic questionnaires, reported on attitudes regarding media’s risks and benefits to their children, and completed one-week media diaries in which they recorded all of the programs their children watched.

 

According to study results, children watched an average of 462 minutes of TV per week, with African American children watching more TV and DVDs per week than did children of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. The relationship between the child’s race/ethnicity and average weekly media time was no longer statistically significant, however, after controlling for socioeconomic status (parental educational attainment and reported annual family income).

 

Small study sample size may have affected results

 

Once we took SES into account, some of the findings disappeared,” said Njoroge. “That could be due to the small numbers.” The makeup of the study sample was 409 non-Hispanic white, 41 African American, 49 Asian American/Pacific Islander/Hawaiian and 97 multiracial children. Despite this limitation, the research teams’ findings echo national survey results indicating that TV viewing differs across race/ethnicity and SES.

 

Significant differences were found between parents of ethnically/racially diverse children and parents of non-Hispanic white children regarding the perceived positive effects of TV viewing, even when parental education and family income were taken into account.

 

Future research needs larger samples of children from diverse backgrounds

 

These findings point to an important relationship between parental attitudes and beliefs about child media use and time that could be useful for intervention,” said Njoroge. “Because of the strong relationship between SES and media exposure in our sample, future research with larger samples of children from diverse backgrounds is warranted to better understand the complexities of race/ethnicity, family SES, and parental beliefs and attitudes on child media exposure.”

 

Njoroge and colleagues have several follow-up studies in the works. “We know that media is an enduring presence in the lives of young children and families,” she said. “Therefore, we need to understand differences across parenting cultural styles, so that recommendations can be tailored to families regarding their young child’s media use.”

 

Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, a co-author on Njoroge’s study, released findings earlier this year about the importance of a “media diet” for children, with an emphasis on less violent programming and more educational and prosocial programs. Njoroge’s research is through the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She is also an assistant professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington.

 

Study co-authors, funding support

 

This study was supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1 R01 HD 056506-01A2) and grant R01 HD 56506 from NICHD Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-08-190, Media Impact on Preschool Behavior). Study co-authors include Laura Elenbaas, BA (University of Maryland); Michelle Garrison, PhD (Seattle Children’s Research Institute); and Mon Myaing, PhD (Seattle Children’s Research Institute). http://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/parent-cultural-attitudes-beliefs-associated-with-childs-media-viewing-habits/

 

What Types of Rating Systems Exist?

 

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains a system of ratings to guide families in making appropriate entertainment choices for their children. The system describes movie ratings, many other venues such as theaters may use the system to describe their content. The Movie Ratings are: 

 

 

General Audience.All ages admitted. This signifies that the film rated contains nothing most parents will consider offensive for even their youngest children to see or hear. Nudity, sex scenes, and scenes of drug use are absent; violence is minimal; snippets of dialogue may go beyond polite conversation but do not go beyond common everyday expressions.

Parental Guidance Suggested.Some material may not be suitable for children. This signifies that the film rated may contain some material parents might not like to expose to their young children – material that will clearly need to be examined or inquired about before children are allowed to attend the film. Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.

Parents Strongly Cautioned.Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. This signifies that the film rated may be inappropriate for pre-teens. Parents should be especially careful about letting their younger children attend. Rough or persistent violence is absent; sexually-oriented nudity is generally absent; some scenes of drug use may be seen; one use of the harsher sexually derived words may be heard.

Restricted-Under 17requires accompanying parent or adult guardian (age varies in some locations). This signifies that the rating board has concluded that the film rated contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their children to see it. An R may be assigned due to, among other things, a film’s use of language, theme, violence, sex or its portrayal of drug use.

No One 17 and Under Admitted.This signifies that the rating board believes that most American parents would feel that the film is patently adult and that children age 17 and under should not be admitted to it. The film may contain explicit sex scenes, an accumulation of sexually-oriented language, or scenes of excessive violence. The NC-17 designation does not, however, signify that the rated film is obscene or pornographic.

 

Information about the rating system and the history of movie ratings can be found at Film Ratings

 

 Often parents want to look at other rating systems for content and the Entertainment RatingsSoftware Board (ERSB) also has a rating system.

 

 

ESRB Rating Symbols

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD
Titles rated
EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

EVERYONE
Titles rated
E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

EVERYONE 10+
Titles rated
E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

TEEN
Titles rated
T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

MATURE
Titles rated
M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

ADULTS ONLY
Titles rated
AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

RATING PENDING
Titles listed as
RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game’s release.)

 

 

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has a caution system and which is described at Parental Advisory

 

 

What Questions Should a Parent Ask a Venue About Content?

 

 

  1. Does a particular venue have a ratings system for content? 

 

  1. What is the model for the ratings system? Is it like film ratings or ESRB? 

 

  1. How descriptive is the rating system, does it give examples of the type of language or situation which might be problematic? 

 

  1. Where is the rating for each production listed? Is it in the descriptive brochure? Is this information on the web site? Are box office personnel familiar with the ratings? 

 

  1. If a family has concerns about a particular production, how should concerns be addressed to the venue if the family finds the production does not match the rating description? 

 

Families have different viewpoints about what is appropriate content for their child or children. Some families seek out a variety of experiences for their children while others are more restrained in what they feel is appropriate. All families need to ask questions about content to find what is appropriate for their child and their value system.

 

 

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