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Lena Dunham and Adam Driver’s characters have an eye-widening relationship in HBO’s Girls.

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Chances are your children have seen glimpses of nudity on prime-time television – a flash of butt cheek here, a pixelated nipple there.

And these days, according to the Parents Television Council, a Los Angeles-based watchdog, they're probably seeing more skin on TV than in previous years. The amount of nudity shown on major U.S. television networks has jumped more than 400 per cent from the 2010 to the 2011 season, the council reported, lamenting that family values "are being assaulted on a nightly basis."

In a press release noting a "shocking spike," the council said it had recorded 76 incidents of full nudity on 37 shows this year, compared with 15 incidents in 14 shows a year ago. (Its study does not count animated nudity or suggested nudity, but includes "scenes in which individuals are completely unclothed and only the sexual organs are blurred from the viewer." Sports and news programs don't count either.)

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Nearly 70 per cent of the scenes showing full nudity were aired between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., it said. As CBS News points out, examples can be found in a wide range of shows, including The Bachelor, America's Got Talent, and Betty White's Off Their Rockers.

Moreover, the council noted that the prime-time use of the "bleeped or muted f-word" over the years has jumped from 11 instances in 2005 to 276 instances in 2010, representing a more than 2,400-per-cent increase.

In a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, the council's president, Timothy Winter, said major U.S. networks were not acting in the public interest. Rather, he said, "they are aggressively pursing a dangerous agenda to completely obliterate any remaining television taboos."

He said the council was not seeking more laws to control the networks, but hoped they would show more restraint.

If your children are watching The Bachelor, however, you may have bigger concerns than having them see couples naked: Heaven forbid they learn dating tactics from the show.

Have you noticed a rise in nudity or explicit language on television?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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