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One in five viewers have found something on TV offensive - Ofcom

Tuesday, May 19th 2015 by Dean Reilly

One in five adult viewers have found something they’ve watched on TV to be offensive in the past 12 months, according to new findings from Ofcom.

The telecoms regulator also found that the figure rises to one-third of those in the 65 and over age bracket, with respondents from that age group most likely to complain about all types of offensive TV content.

The Ofcom UK audience attitudes to broadcast media report found that 16-24 year olds were the least likely age group to find content on television offensive, while parents were slightly less likely to be offended than those who didn’t have children.

Of those that had been offended, respondents said that the three main types of offensive material on TV were related to bad language, violence and sexual content.

44% of those offended by television content cited bad language as a concern, with violence and sexual content both being mentioned by 41% of offended viewers.

Adults below 45 were more likely to say they’d be offended by discrimination on TV than older viewers. 29% of under 45s said they had issues with representations of discrimination on television, while 19% of over 45s felt the same.

Too much violence?

Half of those surveyed said they reacted to offensive content by switching channels, while almost a quarter (24%) said they would switch off the TV completely.

20% of respondents said they were likely to react by discussing the content with others, while 14% continued watching in spite of their offence.

The report also found that four in ten adult viewers feel there is ‘too much’ violence and ‘too much’ swearing on TV, while three in ten feel there is ‘too much’ sex.

As with the results of the offensive content questions, the 65 and over age group were most likely to agree that there was too much violence, swearing and sex on broadcast television.

Just 3% of viewers felt that there should be more violence on television, 2% felt there needed to be more sex and 1% of those polled felt there should be more swearing on television.

13% said they were unsure if there was too much, too little or an acceptable amount of sex on TV, 7% were undecided on the levels of violence viewers can access, while 6% didn’t know if the amount of swearing on TV was appropriate.

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