How Supportive are Americans of Freedom of Expression on Broadcast Television?
Although the majority of Americans believe parents should be primarily responsible for keeping children away from inappropriate television content, most also believe that government should be allowed to restrict specific types of controversial content.
Attitudes toward content restrictions on broadcast television
The State of the First Amendment 2005 survey asked "Who should be primarily responsible for keeping inappropriate material on television away from children: Parents, Government officials, or Broadcasters?" The responses demonstrate an overwhelming belief by the American public that responsibility for children's television viewing lies with their parents. Eighty-two percent of respondents said parents should be the ones to restrict children's access to inappropriate television. In contrast, only 2% said that government should. [First Amendment Center. 2005. State of the First Amendment
2005. Nashville, TN: First Amendment Center.]
Although Americans said that parents should be responsible for children's television access, significant proportions of the American public (often a majority) supported government restrictions on specific types of television content, including:
- sexually-explicit material (66%)
- nudity (60%)
- violence (60%)
- scenes portraying illegal drug use (59%)
- speech offensive to racial groups (58%)
- curse words (57%)
- commercials targeted to children (57%)
- speech offensive to religious groups (47%)
- scenes portraying homosexuality (46%)