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Senate Votes To Empower Parents As Censors 418

Posted by kdawson
from the you-are-what-you-block dept.
unlametheweak recommends an Ars Technica report that the US Senate has unanimously passed a bill requiring the FCC to explore what "advanced blocking technologies" are available to parents to help filter out "indecent or objectionable programming." "...the law does focus on empowering parents to take control of new media technologies to deal with undesired content, rather than handing the job over to the government. It asks the FCC to focus the inquiry on blocking systems for a 'wide variety of distribution platforms,' including wireless and Internet, and an array of devices, including DVD players, set top boxes, and wireless applications."
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Senate Votes To Empower Parents As Censors

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  • Positive Changes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slifox (605302) * on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:06AM (#25271619)

    Well its about time this issue becomes more widely recognized in government...

    If you don't like whats on TV, DON'T WATCH IT.

    If you don't want your child watching it, DON'T RELY ON TV AS A BABYSITTER.

    "The text of the bill notes that the average child watches four hours of television a day"
    Uhhh, doesn't this seem a little much?? Subtracting school & sleep, that leaves 5 hours a day for other things (not even counting things like homework, meals, etc).
    Parents should be pushing their kids to spend this time doing *constructive* activities, such as those that inspire aspirations of becoming engineers, scientists, artists, etc... NOT activities that make 'stupid spoiled whore' seem like a desirable occupation

    "With over 500 channels and video streaming, parents could use a little help monitoring what their kids watch when they are not in the room,"
    The amount of content will only grow, and it is too difficult to categorize and rate every piece of video & audio, especially highly-paid-for items like advertisements.
    They are taking the blacklist approach, and as we all know, that will only work if you have the resources to maintain the list against all new and possible content.
    Rather, they (parents -- NOT GOVERNMENT) should be taking the whitelist approach, which, given an infinite content set, is far more realistic to successfully maintain.

    Yeah, that means taking time out of your day to ensure that your kids are only watching content that you deem appropriate for them (and this obviously should change with their age and maturity). That means not sitting your kid in front of the TV while you go persue your own hobbies or work (imagine that: sacrificing for the sake of your family). Most families are not in situations where the parents must work round-the-clock to provide *basic* supplies for their kids -- if the parents' excuse is they must work instead of parenting, then perhaps they need to cut down on their spending for the sake of their childrens' upbringing: a kid needs a good parent more than the latest clothing, a big TV, or yearly vacations.

    This is probably not news to most people here, but far too many Americans are quick to call for government censorship of TV/radio/internet/videogames/etc, rather than simply investing their OWN TIME into raising their kids.

    Now, of course, we should, as always, still remain vigilant and make sure that this newfangled "parent-empowered" censorship isn't simply a masquerade for actual forced censorship (read: government censorship)...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Timesprout (579035)
      A really positive move would be to ban all advertisements targeted at kids. It traps parents into a neverending spending cycle many can barely afford in the first place. Why should marketing experts be allowed direct their expertise in manipulation at the most vulnerable members of society.
      • Re:Positive Changes (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:34AM (#25271807) Homepage Journal
        "A really positive move would be to ban all advertisements targeted at kids. It traps parents into a neverending spending cycle many can barely afford in the first place."

        I dunno...my parents had a VERY effective manner in dealing with this 'neverending spending cycle' you mention. It was the simple word, "no".

        While I'd agree we have too much advertisement in general...just because it is advertised doesn't mean you have to buy it for yourself or your kid. That simple word "no", was quite effective when dealing with all sorts of issues during my upbringing.

        • by Zashi (992673) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:18AM (#25272219) Homepage Journal
          But that implies responsibility and self-control.

