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When children are force-fed violent entertainment

Every family I know has had the experience: They were in a public place and their children were exposed to violent entertainment that they didn’t choose. If you’re at the shopping mall or a restaurant, you can vote with your feet. But when you’re in an airplane, there’s nowhere to go.

One of my favorite organizations, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, is lobbying United Airlines to stop playing “PG” movies after an incident where a family objected to their children being force-fed a violent film while on a flight. United treated the family like they were the ones who had a problem, but clearly, any organization that thinks that it’s right to force everyone on a plane to watch objectionable material has a seriously damaged moral compass.

Appropriate for kids?

“For parents who travel with young children, being unable to escape from violent and/or sexualized media is an all-too-familiar experience.”

Please join me in support CCFC’s effort to curb this practice:

Tell United Airlines: No Media Violence on Overhead Screens

For years, United Airlines has refused multiple requests from parents and advocates to stop showing violent movies on overhead screens. But after a flight crew’s overreaction to a family’s efforts to shield their children from the violent PG-13 film Alex Cross (pictured), the airline has agreed to review its policies. For parents who travel with young children, being unable to escape from violent media is an all-too-familiar experience. Let’s change that. Learn more and add your voice to the nearly 2,000 parents who have urged United to stop showing violent PG-13 movies on publicly-visible overhead screens by visiting

Posted in Films, Parenting.

2 Responses

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  1. CM says

    Last month I was on the aisle seat, the mom in the middle. The little girl about 8 years old was at the window seat. Her mother hung a paper down to cover her individual screen and would not let her look at it. I had a book with me and didn’t want to look at the mandatory commercials flashing in my face so dimmed the thing down to black. Oddly the mom had nothing for the girl to do on the flight and so they began this power struggle thing about watching the TV or not. Finally it switched to pay only and the mother blamed the airline saying it was pay only and she refused to pay. As the parent I always had stuff for my kids to do that was quiet as an alternative to watching the movie (even when the movie used to be free back then). Even today now that my kids are teens I have them carry on a bag and tell them to bring something to do, an iPod at least, with their music and a magazine or book and digital ereaders etc.

    I believe in setting up the conditions ahead of time “we are not watching a movie on the airplane” but also avoiding a power struggle in the moment by having something for the kid to do that is quiet yet entertaining.

    Our cable TV service has a free app for iPad and iPhone so we can download a movie over wifi then watch it later, such as download at home then watch on the plane, or download in the hotel and watch on the plane. Good to know.

  2. Suki says

    The problem I’ve had is with older planes that have the screens mounted overhead. Even if a child isn’t listening to a movie, the imagery is often highly inappropriate for younger children. I agree with you: always bring lots of entertaining options on the plane, and don’t think that you can just turn off and ignore your child. A child who is interacting with someone will be less attracted to what’s going on overhead on the screens.

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