Viewers Less Worried By Sex On Television
Viewers are much less concerned about sex, violence and swearing on TV than they once were, according to broadcast watchdog Ofcom.
Five years ago, more than half of viewers (55%) believed there was too much violence on TV but that figure has now fallen to 35%, Ofcom's research has shown.
And the number of people who think there is too much sex on TV has fallen from 35% to 26% over the same period.
Among the audience who sees swearing as a cause for concern, the figure is now 35%, down from 53%.
Conversely, viewers are still very aware of the TV watershed - established 50 years ago and designed to protect children from unsuitable scenes before 9pm - and increasingly approve of it.
Nowadays, 94% of viewers are aware of it, that is 3% more than when the research was last done, and 78% of people approve of it - 8% more than previously.
Ofcom said a change in attitudes among older viewers was one of the reasons for the figures for sex, violence and swearing dropping so sharply.
The regulator admitted that on-demand and catch-up viewing would prove a "new challenge" in terms of protecting children using the watershed concept, but it pointed out that such services accounted for only 2.5% of viewing at present.
Tony Close, director of standards at Ofcom, said: "Fifty years on, the TV watershed remains a vital means of protecting viewers.
"We take robust enforcement action when the rules are broken, which reflects the importance we place on protecting children."
Claudio Pollack, director of Ofcom's consumer and content group, said: "Ofcom recognises that the growth of on-demand TV is posing new challenges for parents and regulators.
"We're working on ways to help ensure that the protections viewers expect from the watershed apply beyond broadcast TV."