          Sir, you ask FAR too much.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by celtic_hackr (579828)

            Hey, you! Butt out. Don't tell me how to raise my kid! I know where my child is! Glued in front of the TV watching commercials, with some commercialized programming interspersed. When my child isn't watching TV, my child is playing massively disgusting, gross, anti-social, kill or be killed, rob or get robbed violent a** videogames. By neglecting my child, I am empowering my child to become a normal average American, who will hopefully grow up to build the next great video-sharing site and upload lots and

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by houghi (78078)

          That simple word "no", was quite effective when dealing with all sorts of issues during my upbringing.

          With me it started with "Can I watch TV? No!"

          On the other hand, one of my parents was always at home and could act as the babysitter. No need for a second or third TV. I still only seldom look TV and when I watch, I am almost always doing something else as well.

        • Re:Positive Changes (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pmbasehore (1198857) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:41AM (#25272489)
          My parents had a similar answer, "Save your money." They didn't care what I purchased (so long as it was safe, legal, etc) as long as I saved my own money to get it. Really taught me fiscal responsibility at a pretty early age.
          • Re:Positive Changes (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Sandbags (964742) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:28PM (#25275103) Journal

            Unfortunately, that approach only works once children understand the value of money, which does not typically happen until they're 5-8 years old. The TV ads in cartoons are often targeting much younger children. Generally, the simple answer is no, especially in a store.

            We were taught by our parents that the surest way to be told "no" was to ask for something. "Can I have that?" got a sharp reply of no, and continual asking or compaining got a smack on the ass. The response was even quicker if we tried to ask for something while in a store or if we tried to play the sympathy or public embarresment angle. We had to be especially good just to even go TO the toy section in a store, and Mom always used the candy free isle in the grocery store. We never got something by asking for it. Never.

            We were TOLD when we had been good enough to get candy or a toy. Asking before that point delayed how long we'd have to wait to reach that goal. Something like "you've been good today, so after we're done shopping I'll buy you a treat." It worked.

            My wife, a 3rd grade teacher, has a better method she uses in her classrooms that we started using with our kids: She gives her students little sticks with their names on them to keep at all times. Each time they do something wrong, or break a rule, they have to turn over one of their sticks. Each time they do something especially good, or just as a reward for effort, they can get one back. They start the day with 3 sticks, and if they end the day with the same number, they get a little card punched with a hole, plus an extra hole for each stick beyond 3 they ended up with. Their puched cards get traded in for a piece of candy (if they have enough holes at the end of the week) or can be stored up for bigger rewards. Less than 3 sticks, certain punishments happen consistent with school rules.

            At home, we adapted this system slightly. The kids have the same 3 sticks rule, and get punches for the thrid and each additional stick they end the day with. We let them build up as many sticks as they can doing good things all day. We take a number of sticks away for doing various things bad. A lie saccrifies all sticks, as does agressive play with others (bullying or fighting). Arguing is 1 stick, but they keep loosing more as they continue to argue. Asking for something that is not deserved ("Can I have a ...") looses a stick. Something big, like getting in trouble at school to a point that gets a note home, and they can loose not only sticks, but all their built up punches too... Telling the truth, especially when it's not good and might result in punishment, always earns them a stick (sometimes more).

            Anything that happens at school can just as easily result in a loss of sticks. We make sure all the parents that may watch our kids for any reason, as well as family members, also know the same rules, and enforce them just the same. Failing to hand in homework, talking back to a teacher, etc, anything we hear about in a note home or in their weekly report goes towards their stick count. We ensure family and friends hold them to the same rules.

            The kids have quickly adapted to 1: keeping their mouthes closed in stores and staying close to us while shopping. 2: they do not lie. 3: they do not start fights. Our older girl has been in one; she's in 2nd grade and kicked a 4th grader bully in the nuts hard enough to need medical attention, and after we heard why (he took her juice box from her, and when she first got a teacher involved and then confronted him, he pushed her, then she kicked him) she earned a stick for that plus another for having told the truth about it, and a 3rd for trying to get help first) 4: they understand the rewards for continual good behavior are better than that for incremental behavior. 5: they suffer dissapointment, sometimes big dissapointment, when they're bad and understand the efforts necessary to recoup a loss if that happens. 6: they don't talk back to us. (though the 2 year old loves t

        • by cfulmer (3166) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:47AM (#25272549) Homepage Journal

          I have a similar approach with my kids. If you consistently say no, the kids stop asking. It's only when you start saying yes sometimes that they start. That's as true of advertising as it is of buying candy in the checkout aisles.

