Fifteen years ago, one might have turned on primetime television
and seen Growing Pains, a happy family struggling through the
awkward phases of raising a teenager.
Today a show may air at a similar hour containing nudity,
homosexual intimacy or foul language. Some critics have said
television has pushed things too far.
“Television, in general, has gotten a little edgier,” said
Jeremy Murphy, CBS spokesman.
Murphy said that television has gotten better each year due to
the amount of creative license now allotted to directors.
“Viewers today have more options,” Murphy said.
Before any large decisions are made on airing controversial
material, the audience is taken in to account, Murphy said.
“You always pay attention to your viewers and the markets that
you serve,” Murphy said. “We have never broadcasted anything that
has been intentionally inappropriate or offensive.”
The Catholic Church urges that parents must practice vigilance
to keep their children from believing the immorality they view on
television is the societal norm.
“It has the potential to become the norm for someone,” said
Sergio Gutierrez, director of communications for the Arch Diocese
The main networks have become flashier as a way of competing
with the cable and satellite networks that have now taken many of
their viewers, he said.
“As we’ve seen…the line has really begun to shift to almost
anything goes,” Gutierrez said. “If viewers are concerned about the
images, they should voice that. That has a role to play.”
Gutierrez said the first time he saw a homosexual kiss on
television he reminded himself of the context.
“It’s certainly not the norm or what I view as the most healthy
family setting,” he said.
For homosexuals, the changes may be considered beneficial.
“It’s just letting people know homosexuals exist,” said Hadeis
Safi, a student para-professional of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgender Student Services.
While there is still much progress that needs to be made, the
television shows are helping to raise awareness and perhaps even
acceptance, Safi said.
“Things you see now days, you could never have seen 10 to 15
years ago,” Safi said. “It’s slowly, but surely, breaking some
Safi said that he hoped there would eventually be equal
representation for all groups.
“There’s still severe under-representation of minority groups on
TV,” Safi said.
There are three main ways social psychologists believe
television may affect people. They believe it may affect what
people think is the norm. People may adopt characters from the show
as role models. Television may also create agendas for what the
public believes is important, according to Jacqueline Voss,
clinical psychologist at the CSU Counseling Center.
According to Voss, teens who watch shows with higher sex content
tend to engage in sex earlier that their peers. For every hour of
television, a viewer will see an average of ten sexual acts.
“We show a lot of sex, but not a lot of responsible sex,” Voss
She said for every 25 sex scenes viewers see on television,
there would be one scene talking about responsible sex.
Some parents have found not only the amount of sex on television
disturbing, but also the violence.
“I tend to think violence is a lot more reprehensible than sex,”
said Chris Ransick, father of two and media studies professor at
Arapahoe Community College. “There’s a tremendous amount of just
slaughter going on, on TV.”
Ransick said that at when his kids were younger, he would give
them coupons for three hours of television.
“(Watching television is) something you carefully choose, not
something you just fall into when you have nothing to do,” Ransick