Thu, Dec 21, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Foundation seeks better TV for kids

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

A veritable TV wasteland for children, the nation lacks not only public TV stations devoted to child audiences but also original age-appropriate shows for minors, the Child Welfare League Foundation said yesterday.

"Take a country like Britain. It offers six public TV stations devoted to children, with different programming targeting different age groups. Taiwan, on the other hand, has no such public TV stations," said Alicia Wang (王育敏), executive director of the foundation during a press conference.

A non-government organization (NGO) devoted to improving child welfare services, the foundation yesterday released the results of a survey of 1,351 elementary and middle school students nationwide on children's TV viewing habits.

The survey showed that more than 70 percent of children watch more than one hour of TV a day -- with nearly 30 percent watching four or more hours -- during the school week.

TV viewing rates among children further skyrocket on weekends and holidays, with only 3.2 percent of children not watching any TV on such days.

"Kids are bombarded every day by inappropriate commercials and shows packed with violence and sexual content," Wang said, adding that the government should regulate TV programming more effectively to protect young viewers.

A foundation press release said that nearly 50 percent of children approved of "getting even [with one's enemies]" and "having children out of wedlock" due to the influence of mature TV programming.

Self-styled "One-Eyed Dragon," a 13-year-old boy said sensational TV news featuring legislators behaving badly or beer commercials made him feel uncomfortable.

"We're minors -- we can't drink. But we see all those beer commercials and can't help but think that they're directed at us," One-Eyed Dragon told conference participants yesterday.

Wang said that while there were some cartoons and children's shows on Taiwanese TV, the nation lacked original programming for youth.

"A lot of these cartoons aren't appropriate for older kids. There isn't any systematic method of targeting different age groups among children viewers," Wang added.

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