          But, it's also important to teach kids about advertising -- they need to learn that advertisers LIE and will do anything to separate people from their money. (This is, unfortunately, even more true in kid's advertising than with adults.)

          A few Christmases ago, I deliberately bought a crappy, but well-advertised, toy for each of my kids. We opened them up and compared them to what we saw on the TV commercials. I gave the kids the option to return the toys and get something else that I knew they would like.

          There were two benefits: first, they look at advertisements with a lot more skepticism than their peers, and, second, if they get something they don't like, they're very willing to return it for something they do like.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I have a similar approach with my kids. If you consistently say no, the kids stop asking. It's only when you start saying yes sometimes that they start. That's as true of advertising as it is of buying candy in the checkout aisles.

            What really gets me are the parents who say "no" until the kid gets unbearably annoying about it, then say "yes". Somehow they don't realize that they're only training the kid that being loud and obnoxious will get them what they want.

        • Re:Positive Changes (Score:4, Informative)

          by db32 (862117) on Monday October 06, 2008 @10:14AM (#25272839) Journal
          Funny, I always got "Do you think money grows on trees?" which is a terribly strange question to ask a child with no concept of where money DOES come from. You eventually learn the correct answer is "no", but you still have no idea WHY the answer is "no".
      • Re:Positive Changes (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gfxguy (98788) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:54AM (#25271981)

        After getting Tivo, my kids didn't even know what to ask for last Christmas. It was great, because they asked for things they really wanted (and were good things for kids, IMO), as opposed to asking for what the TV told them to ask for.

      • by Gr8Apes (679165)

        A really positive move would be to ban all advertisements targeted at kids. It traps parents into a neverending spending cycle many can barely afford in the first place. Why should marketing experts be allowed direct their expertise in manipulation at the most vulnerable members of society.

        Why allow those "vulnerable" members to watch any ad driven TV at all, or at least without running it through your nifty ad filtering MythTV setup or the like, or buying the DVD and ripping it to remove everything but the show?

        Seems to work great for my kid, and saves me from at least a majority of the "I want that, can I have that?" series of questions that get the ever predictable "no" answer.

        Some people need to seriously take another look at their parenting habits, and maybe remove the TV entirely from t

    • Parents should be pushing their kids to spend this time doing *constructive* activities,

      Did that really ever work? Something like the parent asking their kids to go play outside seems to be a cliché that most people lived through, parents today might have lived through both sides of those arguments.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        When I was a child, we just plainly didn't have video games or TV to waste time on, and in turn I made things to do. I seriously recommend it. A big part of development is creativity, and without it, I'd be worried how average I would've turned out.
      • by Nutria (679911) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:14AM (#25272171)

        Did that really ever work?

        Works for my kids:

        You've got books, you've got toys, you've got bicycles, you've got a back yard: go do something!!!

    • by Smidge204 (605297)

      While I certainly don't disagree with you on principles, this caught my eye:

      Subtracting school & sleep, that leaves 5 hours a day for other things (not even counting things like homework, meals, etc).

      24 hours in a day - 9 (sleep) - 5 "left over" = 10. Your kids spend 10+ hours a day at school? Hardcore. For me, Elementary/Middle school lasted from 8AM to 2PM (plus or minus) which is only 6 hours.
      =Smidge=

    • by K.B.Zod (642226) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:13AM (#25272167)

      That means not sitting your kid in front of the TV while you go persue your own hobbies or work (imagine that: sacrificing for the sake of your family).

