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From the Archive - Youngsters who turn on to TV sex

26 April 1977 Fears over 'incalculable effect' of violence, swearing and X-rated films

26 April 1977 Fears over 'incalculable effect' of violence, swearing and X-rated films

Children aged between 11 and 15 regularly watch explicit sex and violence and hear obscene language on television, a survey revealed last week. Some of the respondents agree there is too much of both.

The findings, published by the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association after a survey of 900 schoolchildren, showed that one in four children thought too many programmes were orientated towards sex. Two in five thought there was too much emphasis on violence, sensationalism, fantasy and sordid reality.

The questionnaire, answered by schoolchildren aged 11 and over in schools of all types in various areas of Britain, also showed that in almost half the children's homes viewing was unrestricted, whether the programme was suitable for family viewing or not. There was less control over what younger children were watching than those aged 16 and over. Sets were switched on before 5pm in most homes.

Parents of grammar school children exercised more control over what their children watched than parents of secondary modern pupils.

About one in four children felt that television affected their attitude towards their parents, their elders and younger children, while half of them felt that it affected their views on morality, religion and general behaviour.

About half of younger boys and girls felt that television helped them get along better with the opposite sex, but this view was not shared by older children.

The association said their report indicated that "millions of children between the ages of 11 and 15 are watching programmes described by the broadcasting authorities as adult.

"They have therefore seen many X-films, many Plays for Today and much of the adult violence that is now causing so much concern. They have heard obscene language, coarse blasphemy and have watched explicit sex. The effect of this upon the minds and emotions of children is incalculable."

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