Watching television with children in the room was so much easier in the days of Ozzie and Harriet or The Brady Bunch. Networks have relaxed their standards to make their programming more competitive with the fare found on cable TV.
“There’s no doubt that network television has really pushed the envelope as far as it can regarding sexual content, and bad language and also I might add descriptions of violence,” says Communications Professor Dr. Jeff McCall of DePauw University. “It really does threaten to cheapen I think our culture on a broad level because when you put this thing around the country out there on television it legitimizes that kind of behavior and I think that’s the threat.”
The amount of sex and violence on television used to be the subject of close scrutiny and study, however most of that ended about 2005. Under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission is considering loosening the restrictions the broadcast channels operate under prohibiting vulgar language, nudity and obscene violence.
“TV is a great legitimizer,” Dr. McCall says. “When you have foul language on TV particularly amongst younger people or impressionable folks, they would get the impression that that was all okay and acceptable in common society, and I hate to say it but bad language is just not that acceptable amongst the business community and people in the educational community and I think when we get the wrong impression from TV that certain languages or certain behaviors are acceptable when they’re really not it does a disservice to the greater culture at large.”