      My wife and I have two kids, ages 5 years and 16 months. I work full time, my wife part time with help from the grandparents babysitting. I can guarantee you that we have lots more to do while our kids are watching TV than hobbies or work. Here's a short list:

      • Cleaning the unending flow of dirty dishes
      • Handling the unending flow of laundry
      • Preparing breakfast/lunch/dinner, or cleaning up from it
      • Making phone calls for needed appointments
      • Cleaning the kitchen, or bathrooms, or ...
      • Did I mention the laundry?

      I could go on. See anything there that a really little kid can help with? See anything that maybe would go a lot smoother if the kids were just still for a little while? Using TV just to stop the whirlwind for even a half-hour can be a godsend for us. We love to spend time with our kids playing with toys, doing art, or romping in the yard, but when we need to do something ourselves — or we just need a break — putting on an educational, age-appropriate TV show can be a useful tool.

      Yeah, we're not perfect parents. But we aren't helicopters either, and we have other stuff we've got to take care of.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rohan972 (880586)

        See anything there that a really little kid can help with?

        A 5 year old, yes. Our 5 year old can do his own laundry (requires front loader) washing and hanging out, get cereal, sandwiches and drink for himself and younger siblings. He also unpacks the dishwasher, but I wouldn't like to have him washing dishes in a sink unattended just yet. We decided to put up with some mess (of little kids doing things) for the purpose of getting them more independent earlier. Get them onto those chores with you if they can't do it themselves, there is no rule that your time with

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dpilot (134227)

          We did this with our kids, and some friends didn't. It made extra work early on, because young kids really aren't that competent yet, but it pays off as they become so. Fast forward a number of years... Our kids have been getting their own breakfast and lunch for years, with no help from us past the early times. Theirs still count on Mom and Dad to do it for them. Our kids do their own chores around the house, and divvy up on family chores, though occasionally some prodding is needed. Theirs were just

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by argStyopa (232550)

      I'd agree with pretty much everything you've written, but I'd add one caveat regarding a situation that it doesn't appear you've considered: advertising.

      I'll give you two examples, a sexual one (for the sex-averse prudish Americans) and a violent one (for the pantywaist Euros).
      - A man is dragged from a car, protesting and in terror. He's made to kneel on the pavement, begging the unseen assailant "Don't, please, don't...please..." The muzzle of a pistol barrel is put to his temple and the screen crashes t

      • by shoemilk (1008173)
        Can't you set TiVo to strip commercials automatically? I live in Japan where it doesn't exist, just regular DVRs, so I don't know (Incidental side note, Japan even has commercials encouraging you to watch commercials). But you don't have to watch it the day of, you could record it and watch it later sans-CMs
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kabocox (199019)

      If you don't like whats on TV, DON'T WATCH IT.
      If you don't want your child watching it, DON'T RELY ON TV AS A BABYSITTER.

      Here's better advice from some one that does sometimes use tv, computers, and video games a babysitter while I'm even at the house doing my own thing. Don't have cable or over the air TV. Just buy season DVDs of the stuff you remember watching when you grew up or that you vaguely think that is legit for your family to watch. The same applies to video games and computer crap. Now the only

  • by RMH101 (636144) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:07AM (#25271631)
    ...it'll make sure that broadcasts are tagged up with useful metadata about the contents, if nothing else; which I'm sure will be good for everyone, and it'll add some granularity of control between different devices - which sounds ripe for adding cool new features.
    • by cptdondo (59460) on Monday October 06, 2008 @10:20AM (#25272877) Journal

      Yabbut.... Any such system will be 'voluntary' - meaning each station/studio/whatever will be able to describe the latest murder-sex-mayhem sitcom as "wholesome family entertainment".

      I'm with all the posters who just turn the TV off. Better yet, cut off the cable and spend time with your kids.

      And yes, I have kids, and no, we don't use TV as a babysitter. Kids will find things to do if you provide them the opportunity to do so.

