A Little Decency, Please!

Have you heard about the "Families for ED Advertising Decency Act?" It's a bi-partisan bill introduced on April 29 in the House of Representatives. The proposed bill would "prohibit as indecent the broadcasting of any advertisement for a medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, and for other purposes." Yeah, that's broad language and honestly I haven't read the whole thing. I believe the bill proposes the advertising be allowed only after 10pm and before 6am. It seems it is really about the explicit language. Regardless, the general concept has my attention.

I'm typically a free speech, turn-the-channel, anti-censorship kind of gal. As a parent, however, I'd love to see something done about these ads that repeatedly talk about seeing a doctor if you have an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours or to talk to your doctor to see if you're healthy enough for sex. Come on people! It's Sunday afternoon and my kids are watching sports with their Dad! Do they really have to see and hear this stuff? Could we have some subtlety please?

It isn't just the ED drug adverts. Some of the movie and television show previews themselves are over the top in sex, violence and just plain scary stuff. I’d like our kids to be able to watch a football game without being bombarded by disturbing previews. (It's bad enough that fast food restaurants and nutritionally deficient sugar bombs are being pushed.) Really. I have found myself disappointed in what squeaks by in the prime hours. Heck, we can barely watch television as a family because there isn’t programming we adults like that is appropriate for our children. And I’m not just talking HBO (which I love). I won't let them watch The Office, Family Guy, or My Name is Earl, which are family hour programs, because of the overt sexual references. At 11 and 9, my kids are just too young to understand the humor, to separate loving partnerships from elicit sex.

Sound like a prude, don't I. I'm really not. I don't shelter my kids to the point that they don't know about terrorist attacks and wars and politics. In fact, we talk about those things at their level so they can have some sense of understanding and security. Honestly, I just want my kids to have as much opportunity as possible to retain some innocence at an age when it is appropriate. I suppose the answer is to get rid of the television. I just don't want to go to that extreme just because the adults doing the advertising and programming decision-making can't control themselves.

Maybe this particular bill isn't the answer. Maybe there is a non-lawmaking way this can be resolved. Maybe big pharma will do the right thing. Maybe.

By the way, in the interest of equal time, I'm not all that crazy about feminine product ads that leave little to the imagination either.