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Kids and Media

September 17, 2000

Re "Heat on Hollywood as FTC Ponders Curbs on Violence," Sept. 12: Isn't it sad that we have come to the point where government must interfere to protect our children from the horrific exposure to violence, inappropriate sexuality and destructive behavior that plagues the media? I support government regulations because we are nearing the point of no return, and if something isn't done, kids will have no chance for a safe and healthy future.

I am a well-educated, stay-at-home mom and have devoted myself to rearing my children. My husband is a hands-on dad who is actively involved in every aspect of our kids' lives. But that isn't enough! Sure, when they were 5 or 6 years old we could audit their movie and TV exposure, but when they became adolescents it was really pretty much out of our hands. There are hundreds of TV stations available at the click of the remote control, access to thousands of Internet sites at the click of a mouse and advertisements on TV, radio, billboards and in magazines promoting violent movies. The video arcade games and Nintendo and PlayStation games are all about destroying the enemy. Then there's MTV. The videos are mostly violent, profane and highly sexual in nature, as is most of the music. How can a parent monitor all of this?

LINDA SHAFRITZ

Los Angeles

*

The entertainment industry has been caught with the "smoking gun" of its own marketing campaign documents, which demonstrate its strategies to market adult and violent material to children and youth. I read Jack Valenti's comment that "we do not market violence; we market artists" with a sense that I had heard this defense somewhere before. Oh, yes! It was the National Rifle Assn. saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

CAROL J. SMITH

Burbank

*

In one old movie the juvenile lead is immersed in a mind-altering substance, leading to colorful hallucinations that are a high point of the film. The character is Dumbo, the substance is a vat of alcohol, and the hallucinogenic sequence that follows is called "Pink Elephants on Parade." This glorification of drunkenness has been marketed to children for decades with nary a peep from the government, religious leaders, Bill Bennett or anyone.

LANCE JENCKS

Costa Mesa

*

If the Senate hearings on sex and violence in entertainment bear fruit, it is likely that we'll all be watching a lot more of "Survivor" and its ilk, which teaches pandering, lying, double-crossing and bad sportsmanship. The good news is we might have less schoolyard violence, the bad news is that we'll have a lot more politicians.

ED SILVERSTEIN

Santa Monica

*

I agree with Mike Downey (Sept. 13) that our so-called leaders are misguided in laying 100% of the blame for "the violence epidemic" on Hollywood. We'll have a chance to respond in November. In the meantime, let's lead. Where are the studio and network projects that address root problems such as absentee and under-parented families? If we used our collective industry talents and star power to create and market stories with insight and answers, who knows what might change?

We are the finest communicators in the world. Let's respond with our best. It's the way to refute the charges and set an example of leadership that might even rub off on the "professionals" in D.C.

CRAIG HAFFNER, President

Greystone Communications

North Hollywood

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