      I cringe at the social messages in the commercials, even for kids' shows. The ads for the girls' toys on the 'tween shows are pretty shocking for me.... 11 year old girls, in tight clothing, miniskirts, full makeup and hair, dressed like they're ready to go man-shopping, playing at being 'executives'....

      Mythtv is great. Next raise I get I'm cutting off live TV altogether and banishing commercials entirely.

      All this is a long way to say that parents already are empowered to control what their kids watch. Get rid of cable, turn the TV off, and give them books, toys, blocks, crayons, whatever.

  • by TechnoBunny (991156) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:08AM (#25271637)
    ...suppliers will supply it, regardless of any spurious 'WONT SOMEONE THINK OF TEH CHILDREN' type arguments....
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      ...suppliers will supply it, regardless of any spurious 'WONT SOMEONE THINK OF TEH CHILDREN' type arguments....

      As long as parents are footing their own damned costs for this, and the rest of us don't have it foisted on us, I agree with that. Having the entire TV and internet infrastructure set up to do this is stupid.

      Cheers

  • This is to get people to accept more control under the guise of "protecting the kids".

    Once the control has saturated the various markets and has become accepted by the people as normal, the government will take over.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ozphx (1061292)

      Yeah Australia is going nuts at the moment trying to implement internet filters. Nevermind that IE has had parental control since IE4, and Vista has that built in. Presumably there are similar solutions on other OS's.

      How many damn levels of filtering does there have to be between a man and his porno? I mean, FFS, will the situation be that I have to call the National, State and City Filtering Authorities and register for a two hour unblock on my IP a couple of days in advance every time I want to fap?

      Gentle

    • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Monday October 06, 2008 @10:00AM (#25272695) Journal

      (Offtopic rant alert!)

      Once the control has saturated the various markets and has become accepted by the people as normal, the government will take over.

      Why?

      It's often contended here that the government will change the fabric of society and oppress us the first chance they get, but I don't hear too many rational reasons why they would, and plenty rational reasons why they wouldn't. For example, I was not under the impression that modern politicians had the requisite courage to bring any real change to anything significant. If there really is some significant number of politicians out there in the current system who would risk it all to give themselves more power, how come there aren't more politicians who are risking it all to make tough, potentially unpopular decisions? So far, the stereotype of the cowardly, poll-driven politician has rung far truer than the power-hungry conspiring type. Not that a single politician who fits that description would be able to do much in his short time in his position.

      Another point is that creating and maintaining a society is difficult, expensive, risky, and they are often unstable to boot. Doubly so for a country rooted in democracy, and government bending over backwards for popular opinion. Most people with basic intelligence can figure out that such a venture is stupid, and that the timeline would probably exceed their own life anyway. I understand that you see this as a possible lowering of that barrier, but, if think about it, it's not exactly oppression they'd be accustoming to, it would be surveillance. The slippery slope isn't even going in the right direction.

      Anyway, in conclusion, your fears are IMHO somewhere between laughable and irrational. Nothing personal though.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:12AM (#25271671) Homepage Journal

    Its called spending time with your kids. Turning off the tv/etc when they get into something you don't approve.

    We don't need a technological answer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MasterOfMagic (151058)

      With the economy in the shitter and both parents needing to work, it's increasingly hard for you to turn off the TV when you're not there.

      That being said, there are plenty of devices out there (anything with a V-Chip in it, cable boxes, cable-company DVRs, TiVo, media center PCs, DVD players, video game consoles) that can do much of this already. While I'm sure other DVRs have this functionality, I know for a fact that TiVo has a feature called KidZone [youtube.com] where the parent can set ratings guidelines as well as

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:21AM (#25271727) Homepage Journal

      Very true and quite insightful. I would also add that if parents are in control it's not called censorship and they are not censors. They are parents. Censorship applies to when Government engages in decided what can and cannot be seen/heard in the media.

    • by gfxguy (98788) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:22AM (#25271731)

      Good post.

