Posted in advertising, media literacy, violent images

Parents Ask to Turn Off Movie: Cabin Crew Calls It a Security Risk?

I received this description about an unfortunate experience of a family traveling by commercial airline from the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC), a not-for-profit children’s policy group that addresses and seeks to stop kids’ exposure to for-profit and exploitative commercial and media images. 

The parents in the story below were attempting to prevent their children from seeing violent images in the movie, Alex Cross, playing on the movie monitors — a perfectly sensible thing for parents of today’s digital kids to do. Common Sense Media offers this review of Alex Cross.

Click to get more information about CCFC.
Click to get more information about CCFC.

Seems like pretty poor customer service training and extreme lack of judgement on the part of the airline crew, if this type of request represents a security breach. The family had to waste time going through the ordeal of interrogation by law enforcement authorities in Chicago — authorities who, in turn, wasted their time questioning parents who were merely trying to protect their children from exposure to violent images. This took valuable time away from the real work of these law enforcement professionals — protecting us from violent criminals, but maybe the airline crew forgot this.

Here’s the story from CCFC.             

Two parents traveling with young children on a United Airlines flight from Denver to Baltimore were concerned that their 4- and 8-year old boys were exposed to the in-flight movie Alex Cross, rated PG-13 for “violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity.” The parents asked if the flight crew could turn off the fold-down monitor most directly in their line of view and were told it wasn’t possible. They asked that their request be relayed to the captain—and their trip took a significant turn for the worse. The captain announced the flight was being diverted to Chicago for “security concerns.” And these were? The family. Who were questioned by law enforcement before they could board a new flight.

Obviously not every family goes through an ordeal like this, but parents who travel with young children are all too familiar with being unable to escape from violent and/or sexualized in-flight films. And at 30,000 feet, there’s no opting-out. Please tell United Airlines to stop showing PG-13 movies on its in-flight overhead screens.

If you want to tweet, share this on Facebook, or send a letter to United Airlines — I did all three — check out this page at CCFC.

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