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PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM MEDIA SEX AND VIOLENCE

New Industry Group Advertising Campaign Emphasizes Parental Responsibility

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- In the face of continuing congressional concern about the violent and sexual content of entertainment products, a new industry-backed group is launching an advertising campaign to educate parents about the controls they already have to protect their children from such fare.
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Called "Pauseparentplay," the group is backed by a consortium of marketing and media corporations including Microsoft, Wal-Mart, News Corp, NBC Universal, Comcast, Time Warner and the Motion Picture Association of America.

Between-the-lines
The "Pauseparentplay" advertising effort kicked off at a Washington news conference yesterday. It's between-the-lines message is that government regulations are not needed to protect children from overly violent and indecent entertainment content because parents currently have the power to do that.

Three of the four print ads that will be used in the new campaign come from David & Goliath, an ad agency in Los Angeles, and feature an average-looking husband, wife or couple with a tabloid-style headline.

“Suburban Mom Wipes Out Army of Bloodthirsty Ninja Assassins,” one such ad headline reads, and in smaller type adds “with eject button on DVD player.” “Parents Thwart Flesh-Eating Cyborgs” says another, “from invading their children’s game console” in smaller type. A third ad reads: “Small Town Dad Disarms Chainsaw Wielding Psychopath ... with skillful use of the remote.”

Parental choices
Those ads and a fourth explaining the launch of PauseParentPlay.org tell parents they can make informed media choices and already have the weapons, power or the technology to block their children's access to violent and sexual entertainment materials.

One of the ads is running in Parenting magazine this month and others are slated to be in Time and other publications next month.

Cindi Merifield Tripoldi, the group’s executive director, said parents feel “disconnected” from some of the ratings and technology available and the idea of the advertising campaign is to send them to a Web site (www.pauseparentplay.org) that will explain the parental-control functions to them.

What parents don't know
"Parents don’t know that a V-chip is in every TV set, and while they can use the ratings as a guideline to music, video games, the idea is to inform parents, to make sure they understand it," Ms. Tripoldi said.

Members of Congress have complained that despite the V-chip and the voluntary ratings systems used by the movie, video game and TV industries, media companies and broadcasters are not doing enough to publicize the parental-control technology or to make sure that retailers and movie theaters enforce industry ratings codes. The Federal Trade Commission in several studies done at Congress’ behest report enforcement has improved but still falls short.

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