      As a parent, I'm appalled at how many parents let their kids walk all over them. I'm not surprised; so many people reach maturity without having been given the tools to be "mature," that it's nearly impossible to discipline their own kids when they have them.

      On my son's soccer team, the coaches son yells at him, jumps on him, throws temper tantrums... guess who gets to play whatever position he wants for the entire game (unless he's tired and wants to come out)?

      At an after school meeting, my son's teacher's son hit his mother... slapped her face, and she did nothing. Granted, she was at school, it seems like you can get the death penalty for discipling a child on school grounds these days, but good lord!

      My kids seem like the only ones who get the recommended amount of sleep... it's very difficult; they have friends who are going to bed at 10:00 and 11:00 at night and getting up for school at 7:00. At nine years old, they're supposed to be getting 10 to 11 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked with ADD and many other behavioral problems.

      And as far as TV and internet go, let's just say we start by having to earn time to watch TV or "play" on the computer.

      My kids also have to earn their money to buy things like video games and other toys... books are the only things they get for "free."

      It's really NOT rocket science.

      • If only more parents followed a few of those simple ideas.
        But you can bet that the first company which comes out with a childcarer bot to allow parents to pay even less attention to their kids will make a fortune.... wiat... TV already got there.

        Of course you'll see it going too far in the other direction as well. 17 year olds with a 9 o clock bedtime are hilarious and of course some parents take "dicipline" to a scary place where you wonder if you should be calling child services.

  • Would that mean that in the US you would finally be able to see on national television what we here in the Netherlands have been able to see since the 60s (if we want to): naked people?

  • History channel
    Discovery channel
    Science channel
    Cooking channel
    Golf Channel
    ... not necessarily in that order.
    • I loved Discovery channel when I was a kid, watched it all the time.
      No though I switch it on and all I see most evenings is "Biggest monster trucks ever" or the millionth re run of "crimescene detectives"

    • National Geographic
      Animal Planet
      History International
      Military Channel
      BBC America

      and of course

      The Weather Channel

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560)
      Why Golf Channel? Bedtime stories not putting your kids to sleep quickly enough?
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:21AM (#25271729) Homepage

    Parents are already 'enabled' as censors over their children. It's called looking at what they are doing and watching, and preventing them from watching the stuff they disagree with.

    Asking the FCC to impose a technical mandate on every piece of communications technology to allow parents to individually censor every thing according to rules is asinine. Because we're all going to end up paying through the nose for our TV and ISPs and consumer electronics which have this stuff in it.

    Sadly, parents seem to expect that someone will come up with a technical solution to all of their ills. I think it would be both expensive and ill-advised to try to get this stuff built into all of the technology around us.

    This is the worst sort of mandate, because, once again, we look at implementing mechanisms of censorship which will be in place for all of us -- all in the name of the children. Eventually they'll take the choice away from us to watch what they consider to be objectionable as some overly zealous group says that on thing or another should be banned in case some child somewhere sees it.

    Cheers

    • by igb (28052)
      My parents didn't, and don't, have a television. In 1970 it could be argued that excluded my brother and I from a shared culture, there being only at the time three channels. That's not true today: there's very little TV which is a genuine part of the shared experience, simply because it's far more fragmented. But I didn't have access to a TV on a regular basis until I bought one myself in my early

      I'm not inclined to not have a television --- I like F1, and watch Doctor Who --- but there's a single TV

      • While your reply is interesting in itself, it is offtopic reguarding its parent post. Yes, most children watch too much crapy TV, but not having a TV is not a valid answer to the concern of censorship by a central authority in the name of the children.
        As a Dr Who fan, ask yourself if you would have like if every occasion in which that show (which, we'll all agree to consider not supposed to be watched by young children) depicted the british government or crown in unflatering way (at least half a dozen times

        • While your reply is interesting in itself, it is offtopic reguarding its parent post. Yes, most children watch too much crapy TV, but not having a TV is not a valid answer to the concern of censorship by a central authority in the name of the children.

