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Report: Entertainment industry still markets violence to children

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The video-game industry is doing a better job at keeping young kids away from violent and other inappropriate content than the music and movie businesses, according to a new report by the Federal Trade Commission.

But all three industries could improve self-regulation, especially when it comes to new technologies such as mobile games and viral online marketing, the FTC said in its Dec. 3 report.

The report, which reviews the marketing of violent entertainment to children, also found that movie studios intentionally market PG-13 movies to kids under 13.

Unrated DVDs pose another challenge, because stores often sell such versions of R or PG-13-rated films. Nearly six out of 10 parents surveyed didn't know that unrated movies can contain additional adult or explicit content that wasn't in the original cut.

This was the FTC's seventh such report to Congress since 2000, and each found that the movie and game industries made progress in restricting the marketing of products intended for grown-ups to children. The music industry, however, "had not significantly changed its marketing practices since the Commission's initial report," according to the FTC report.

The report did find that fewer kids were able to skirt age restrictions than just a few years ago. To see if retailers and movie theaters were enforcing age limits, the commission sent 13- to 16-year-old "mystery shoppers" to see movies and buy DVDs, video games or music not intended for their age group.

On average, 20% of them were able to buy M-rated video games when unaccompanied by a parent. This is down from 42% in 2006, the latest available figure.

In contrast, 72% of the kids were able to buy music CDs with explicit-content warnings, compared with 76% in 2006. More than half of them were sold R-rated movie DVDs, down from 71% three years ago.

Movie theaters are also checking IDs more: only 28% of the teens could buy tickets for R-rated movies, down from 39% in 2006.


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FTC media-violence report acknowledges First Amendment

By Tony Mauro Commissioners say state of constitutional law limits what government can do, entertainment industry needs to do more self-regulation. 05.07.07

Video-game ratings: a tool or a weapon?
By Paul K. McMasters Never does the ponderous machinery of government and commerce rev up so quickly as when the republic is threatened by, uh, sex. 07.31.05

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