Comcast has refused to run a Catholic Social Services public service announcement on abstinence on several of its channels because the ads might be seen by children in the 6- to 9-year-old range, Comcast officials said.
A senior manager at the cable giant’s New York City headquarters reviewed the Catholic agency’s 30-second spot and determined that it was not appropriate for young viewers tuning into the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and the Family Channel. Comcast will allow the spot to appear on MTV, the Sci-Fi Channel, FX, the Comedy Central and E! Entertainment Channel.
The spot, entitled "Care Enough to Wait," is sponsored by ACTION, short for Abstinence Challenging Teens In Our Neighborhoods.
Arlene McNamee, executive director of Catholic Social Services, said she was rendered "a little speechless" by the cable company’s decision to pull the ad from certain channels.
Is talking about abstinence that controversial?" she asked. "We know that 9-year-olds are engaging in sexual activity. I wish I were making that up. And for the kids who are not sexually active, wouldn’t it be good to reinforce that behavior?"
The spot does not feature any pictures, only phrases that flash up on the screen as they are spoken by teenagers. The phrases include, "I thought she was using protection," "I thought I would feel like a man," "I thought I’d never catch anything bad," and "I thought he wouldn’t tell anybody." It ends with the words "Before you decide to have sex, do some serious thinking and take ACTION. Care enough to wait." [Source]
The spoken phrases are not appropriate for Nick or Cartoon Network. Ever.
Arlene McNamee should be left speechless more often.
Comcast hasn’t been watching the programming on Cartoon Network (CN) or the Family Channel (FAM). CN runs violence, sexual situations, and objectional language on Adult Swim from 11 pm-5 am. The Family Channel runs several programs that have overt sexual innuendo (“Whose Line is It Anyway?” comes to mind) and adult situations starting around 7pm EST.
Then again, Comcast in our area had a little blurb for “family programing” like “Will And Grace”.
Sorry. Sent too soon. I forgot to mention: I think Comcast is right to be concerned about who might see these ads, but in a lot of cases, they just need to put these public service announcements in the hours of adult programs.
PSAs can be compelling and don’t have to be sexually explicit. How in the world could anyone argue intelligently against promoting self control? The television spot could feature several messages about abstaining for the good of yourself and others (overeating, smoking, fighting, etc.). Kids aren’t stupid. The abstinence message can, and I think would, logically bring that thought of self control to the mind of children who are engaging or thinking of engaging in sexual activity.
I would NOT want these PSA’s shown to my 6-9 year olds. And I advocate abstinence promotion. But we need to keep our children children, in my opinion. I would hate for my 7 year old son to come in during Jimmy Neutron wanting to know what kind of “protection” was being referred to. It’s about age-appropriateness, which is a concept I would’ve THOUGHT an abstinence group would’ve been able to grasp.
I agree Philothea. Preserving innocence in our children, I think, is one of our chief jobs as parents. But as I said, the root of abstinence education is self control: “Sit still in your seat,” “Don’t grab that out of someone’s hands,” “No you cannot have a cookie.” Teaching our very young children they can’t have everything they want is vital… and television teaches the opposite.
I find the PSA too blunt. “We know that 9-year-olds are engaging in sexual activity” should not mean therefore we will define deviancy down and assume that all nine-year-olds will and do.