Posted by: Karina of the Fallen Stars | July 5, 2009

On Broadcast Indecency – “Should the FCC regulate cable television?”

With over 308,000 public grievances in the last decade, it appears as though the Federal Communications Commission have their hands full. Add a few dozen zeros or so to that number and you just might have a guesstimate for the amount of complaints the commission might receive were they to regulate cable television as well. This possibility seems highly unlikely given the laissez-faire free-market status the United States currently and proudly holds. Nonetheless one cannot help but examine each side’s argument and wonder what if?

The public airwaves are referred to as “uninvited guests”, whereas paying for cable television “invites” this “guest” into one’s home. The metaphor is somewhat flawed. After all, isn’t buying a TV or radio or consciously tuning in the same as “inviting” it into one’s presence? This is not to say that cable and public television are one, rather they have become so intertwined it is sometimes difficult to ascertain one from the other in the realm of a 100+ channel package. Many support the system of television rating and parental blocks. Some of these blocks use a password PIN code. Realistically, this system is not 100% childproof. Parents, I apologize if you are unaware of this but you honestly do not give the under 18 crowd enough credit. Assessing the password of someone living under the same roof as the child in question is not as difficult as it appears.

Who has the ultimate authority to say what is and is not decent? Morality is never static and chiseled in stone. It is a variable and ever-changing social concept. Some individuals use expressions such as “Keep it PG!” to reinforce this concept. Others believe that having a child see a natural part of a woman’s anatomy for 2 split-seconds will be severely deleterious to their emotional and psychological welfare. Just wait until I take a high school biology class, Mom and Dad! Honestly, the Jackson/Timberlake Superbowl Incident was blown out of proportion by the media.

So, instead of leaving a pre-programed “child-proof” television set to raise children, why not be responsible parents and teach children to make responsible choices? Why not teach children the difference between fiction and reality? Why not spend more quality time in  your child’s life, listening to their side of the story, to their problems instead of talking down to them? Ultimately, I believe that no one should regulate a child’s life, including the FCC. But parents need to take responsibility where responsibility is due. There is a time to let go and a time to hold on. Many parents out there want to keep their children in a bubble, protecting them from every possible harm. However, there is a difference between what is appropriate for a five-year old versus what is appropriate for a thirteen-year-old as opposed to the assorted category of 18 and under. As studies have shown, media does have some effect on individuals, but there are many more variables that need to be factored into this equation. Therefore, it is unreasonable to blame every incident in reality on media’s interpretations.

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