Children 'see harmful TV material', says National Association of Head Teachers

Children watch tv

Related Stories

Children are still being exposed to "harmful material" on television despite strict rules on what can be shown before 9pm, say head teachers.

The National Association of Head Teachers - which has drawn up a charter to protect children's innocence - says the media must ensure pre-watershed content is free from sex and violence.

A poll of 1,013 parents found 96% believed the rules were being broken.

Media regulator Ofcom said protecting children was a "fundamental concern".

Speaking at the NAHT's conference in Birmingham, its president Gail Larkin said: "We know that most parents are trying their best to protect their children from certain dangers in the outside world.

"I know, as a grandparent, how much more difficult it is with such advanced technology to prevent children from accessing, often unwittingly, materials and media that are not just inappropriate but often obscene and mentally damaging."

The poll of parents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the association suggested that almost all of them worry about their children accessing inappropriate material.

Just under a third had installed parental controls on digital devices which stream content from the internet or access television programmes.


Lancashire head teacher, Amanda Hulme, who will propose a motion that the union adopt a new charter on the issue, said schools and parents shared concerns about the problem.

She cited instances of popular television soaps using adult storylines and examples of swearwords being used on television shows before the 9pm cut-off point.

She also raised concerns about the content of some music videos, which children may see on digital devices, and the impact of violent games.

An Ofcom spokesman said the protection of under-18s from inappropriate material was a fundamental concern.

"There are clear broadcasting rules designed to protect children, which we actively enforce.

"We recently issued new guidance on the TV watershed, warning broadcasters to be more careful about programmes they show before 9pm that could be unsuitable for children."

"We constantly monitor audience attitudes and our research shows that the vast majority of adults believe the current level of TV regulation is about right."


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    It's not just TV is it? What children are accessing on the internet is one of the biggest concerns. Very young children now have smart phones with internet access.

    Even with the best parenting, I feel we are losing the fight to protect our children from mass media influences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    Some of the most horrific things my child has been privy to has been on the news....

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    yes it is PARENTS responsibility as to what their kids watch and when. however, we the general public also have responsibility as it all of us who lower standards of what is acceptable. The TV companies also have a responsibility but it is the demand of the public who ultimately dictate what is produced. Time we raised our standards across the board and said no more and switch off

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    There is no such thing as "harmful" TV material for kids to watch, only bad parenting. If your kid is negatively influenced by what they see on TV, then you have failed as a parent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    It's all very well saying parents are responsible for protecting their children and aiming a good amount of anger at those who don't, but the fact is many children have parents who don't bother to protect them. Shouldn't there be some rules so those children don't have to watch harmful content? They can't protect themselves.


Comments 5 of 12


More Education & Family stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.