          While your reply is interesting in itself, it is offtopic regarding the parent topic, which is tools for parents to control the viewing of theit children, not giving power to "central authority."

          • From the original post: "Eventually they'll take the choice away from us to watch what they consider to be objectionable as some overly zealous group says that on thing or another should be banned in case some child somewhere sees it."

            To wich it was reply sothing on the line of "censorship not a problem, since I don't watch TV".

            I was just pointing that, despite its qualities and its being generally ontopic for the whole discussion, that reply was in no way a valid reply to the original post's concerns.

        • by igb (28052)
          Except what's on the table isn't anything about `central censorship'. From the original article:

          But the law does focus on empowering parents to take control of new media technologies to deal with undesired content, rather than handing the job over to the government. It asks the FCC to focus the inquiry on blocking systems for a "wide variety of distribution platforms," including wireless and Internet, and an array of devices, including DVD players, set top boxes, and wireless applications.

          Quite how you

  • by fermion (181285) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:23AM (#25271737) Homepage Journal
    One of parents job is to slowly expose children to the world as the child is able to understand it. This is much better than limiting the behavior of all adults. For example, some might want to ban alcohol from any venue that a child might attend. This makes sense if the venue is primarily for children, but doesn't make sense if it is primarily adult, where parent can model responsible drinking rather than have the child's first experience at a high school kegger.

    For the internet the same is true. It is much better to give parent control of what and when the child can access certain content rather than limit content to that which is appropriate for a 12 year old. This is not censorship in the conventional sense as the content is available. A motivated child can leave the house and gain acess. Rather this is a little thing called parenting, which many around here might say is something way under practiced.

    One thinks that this is only a problem for two groups. First, teenagers who either do not have a means to get out of the house of out of school, for instance rural or homeschool kids, to unfiltered computers. Second, adults who live in the parents basements and do not pay rent or pay for their own phone/cable and computer. Otherwise, such technologies are merely part of rearing a child.

  • Virgin media have a censorship control page on their online user account management site. It seems to allow parents/guardians to block various websites that included:

    Encyclopedia Britannica, Freeloader.com, LEGO, Tweenies
    Expresso education, sonicselector, music choice
    newsplayer.com, napster, vidzone, metaboli.com, Photobox
    Premium Games from virgin media

    I can understand the music and image downloads sites being blocked, but
    Encyclopedia Brittanica and Expresso education?

    • by gomiam (587421)
      Of course, imagine your new-fangled fanatic 6 year old kid learning how to use LEGO blocks to build a nuclear bomb using information gleaned from the Encyclopaedia Britannica...
  • by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon&gamerslastwill,com> on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:35AM (#25271823) Homepage Journal

    not that it matters to congress, but doesn't the V-Chip already block everything?

    Isn't every TV, game console, and DVD player already shipping with a V-Chip?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Carlosos (1342945)

      Wouldn't that mean that the FCC can start to reduce censorship on TV since every parent could do the censorship if they wanted to do it (but only 12% use it)?

  • by blindd0t (855876) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:43AM (#25271891)
    Hearing a beep or a brief moment of silence in place of an expletive is plain obnoxious. Can we not come up with something that makes that sort of censorship optional? I'd want it if I had kids, but I don't, so give me the F bombs!
  • by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:44AM (#25271901) Journal

    I recently discovered that there was a really cool filtering tool that came on all my game consoles, dvd players, televisions, computers, and music players. It is a button that says "on". When pressed, the filter activates then the picture and sound stop. I thought it was new, but it has only been relabeled. Previously this feature had been marked as a "O" or a "I" on a giant toggle.

  • As a parent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ehaggis (879721) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:46AM (#25271915) Homepage Journal
    We have implemented the following...
    1. Limited TV - Rabbit Ears only or pre-selected DVDs. Yes, we say "no" to many programs. When TV goes digital, oh well - we will not switch.
    2. ClarkConnect [clarkconnect.com] - proxy, firewall, ad blocker, content filter, anti-virus, spam blocker, for the house. Any connection to my wireless or wired LAN has this protection. The time on the computer is limited and monitored.
    3. We have not abdicated authority to our children. They are children, we are the parents. The responsibility for raising them and what they take in is with us, not them.
    • We have implemented the following...

