DepEd releases rules for law shielding kids from TV violence
MTRCB study: Kids shall have seen 18,000 simulated murders on TV by the time they’re 18By Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—When children reach the legal age, they would have witnessed an average 18,000 simulated murders on television.
According to MTRCB chair Grace Poe Llamanzares, children watch an average of 21 hours of TV per week and are exposed to up to 18,000 scenes of simulated murder by the time they turn 18. That is equivalent to 1,000 scenes per year or up to three scenes per day.
“The modern age has allowed us to recognize that there is a third leg that is so critical in terms of caring for children: the media. Whatever values, good things we wish to pass on are sometimes removed from the consciousness of young people because of what they hear media, in this case TV,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said.
Wary of the ill effects of television on young viewers, the Department of Education’s (DepEd) National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) launched, on Tuesday, the implementing rules for viewing safety law for 15-year-olds and younger.
Luistro led Tuesday’s launch of the implementing guidelines of the Children’s Television Act, a 1997 law promoting child-friendly television programming to be finally enforced after more than a decade.
“Children and adults alike know that not all they see on TV are appropriate for children. We are working with the MTRCB and NCCT because we cannot just be reactive, where government only reacts when we notice something excessive on TV,” Luistro told reporters after Tuesday’s launch.
The guidelines were launched following months of consultations among the NCCT, an agency attached to DepEd; the MTRCB; local TV networks; and TV producers, educators, parents, media and non-government organizations.
Luistro said enforcement of the law took some time because thorough consultations had to be done.
Under the guidelines, all local TV networks are required to devote 15 percent of their airtime for child-friendly television shows.
“The key is that during the times when children are known to be watching, programming is regulated in terms of language, themes… That’s part of the IRR,” Luistro said.
He said reality-based programs, including news and current affairs shows, are also required to present content “in a way that is not too graphic, scary or prone to misinterpretation.”
The children’s TV law would also set a “TV violence rating code” in coordination with the MTRCB.
Under this clause, the NCCT “shall prescribe an appropriate set of criteria for evaluating programs that takes into consideration the sensibilities of children” in order to establish a rating system for content that includes sex, violence and other abuses on children.
The law also encourages TV networks to produce quality programs that “in addition to being entertaining, should allow children to develop physically, mentally and socially to their fullest potential.”
The guidelines said TV should give children an experience of their different cultures and languages “which affirm their sense of self, community and place.”
The law also gives local producers access to NCCT’s National Endowment Fund, which are to be built up from grants, contributions and donations from private corporations and international donors.
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation are expected to give P30 million each to build the endowment fund.
Luistro underlined the role of the media, particularly of television, in the education of children, saying its content would influence children’s values as they grow up.
During Tuesday’s launch, NCCT also inducted “champion families” who shall serve as role models for raising their children and regulating their exposure to TV.
These celebrity families include Anthony and Maricel Laxa- Pangilinan, Christopher and Gladys Reyes- Sommeraux, Paolo and Suzi Entrata- Abrera and Julius and Christine Bersola- Babao.