Parents Television Council Finds Major Increase in Profanity and Violence in TV Shows

A new study has a message for the many families who have said television content has grown coarser with each passing year: You’re right.

The study by the watchdog group Parents Television Council found a 28 percent increase in violence and a 44 percent increase in profanity over the past decade in shows rated TV-PG. It’s part of what the PTC calls “content creep” – that is, an increase in offensive content within a given rating compared to similarly rated programs a decade ago.

The study, released Tuesday, calls on Congress to conduct a bipartisan fact-finding hearing with pediatricians, children’s mental health experts, and child/family advocates on the ratings system.

“The status quo isn’t working,” Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, said during a conference call with reporters. “The self-governing solution the TV industry proposed to Congress and the FCC more than 20 years ago isn’t really self-governing. It’s self-serving.”

TV-PG programming, according to the official TV industry definition, is programming that parents may find “unsuitable for younger children.” This means (according to the definition) it’s suitable for older children, tweens and teens.