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Many families have Super Bowl traditions as the generations gather around the television to watch the biggest football game of the year. It gives families a wonderful opportunity to share their interests and histories and to talk about the skill, determination, teamwork, practice, and courage that go into competing at that level. super-bowl-2009.gif
Unfortunately, the ads, which have generated almost as much press as the game itself, can lead to a whole other kind of family conversation and not one many parents welcome. Every year, I hear complaints from parents who find themselves getting questions about ED or who find their children imitating the silly or hyper-sexed behavior from alcohol ads.
Common Sense Media has a new report based on a review of the ads in over 50 games with more than 160 hours and more than 5000 commercials.
They found:

  • 1 out of every 6 commercials shown contained messages and images that were inappropriate for young kids.
  • 40% of the games included advertisements for erectile-dysfunction drugs (Viagra® and Cialis®)
  • More than 500 of the ads involved significant levels of violence, including gun fights, explosions and murders.
  • 300 of the ads were for alcohol.
  • 80 of the ads included significant levels of sexuality, including scenes about prostitution and strippers.
  • Nearly half (44.7%) of the violent and sexual ads were promotions by the networks for their own programs.

94% of the mothers polled said that they were concerned about inappropriate television commercials during pro football games. And at least one father agrees:

“I wasn’t too happy with ads for erectile-dysfunction drugs popping up every 15 minutes whenever I watched a football game with my daughters in the room.”

–President Barack Obama,
The Audacity of Hope, 2006

The report, called Broadcast Dysfunction: Sex, Violence, Alcohol, and the NFL is well worth reading. And Common Sense Media’s site has something even more important — a direct link to send the NFL a complaint using their draft text or your own words. If this is a concern for you and your family, I urge you to let Commissioner Roger Goodell know how you feel.

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