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Educators are alarmed by a new survey that found by Grade 7, three-quarters of all schoolchildren in Canada claim to have watched R-rated movies on video or DVD, one-quarter had personally rented R-rated movies, and that most of their parents placed no limits on how much time they can spend watching television, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

The survey of 5,756 students in Grades 3 to 10 in 122 public and private schools across the country was commissioned by the Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF) and is the largest study of the media habits of children ever undertaken. Among its many other findings:

· Three-quarters of children watch TV on a daily basis - hardly surprising since 48% have their own television set and 35% have their own VCR.

· Parents are even more lax in supervising which video or computer games their children can play than they are in which TV shows they can watch, apparently no matter how young they are. Among Grade 7 students, almost 75% said their parents were silent on the subject of which games they were allowed to play.

· Half of the students in Grades 7 to 10 did not believe that TV shows and movies are too violent, while one in three believed that "killing" someone in the course of playing a computer or video game is not a violent act.

· Just over half of children aged 12 to 15 had witnessed a real-life "violent act" that imitates something they had seen in a movie or on television.

"It's absolutely frightening," CTF president Terry Price told the Globe and Mail. "We should be taking notice and talking to kids about what is happening [on television or] in the games on the computer." In an editorial, the Globe and Mail commented that parents "need to take more responsibility for what their children are doing in their spare time. One simple step would be to remove TVs and video games from the child's bedroom and move them to spaces with open access." Even when both parents are working, that "doesn't mean they can't take an interest in what their offspring are up to," it stated, "or employ common sense and available technologies to restrict and monitor what is coming into their homes."

Focus on the Family is currently in the process of preparing an analysis of Canadian primetime television.
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