Family First Calls on In-Flight Movies to Protect Families

Family First NZ is calling on the NZ government to introduce legislation to protect families from being exposed to unsuitable movies and entertainment on airline flights.

Federal legislation has just been introduced in the US requiring airlines that show adult-themed movies on overhead screens to create seating sections to shield children from graphic content. The legislation was prompted by complaints from parents and others who said airlines were increasingly showing movies and television reruns with sexual content and violence to in-flight audiences that include children.

“A number of families have contacted Family First NZ to express similar concerns that their children were viewing movies and television reruns not suitable for them, yet they had no way to stop it,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.

One mother said “It’s a nightmare in terms of children being able to see all sorts of very inappropriate images i.e. passengers sitting around a child can be viewing movies containing all sorts of sex and violence images – and there’s very little a parent can do to stop a child seeing them. On one screen near us, there was a woman in a war-concentration-camp type movie who was stripped naked, beaten, and then had raw sewage poured on her.”

“Another parent complained that a passenger next to her was watching a Michael Douglas movie showing a graphic sex scene. And a mother expressed disgust at the showing of the Mel Gibson movie Apocalypto which features nudity and graphic violence,” said Mr McCoskrie.

Movies featured in the July edition of the Air New Zealand Entertainment guide included R-rated Blood Diamond, American Beauty, and Once Were Warriors, and the R-rated tv drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

“Parents traveling with children should not be compromised by inappropriate and offensive movies which they find difficult to protect their children from viewing. It is also breaking censorship laws restricting the viewing of these movies to certain ages.”

Family First is calling on airlines to create family-friendly cabin sections, and for legislation similar to the US law to be introduced by the NZ government to enforce these requirements.

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