WASHINGTON (AP) – Most Americans say they’re very concerned about the amount of sex and violence in entertainment and want something done about it, but many worry that government restrictions could go too far, a poll found.

About six in every 10 Americans say they are “very concerned” about what children see and hear on television, in movies, in video games and in music lyrics, according to the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Even more, 73 percent, said they are very concerned about what children are exposed to on the Internet.

“The public is backing the kind of restrictions that are now being imposed, but there are limits on how far the public wants the government to go,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center.

Asked about proposals to crack down on perceived indecency in entertainment, a majority of people support increasing fines on broadcasters, making cable television follow the same rules as broadcast and enforcing those rules more strictly when children are likely to be watching TV.

But the poll found conflicting feelings.

By 48 percent to 41 percent, people were more worried about the government imposing undue restrictions than the industry producing material harmful to society.

In addition:

• Half thought sex and violence in entertainment is more the responsibility of the audience than the producers of entertainment, while a third blamed those who produce it.

• Four in five said parents are most at fault when children are exposed to inappropriate sexual or violent content.

Congress is considering steps to toughen penalties against broadcasters for indecency in programming.

The House of Representatives passed legislation in February that would increase the maximum fine from $32,500 to $500,000 for a company found to have shown indecent programming and from $11,000 to $500,000 for an individual entertainer.

The Senate Commerce Committee plans to hold hearings on the matter soon, but no date has been set. Some lawmakers are talking about whether to consider the content of cable television.

“People are uneasy about government getting involved in this,” Kohut said. “There’s a great deal of support for freedom of expression, especially among young people when it comes to entertainment.”

The Pew poll of 1,505 adults was taken March 17-21 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


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