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Parents encouraged to be aware of kids' media use

Media release

6 May 2008

Families Commission encourages parents to be aware of their children’s media use

The Families Commission says the findings of a survey of New Zealand children aged 6-13 years and their primary caregivers, Seen and Heard: Children’s media use, exposure and response, released today, highlights how important it is for parents to monitor their children’s media consumption.

“Of particular interest is how increasing numbers of children have access to a broad range of media such as cellphones, MP3 players and the internet and the fact that many are watching TV after the watershed time of 8.30pm in the weekends,” says Families Commission Chief Commissioner Dr Rajen Prasad.

“As more children have TVs and use other media in their bedrooms it becomes increasingly important for parents to ensure that their children’s media use is safe and productive.”

“There is still a lot of violence on TV and the BSA’s report reveals that violence is the main concern of parents as well as children. Although it is heartening that the majority of parents are using the classification systems and imposing rules and protections for their children’s viewing times, awareness of the watershed time of 8.30pm has decreased. This has implications for broadcasters who need to work to increase awareness that programmes after this time are considered appropriate for adults only.”

In 2004 a report on TV Violence in New Zealand was presented to the Minister of Broadcasting. Dr Prasad was the Chair of the Working Group for the Report.

“The report identified middle childhood (between 6-11 years) as a vulnerable group, and the Families Commission believes that more education and awareness is needed for parents about the impact of violence on this age group.

“We feel that the focus should also be on alternatives to television watching, and encouraging families to do a variety of activities together. In order to bond effectively as a family, we need to talk and interact rather than being passive media consumers.”


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