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Federal report finds entertainment industry aims marketing at children
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A recently completed federal report concludes the entertainment industry routinely -- and deliberately -- targets young children when marketing movies, music and video games intended for people aged 17 or older.
The yearlong Federal Trade Commission study -- prepared at President Bill Clinton's request and provided to CNN ahead of its Monday release -- found that:
80 percent of R-rated movies were targeted at children under 17, and two-thirds of the marketing plans for R-rated movies expressly said the target audience was children under 17.
70 percent of video games with "mature" ratings are targeted to children under the age of 17, and 60 percent of the industry marketing plans for such games expressly noted they were targeted at children under 17.
85 percent of children aged 13-16 who participated in the FTC study were able to purchase music with explicit lyrics or violent video games that were ostensibly rated for those aged 17 or older.
50 percent of those aged 13-16 taking part in the study were allowed into R-rated movies.
Clinton requested the study in May 1999, in the wake of the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
"It is a scathing report," said a senior Clinton administration official who provided CNN with details of the document.
Clinton planned to discuss the report Monday during an event with his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic candidate for Senate in New York. They were to appear together in Scarsdale.
Administration officials said Mrs. Clinton planned to make two requests:
That there be an immediate end to any marketing campaigns deemed to inappropriately target children.
That a new voluntary, industry-wide uniform rating system be designed to make it easier for parents to understand the content of movies, video games and music.
Senate hearings planned
White House officials said that Clinton was not planning any new government initiatives, but that the president planned to stress his belief that "it is wrong for the companies to say one thing, such as promising not to inappropriately market their materials, and then do another," an aide said.
Clinton was also expected to point to studies that he has said increasingly make a strong link between violent entertainment and aggressive or violent behavior in children.
Later in the week, the issue is expected to receive additional attention when Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain holds hearings.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee from Connecticut, is expected to address the hearings to reiterate his criticism of the entertainment industry. He has said that the industry allows too much gratuitous sex and violence in its programming and products.
School security goes high tech
Federal Trade Commission
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