Vulnerable Viewers


FOR many children, films, television, videos, DVDs, electronic games, and the Internet are a normal part of life. A recent report published by the Finnish Board of Film Classification says that “according to some estimates, the time spent by children and young ones using or watching the media is up to between 20 and 30 times greater than the time spent associating with their family.” * Sadly, this exposes children to much harmful material.

In some lands the authorities try to protect children by establishing age limits and ratings. According to the report, however, children and their parents do not always understand the ratings, or they tend to belittle their value. In addition, many movie theaters and video-rental stores are known to disregard the age limits. Besides, some programs and films are not even rated.

One of the teachers surveyed observed: “It seems that students do not always consider the material violent if there is no blood in it.” Many video and computer games​—and even cartoons designed especially for children—​contain potentially harmful material.

The report states that each household carries “the main responsibility for the films and television programs children watch.” It concludes with a challenging question: “Do we as adults have the will, strength, and means to protect children from the harmful effects of the media?”


^ par. 3 The report “The Age Limits of Visual Programs and Child Protection” was based on a study that included some 340 elementary school students as well as their parents and teachers.