The 9pm watershed doesn't work?

For many years now, the 9pm watershed has protected young eyes from seeing scenes of sexual content, ‘foul language’ and scenes of a violent nature however TV companies are now in talks about making the watershed stricter as regulator OFCOM regularly receives complaints about television programmes that are too explicit. Programmes such as the X Factor regularly show raunchy performances, BGT has recently had a Britney lookalike strip down to a thong and programmes like Eastenders often show violent scenes.

In many other countries the watershed is notably later than in Britain, perhaps judgemental of ‘minors’ bedtimes. In Austria and Germany the watershed is at 10pm, although more explicit adult content cannot be shown until 11pm. On one hand I think it is a good idea to have more adult content later on, but then again it is up to the parents of the child what they are showing their children and for channels that are aimed at a target audience, it limits them as to what they can show.

Personally, I think that although scenes like the ones I’ve talked about are often inappropriate for younger viewers, it isn’t uncommon in today’s world to see such things – whether it be before or after 9pm. Girls who admire singers like Beyonce and Christina Aguilera will be used to raunchy performances whilst wearing provocative clothing and music videos are shown throughout the day (whether it be at 11am or 8pm). Although some mothers are very cautious as to what their young daughters watch, it has to be said that we live in a very exposed world where the media is a huge part of everyone’s lives and its unrealistic to hide everything away from your child – because sure enough one day, they are going to come into contact with scenes of a sexual or provocative nature.

Programmes like Eastenders portray ‘realistic family situations’ where heated arguments may occur and if parents don’t want their kids to come into contact with this kind of ‘violent natured action’ then they shouldn’t allow their children to watch it. With children having their own mobile phones and laptops (now at an average age of 11) parents are not going to be able to monitor everything they look at, and truth be told – I’m sure they are going to come into contact with a lot worse should they have a laptop or mobile phone.

I do understand that it is important to have a watershed, in order to protect explicit content from younger viewers, however I think it is up to the parents to judge whether they are happy for their kids to watch the X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent (as both series have been going on for several years and if you are not fully aware of what could occur in these programmes then perhaps parents need to do some research beforehand).

I do feel that Britain’s Got Talent does show quite a bit of sexual content in the most recent series and in previous years especially when it comes to strip tease acts and burlesque performances – considering none of them are that great and are only shown usually to the delight of one of the male judges. It is fair to give every act equal coverage, but I am sure everyone is fully aware that there are plenty of talented acts that do not get any coverage and why should these cringe worthy strip tease acts be allowed coverage on a family programme?

It is debateable. What do you think?

  • Alicia

    This article is pure gold – I’m doing a debate that the 9pm watershed is ineffective and this article is perfect, it has all the stuff I need. Plus it’s all totally true(which often helps). Really helpful and easier to understand than other sources.