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FCC Urged: Move Faster on ‘Child Safe Viewing’

“They asked questions we already know the answer to.”

The Federal Communications Commission today formally issued its report examining “Child Safe Viewing” technologies and content ratings. 


Its conclusion — that further study is needed before any changes to the V-Chip or ratings can be recommended — immediately prompted some legislators and consumer groups to push for further action.

“Television is a powerful force.  It can educate and entertain, but it also can expose children to troubling content, like gratuitous sex and violence,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

While he welcomed the FCC report, he said, “This alone is not enough.
“Like so many parents across the country, I believe more must be done — by the industry, by the FCC and by the Congress — to provide simple ways for families to control and monitor their children’s screen time.

“We must offer the tools and policies that make it easy for people to be good parents and oversee the viewing that goes on in their homes.  We must do more than simply gather information and hope this alone protects our children. I look forward to the FCC’s next action in this area.”

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who sponsored the legislation requiring the FCC to prepare the report, also pressed the agency to move ahead.

“It is an uphill battle for parents trying to protect their kids from viewing inappropriate programming,” he said. While the report shows that there are new technologies available to help parents, “it also reveals basic roadblocks and major limitations.

“I plan to continue working with the FCC, [Sen.] Rockefeller and other members of the Commerce Committee to find solutions to help parents and children in the digital age.”

Dan Isett, director of public policy for the Parent’s Television Council, expressed disappointment that the report didn’t make recommendations.

“What we have here is a government report that says what we need is another government report,” said Isett, whose group has suggested the V-Chip needs to be improved and ratings systems simplified. “They asked questions we already know the answer to.”

Though the FCC made no recommendation, Jeff McIntyre, director of public policy for Children Now, set the report sets up the FCC to do a far more detailed report.

“It’s a real doorway into a much more substantive look at childrens’ media,” he said. “These are really thorny issues.”