“Massmedia content classified as ‘12’ should be prohibited from beingaired at some strategic times to avoid exposing the content to thechildren within the age limit quoted”.
InOhio State, mass media, especially the television should beprohibited from airing any content deemed as inappropriate,especially for children under the age of twelve. By making illegalprograms and motion pictures that would be considered ‘twelve,’,the local government would champion a great course in saving childrenfrom the harmful effects thought to result from such materials.
Mostof the materials that are considered detrimental to the children areclassified according to age brackets and in often carries the taglinethat parental guidance is recommended (Cotlar, 49-51). Nevertheless,this even raises the curiosity of the group against which the contentis being prohibited, and if unregulated, then the materials becomeavailable to them. For instance, extremely violent movies,pornographic materials and such other materials as would beconsidered adult would always expose children to ‘bad’ habits(Halonen, 39). In fact, literature has increasingly associatedadverse publicity with the increase in child-directed vices likerape, trafficking as well as child pornography. Involvement ofchildren in criminal gang activities as well as in drugs/substanceabuse can as well be traced from bad publicity resulting fromoverexposure of children to adult explicit content. Therefore, thispaper intends to present a qualitative argument on how best the stategovernment of Ohio could curtail the furtherance of the vicesdirected to children by regulating airing of such content as would betermed adult. In fact, the premise of this paper is that despitethere being well laid out legal infrastructure against the airing ofsuch content by the FCC, local media are increasingly airing such.Thereby exposing children less than twelve years to such extremitiesas illustrated. US lead in the production and consumption of man massmedia content. Content that could be termed over twelve years at thestate of Ohio could lead the way in shaping future broadcasts in thesociety.
TheFCC (Federal Communications Commission) has held the mandate ofcensoring and rating TV programs among other mass media content inthe US. Hence, controlling the airing of particular contents as wouldbe detrimental to the welfare of certain segments of people of thesociety (Cooper, para 1-4). There are various TV ratings, whichinclude TV-Y, TV-7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 as well as TV-MA, which areall explanatory on the class targeted by the controls. The ratings ofTV contents are based on the definitions granted by the FCC onobscenity, profanity and indecency (Sheinfeld, 12-14). However, fromthe ratings above, none of the categories directly addresses theregulatory issues of contents targeting the children under the age oftwelve years. So as to raise awareness, every TV program airs arating segment within every 15 seconds of introduction to anyprogram. Hence directing the viewers to the need to guide childrenunder certain ages in the content to be aired. It can be strongly argued thatchildren are increasingly being exposed to explicit contents by theadvancement of the technology. First, children are living at theproximities of TV sets, and internet enabled computers and cellphones within their rooms. Thereby complicating the process ofcontrolling the consumption of such contents as would be termed asinappropriate (Curran, para 2-3). At age twelve, all children tend tobecome more aware of themselves, hence tend to be more proactive inself-discovery. By such an understanding, the media regulator (FCC)has failed in rating the TV content because it lacks a particularclass rating for the segment in the above categories. Nevertheless,one may argue that the children are catered for under TV-Y, whichcovers all children and TV-14 category under which parents arestrongly cautioned against exposing children under age fourteen.The federal law is quitecomprehensive in covering and defining obscenity, indecency, andprofanity as the basis on which the ratings by the FCC are based on(Walker, 5-10). It must, however, be appreciated that determining thelevels of contents on a program as explained by such classificationsmay be dependent on legal interpretation. Therefore, this points outa possible challenge that the regulatory body faces while addressingthe concerns of airing contents that would otherwise be deemedinappropriate to certain age segments. Besides, complications broughtabout by the advancement of technology as pointed above together withthe ratings complicate the process of regulation. Questions,therefore, arise in what best ways should be embraced in thecontrolling airing of any content deemed inappropriate for thechildren under the study age of twelve years. Over the years, theprerogative of controlling what the audience gets has been on theregulating authority with the help of parents or guardians. Thatexplains why the ratings would recommend parental guidance in someinstances. However, how effective would parental guidance be whilethe child has a TV set at the comfort of his/her bedroom?Regulatory ChallengesInas much as the parents and guardians would try to control the contentto which the children are exposed to, some limitations are visibledue to such matters arising. In a state like Ohio, nearly allfamilies own at least one set of television, and this shows how realthe matter is. While the ratings are good, the effectiveness incontrolling viewership may be questioned. Since, in the event thatsuch a program as rated parental guidance is aired at any time, theguardians and or parents may not be present to guide the children.Hence, this could explain increased ‘bad’ behavior by childrenless than twelve years. The presence of the parents or guardians mayequally fail in the presumed effect of guiding the children throughthe program. It is as a result of the curiosity may as well leadchildren out of parental advice (Walsh, Russell and Les, 25-36). Byand by, increased exposure of the children to explicit