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UCCtruths

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UCC: PG-13 movies harmful to preschoolers

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The UCC Office of Communication doesn't like film companies marketing PG-13 movies to youngsters. From Brandweek:

A coalition of 19 pro-children groups have called on filmmakers today to stop promoting PG-13-rated movies to kids via giveaways and promotions.The 19 are all signatories to a letter drafted by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to the Motion Picture Assn. of America. The CCFC had contacted the Federal Trade Commission this past summer when the film Transformers was allegedly being marketed to kids via TV spots, food promotions and licensed toys. Last week, the FTC acted on CCFC’s complaint by urging the MPAA to adopt guidelines for the marketing of PG-13 movies.
According to a copy of the letter from "Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood," they are concerned about preschoolers seeing these movies:

Preschool children are less able to place violence in context. They tend to remember the most exciting and dramatic aspects of a film rather than whole stories. They have less impulse control. They are concrete thinkers who are likely to believe what they see. In addition, preschool children are more vulnerable to advertising than older children because they do not understand persuasive intent, the basis of advertising. Given the developmental differences between a preschooler and a 13-year-old, marketing PG-13 films to young children can be harmful in three ways:

1) It undermines the integrity and effectiveness of an already flawed rating system; 2) it promotes family stress; and 3) it increases the likelihood that young children will be exposed to media material and messages that may not be suitable for them, such as messages that glorify violence.
You have got to be kidding me. Preschoolers? If preschoolers are seeing these movies, chances are they are seeing them with their parents.
The FTC’s recommendation was spurred by a complaint from the Campaign for a commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) that Transformers, which was rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor, and language,” was marketed extensively to preschool children. A review by CCFC found advertisements for Transformers on children’s television programming rated appropriate for kids as young as two; more than one hundred Transformers’ toys for children under six; and Transformer promotions by Kraft and Burger King clearly aimed at young children.
The geniuses in the UCC's Office of Communication probably didn't realize that the Transformers movie was based on toys which were out decades before the movie came out. From the UCC's Office of Communication:
"It is distressing that the industry response to parental concerns about media content is almost always to place the full burden on parents," said Cheryl Lanza [sic] of Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc., a signatory to the letter. "These industry members essentially offer parents a Hobson's choice: either expose your children to content that you find unacceptable, or withdraw your children from popular culture. This serves no one. We all benefit with more mutual communication and understanding, not less."
(Note: Whoever wrote this doesn't know how to spell their own managing director's name - it's Cheryl LEANZA, not LANZA)

Actually, what is distressing is that the UCC has hired someone like Cheryl Leanza to use her talents to critique the movies that parents are allowing their children to see.

How about encouraging parents to not take their tots to see a PG-13 movie? I have a 6 year-old and I know first hand... it's not that hard.
posted by UCCtruths, Thursday, January 17, 2008

4 Comments:

I see your point - just don't take the little kids to pg-13 movies. It is harder when your family has a wide range of ages. And I see the point of the OCC - why market the movie for an age group deemed too young? We don't allow cigarette companies to go after our teenagers anymore. It is a mixed message. The other point is, why do we think we should impose our Christian moral values(violence is bad) on the culture at large? Not even legislated, but driven by regulators influenced by lobbiests. I mean, why is it bad for Southern Baptists & Catholics to do it re. abortion, but OK for the UCC with it's treasured theologies?
commented by Blogger Steve, 3:31 PM  
If parents were doing their job the UCC would have nothing to complain about. Have you thought that maybe it is easier to pressure a few movie execs than parents who think they can do no wrong.
Try to tell a parent how to raise a child and see what happens.
commented by Blogger justaguy, 12:48 AM  
But James, if they actually did what you said, then they'd be sounding like Focus on the Family!

Couldn't have that!
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 12:21 AM  
I disagree - going after the studios is exactly what Focus on the Family would do. What's wrong with leading by example, by changing inherently what is wrong instead of engineering it through a government 'big brother' power?
commented by Blogger UCCtruths, 2:55 AM  

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