What level of violence is acceptable to be shown to children?

This comment was made in yesterday’s TV Talk post.

I’m furious with TV One for showing war footage in the newsbite that just appeared during Home and Away twice. I am watching it with my 12-year-old niece who I do not want to be exposed to this sort of rubbish. As it was, she asked why those people were being shot and was very upset. Why can’t these morons use their brains (and discretion)?! There’s no point in complaining to them because they won’t do anything. TV3 used to keep their bulletins brief, and they never used to air anything of questionable nature.

What is appropriate news content to screen during show that is likely being watched by children and well before the watershed?

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Jeseta

    Oh come on! 12 years of age and you can’t explain that the world isn’t sunshine and roses? All the footage from the Ukraine (I’m assuming that’s what this is) is shot from a distance so there isn’t any blood and guts in your face. It’s the real world, it’s happening and I see no problem with airing it during Home and Away – a trashy soap opera where storylines like shootouts, kidnappings, assaults etc are par for the course.

    • Clint

      Could you explain why it’s happening? Could you give an unbiased view on what each side is wanting in order for it to be resolved? I sure as heck couldn’t. “Political unrest” is all I’m aware of. That being the case, why just report all the bad stuff – why not tell us what is happening behind the scenes to try and resolve it? News is meant to be balanced and these reports aren’t.

      • Jeseta

        This story is about the brief news headlines being shown during ad breaks, not the quality of the full coverage on the 6pm bulletin.

        • Clint

          Yeah – I get that – so answer my question – based on what the kid sees, could you explain what’s happening in full? You said “… you can’t explain that the world isn’t sunshine and roses…”. So what are you going to say when they ask why those people are being shot? Surely not what you said up there ^?

          • Jeseta

            A twelve year old isn’t a four year old, they are perfectly capable of understanding the basics of political unrest. I’d be tremendously surprised if there was a twelve year old in NZ today who wasn’t aware of at least the basic details of WWII, I certainly knew who Hitler was and what he had done by that age, I don’t see why this is any different?

          • Clint

            And again, you haven’t answered my question.

            Knowing who Hitler was and what he did is not the same as understanding the reasons behind the unrest – and by that I mean what each side’s view is and the reason for the war.

          • Jeseta

            I think we have different points. My take on this criticism of airing the headline during Home and Away was that the commenter felt a twelve year old is unable to handle viewing the footage and would be disturbed by it. I don’t think a twelve year could understand the situation fully but heck, plenty of adults don’t understand it either. My point was simply that I think a twelve year old is old enough to see the footage, hear the basic details of the situation and still sleep at night.

          • Danny TV Professional

            There would be nothing wrong with Deb simply saying to her niece “I don’t know the full story, but it looks pretty awful. Shall we look on the internet together?”. May I suggest that you, Deb and her niece all spend some time looking at a range of good quality news sites (offering a range of political leanings) and read the many excellent insights and commentaries about the unrest in Ukraine. Guardian is good, Times offers a right wing view, Independent good and RT.com for a Russian view. Or is better just to be afraid of it, ignore it and pretend it isn’t happening?

          • Danny TV Professional

            CBBC Newsround (designed for children) have an excellent summary of events and the reasons behind the unrest that Deb and niece may find useful for this and future new events covered.


          • Deb

            Thank you very much Danny, and everyone else who has commented. I didn’t really know what to say at the time as she was so upset, but this is all good advice. Thank you and sorry to create so much heated discussion – this was not my intention.

          • Mr X

            Clint – why would you need to “explain what’s happening in full”? You don’t need a PhD in International Relations to explain the basics of the world to a 12 year old. Just explain that in some countries when people disagree with each other it turns to violence; not all countries are as lucky as NZ etc.

            That said, I agree that the news producers have a responsibility to keep the most graphic stuff off air when younger children are about. Not sure how graphic the content was in this case though.

  • RJ

    >upset over real-world footage from ukraine appearing during news promo
    >is fine with 12-year-old niece being exposed to—as jeseta said—storylines that involve shootings, kidnappings, et al., and the occasional sexualised plotline

  • Clint

    Shouldn’t be shown, I reckon. Some people don’t even watch the news because they don’t want to see this sort of stuff. Maybe this person didn’t know the full facts, or feel comfortable discussing it, with the kid? I agree TV1 have overstepped the mark on this because TV3’s ‘coming up’ bulletins were kept very brief and I don’t recall them airing pictures.

  • S

    stfu regan

    • Regan Cunliffe

      Is there anyone else who would also prefer I didn’t ask questions and invite debate on various TV related topics?

      • K

        No Throng is great and featured comments is a very good idea.

        really if people don’t like it they themselves should STFU

      • Maggie

        I think healthy discussion is a good thing and obviously threads like this are popular, given the number of responses.

        Please keep doing what you’re doing, Regan – I really enjoy visiting Throng for the content you and the other people post, and the comments your audience post.

        If I could suggest one thing – and I’m not sure how popular it would be … it would be cool to be able to talk about shows such as The Great Food Race as they’re happening. Kind of like an open post, where people can post their thoughts / observations / anything else while the show is airing. This said, it wouldn’t be so good if there are people who watch it On Demand, or on repeat, later as it would be full of spoilers.

      • Jeseta

        Ugh, the ever so eloquent ‘S’ makes no point whatsoever….

        Keep doing what you’re doing Regan.

        • Maggie

          Hmmm … maybe ‘S’ should come back and tell us why he didn’t like the question instead of leaving it at that.

          I hope Clint comes back though – I enjoy reading his comments.

          • Jeseta

            People tend to disappear when they realise they’ve been arguing off topic the whole time….

          • Danny TV Professional

            Loving Throng Regan, don’t be put off by a troll. Site is definitely being read by TV companies and Production houses. This is effectively the only place to try and influence scheduling and programming trends.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            Not put off at all. Just pointing out their stupidity…

  • aaronimpact

    I think all New Zealand children should know what’s going on in other countries, so they can appreciate how lucky we are in this country.

  • AJ

    Remember deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don’t say any naughty words.

  • Maggie

    I think the best way to deal with this problem is to have the One News ‘coming up’ clips during Home and Away be voice-only, no pictures. Problem solved 🙂