National Survey Reveals Parents' Deep Concern About Protecting Kids from Violence

Parents See Media Violence and Access to Weapons as Obstacles

Common Sense Media
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA — A new nationwide survey of parents commissioned by Common Sense Media and the Center for American Progress and released today finds that 75 percent of parents say shielding children from violence is difficult. Seventy-five percent of parents blame easy access to guns, and 77 percent of parents believe media violence, such as content in TV, movies, and video games, contributes to America's culture of violence.

1,050 parents with children ages 18 years and younger were randomly selected to share their opinions about factors that contribute to violence in America. According to the survey results:

  • 75 percent of parents say it's difficult to shield children from violence
  • A majority of parents agree that addressing violence will require action on both violence in the media and keeping weapons away from our kids
  • 75 percent of parents have concerns that easy access to guns is contributing to violence in this country
  • 88 percent of parents want ads for violent games, movies, and TV shows to be prevented from airing during programs viewed by large audiences of children
  • 91 percent want theaters to limit previews for movies that have the same or a lower rating than the movie that is being shown
  • A majority of parents agree that the media industry "has the power to help change" America's culture of violence
  • A majority of parents agree that the gun industry "should be part of the solution" in addressing the culture of violence

"These survey results demonstrate that parents are anxious about their children's safety in America today and that they believe we need real action to prevent gun violence and change the culture of violence. We need to do both, this is not a choice between two important goals," said Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

"Parents are clearly concerned about how violence in media may be impacting their children," said James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. "Our culture of violence seems to have made it the new normal that parents who take their kids to a movie theater or gather to watch a football game are at risk of exposing them to inappropriate content that is marketing video games or films rated for more mature audiences."

In addition to content in TV, movies, and video games, parents were asked for their perceptions of other contributing factors to violence in this country. They expressed concerns about bullying (92 percent), access to guns (75 percent), and current levels of crime (86 percent).

The survey was completed on January 4 and 5, 2013, and was conducted by Survey USA Market Research. The survey's margin of error is +/-1.7 percent.

For the full results, click here.

Read Common Sense Media's letters about the survey to the White House, Federal Communications Commission, and Federal Trade Commission below.
Common Sense Media letter to Vice President Biden
Common Sense Media letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski
Common Sense Media letter to FTC Chairman Leibowitz

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to:

About the Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people." The Center for American Progress and its sister organization the Center for American Progress Action Fund, have launched a comprehensive effort to reduce gun violence, enforce current laws, and enact common sense policies to increase public safety. For more information, visit:


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