The Parents Television Council (PTC), a conservative watchdog group, has released a new study of network cartoons that are being viewed by kids, and, predictably, the findings are grim. In Cartoons Are No Laughing Matter, PTC used data from the Nielsen research group to identify the network cartoon shows most viewed by tweens and teens from ages 12 to 17. Based on those findings, “PTC examined 123 episodes of animated programming that aired on Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Nick at Nite for the presence of sexual content, violence, drugs and explicit language between March 21, 2011 and April 14, 2011,” the report stated. The findings were disturbing, to say the least, with nearly 1,500 documented incidents of explicit language, drug use, violence, and sexual content during the time period studied.
Noted the report: “On average, young viewers were exposed to adult content once every two minutes and 19 seconds. TV-PG rated animation featured sex, drugs, or profanity every two minutes and 31 seconds.” Researchers said that some of the most explicit and objectionable content was found on Adult Swim, “which used to begin airing at 11:00 pm ET and now begins at 9:00 pm ET (8:00 pm CT).” The network shares air time with the Cartoon Network, which has long been considered a child-safe channel.
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Graphic: Scene from Adult Swim's Family Guy.