content(believing parents are there to advise) increasingly exposes thetarget group to higher risks. On the other hand, the same content maybe aired in the absentia of the parental figures, thereby leaving thechildren to total exposure of such content. Other regulatory challengesthat would be pointed out are together with an interpretation of thelaw regarding such societal vices. Diversity in legal interpretationscan adversely affect the efforts by the regulating authority insupport of wrong clauses. Application of various definitions ofobscene content, profane content as well as offensive content, then aloophole can be pointed out in legal enforcement. SolutionsAiring time of any content maypresent the most effective and useful tool that the regulatingauthorities may embrace most effectively while safeguarding theinterest of the children (Karr, para 1-5). Time is hereby used torefer to the time at which a program is aired. For instance, programsand contents deemed appropriate for the viewership of an entirefamily can be aired at all times and more so during the day whenanybody (including children) can watch. However, banning airing ofany content hereby referred to as harmful to children under the ageof twelve during such a time may be helpful in shielding the childrenfrom the harmful effects that could result. All content that has thedefinition of profane, offensive and indecency should be barred frombeing aired on the local TV channels, especially at particular timeframes (Quello, para 2-6). Onemust appreciate that the production of any media content has aparticular consumer segment in the target and as such, complete banof the airing may not effectively address the issues. Defining timesegments by which some types of contents can be aired could be moreeffective in addressing the challenge. For example, the law shouldprohibit broadcasting of any content deemed sexual and violent beforemidnight in order to ensure that children under the age of twelve areasleep. Such content should not be aired at any other time under theinfrastructure of parental advice recommendations. The argumentpresented hereby supports the proposition that mass media contentclassified, as ‘12’ should be prohibited from being aired at somestrategic times. Thus, avoid exposing the content to the childrenwithin the age limit quoted.Counter ArgumentsCriticism of the propositionmay be expected because people hold different opinions andperspectives on any matter. Proponents of the FCC regulation byclassifications such as pointed out could reason that parents andguardians are the most effective and appropriate persons to controlthe exposure of children under the bracket to the perceived threat.Their argument could be that all contents produced and aired throughthe mass media have a target audience. Therefore, by imposing timerestrictions of airing time may be unfavorable to contentmanufacturers and make local channels boring. Besides, theeffectiveness of the regulation through classifications by the FCChas been tested over the years since the 1950s and as such perceivedas relatively successful. One could, therefore, challenge theeffectiveness of airing some contents at the wee hours of the nightbased on identifying the target populations. At the airing time,howmany people could be awake within Ohio? How better can airing somecontent at late hours be while regulating what children consume? Whatare the duty of parents and the FCC in guiding children while suchrestrictions can be applied? These among other questions may be thebasis upon which criticism of the proposal of this paper can befronted.Strengths of the ProposalTherecommendations fronted by this paper on the advantage of having timelimitations content aired on television could segment consumersaccording to the content and needs. Consequently, this is even morerealistic because children under the age twelve could be sound asleepafter midnight and as such, imposing time restrictions may go a longway in addressing then the challenge. On the other hand, parents maycome in to ensure that the children under the bracket are observantof the timeframes. Thereby reducing any potential harm to befall thechildren less than 12 years within the state of Ohio.ConclusionThepaper appreciates the work done by the FCC in regulating the media inmatters of contents being aired for public consumption. Theregulation is structured around the law as well as around predefinedclusters of people by age (Wiman, 8-11). The federal commissionidentifies vulnerabilities of different segments of children to thecontents being aired through the broadcasting houses and recommendstotal ban or guided viewership of such programs for children. TheCommission has been in place since the mid 20th century and has hadgreat success in regulating the mass media through defining contentbased on being good, profane, decent or obscene. However, while theclassification and efforts by the Commission on the responsibilitycan be appreciated, some strategic weaknesses can be identified inthe whole infrastructure, and this has formed the basis of thispaper. First, the effectiveness of the classification of age ischallenged for assuming a fundamental developmental age of twelveyears while classifying children. On the other hand, changingtimes have seen children access, TVs, computers as well as cellphones at the proximity of their bedrooms hence challengingregulation on the content. This paper, therefore, advocates forchange in what nature of the content to be aired and at what time.The argument presented hereby supports the proposition that massmedia content classified as ‘12’ should be prohibited from beingaired at some strategic times. Thus, avoid exposing the content ofthe children within the age limit quoted. It also identifies somestrategic counter-arguments but holds that the policy would be moreeffective than previous policies by the FCC in America.Works citedCooper,Helene. "FCC to Continue Studying Plans to Boost Children`sEducational TV Programs." WallStreet Journal,Eastern edition ed.Apr 06 1995. 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