What's that you're asking? Hasn't this issue been studied to death already? Is spending another $90 million of taxpayers' money going to produce different results? "Yes" and "No," says Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) in naming Sen. Lieberman their "Porker of the Month" for August 2004.
Sen. Lieberman told Congress that CAMRA will "fund and energize a coherent program of research that illuminates the role of media in children's cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and behavioral development. The research will cover all forms of electronic media, including television, movies, DVDs, interactive video games, and the Internet and will encourage research with children of all ages--even babies and toddlers."
According to CAGW, however, lots of people are already looking out for what our children are viewing. These groups, which include Children NOW, the Childrens Digital Media Center, and Common Sense Media, hardly need another study to convince them that there is violence and sex on television, and that it affects children.
CAGW quotes Lara Mahaney of the Parents Television Council as saying, To spend $90 million on something we already know, is just a waste of money.
In 2003, the Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed the effect of electronic media on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers finding that 81 percent of parents say they have seen their children imitate behaviors seen on television, and that 36 percent of children under six have a television set in their bedroom. The American Academy of Pediatrics studied the effect of television on children under two, and recommended that they not watch it at all. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development also completed studies in the late 1990s analyzing the effect of television and video games on society. It is clear, asserts CAGW, that there are no gaps in research, as scientists, doctors, Sen. Lieberman, and his colleagues already use existing research to make policy recommendations.
Sen. Lieberman argues, we need to have the federal government to tell us scientifically what impact [electronic media] is having on our kids, and therefore, our country. This, says CAGW, "belittles the ability of parents to use common sense in deciding what entertainment is appropriate for their own childs consumption."
CAGW concludes that Sen. Lieberman's proposed $90 million program will contribute nothing new, will not solve any perceived problems, and is a prime example of government waste.
The Children and Media Research Advancement Act (S. 2447), is currently before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.