      1. Limited TV - Rabbit Ears only or pre-selected DVDs. Yes, we say "no" to many programs. When TV goes digital, oh well - we will not switch.

      2. ClarkConnect [clarkconnect.com] - proxy, firewall, ad blocker, content filter, anti-virus, spam blocker, for the house. Any connection to my wireless or wired LAN has this protection. The time on the computer is limited and monitored.

      3. We have not abdicated authority to our children. They are children, we are the parents. The responsibility for raising them and what they take in is with us, not them.

      That all sounds reasonable and mature. More parents should follow most of those guidelines.

      However, might you state why you don't want to switch to Digital? It's honest curiosity and not an insult.

      It's just a box per TV that costs maybe $30, and from your posts it doesn't sound like you have many TVs. You'll still be on bunny ears and thus limited to CBS/NBS/Fox/CW/etc.

      It's one thing if you didn't allow any TV in the first place (I know people that did that) but why go from limited TV to no digital? Unl

    • by dbcad7 (771464)

      When TV goes digital, oh well - we will not switch.

      You do realize that going digital does not mean free cable.. all it means is the same stuff, plus a few extra channels of old stuff.. and you can get the converter box rebate from the government and do it for free.. (almost free, probably need to buy another antennae)

  • by BlatantRipoff (933953) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:50AM (#25271947)
    ...how much the V-chip [wikipedia.org] is used by parents. In a nutshell, an FCC report [fcc.gov] tells us that a 2007 Zogby poll reported a V-chip usage of 12 percent. What I want to know is how are they going to get parents to use "advanced blocking technologies" when the parents won't even use what they currently have?
  • I'm not that worried about what my kids (5 years and 16 months) watch because my wife and I supervise them. The oldest knows that he is not to touch the TV (or the remote) without our permission. When he does turn on the TV, he's interested only in watching Noggin, Playhouse Disney (both kids' networks) or sometimes channel 11 (which broadcasts kids shows in the morning here). Actually, it's the younger one I'm worried about. He grabs the remote, presses buttons, and invariably lands on Penthouse, Howar

  • Objectionable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MosesJones (55544) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:04AM (#25272069) Homepage

    This can only come from the parents. Personally I find FoxNews objectionable as its absolute slanted trash, other parents think its education for their kids. Personally I find the god channels objectionable for their "send money for redemption" pitches and homophobic and other outbursts, other parents find this stuff uplifting and important that their kids should watch.

    Kids shouldn't be left in front of the TV with the remote. It really isn't difficult and TV should be a minimum thing, a treat, not the basic right that is in every kids' room.

  • Pefect Solution... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FishAdmin (1288708) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:14AM (#25272181)
    ...get rid of the freakin' tv. My wife and I got rid of ours, and are ever-so-much the happier for it. Our son is growing up without a tv addiction, and we still all curl up and watch appropriate movies on our laptop. Sometimes he'll sit on my lap and we'll watch YouTube videos (Muppets how, Sesame Street, etc). Guess what? It's the ULTIMATE whitelist. You want your child to learn how to do more than just sit in front of the tv, veg out, and get fat? TEACH THEM! You ever want to see what parents are really like, watch their young children. A toddler will mimic you to perfection, in all the good and the bad. Play games with your children, wrestle with them, build things from blocks, read to them (anyone remember books?!), take them for walks and hikes, take them fishing, play video games with them There's some great emulators for pc!), teach them how to do something other than rot their wee little minds in front of a glowing box ALL DAY LONG. All things have their time and place, but it's amazing how well NOT having a tv works.
  • Does anyone else think that it's not censorship for a parent to choose what their child watches? This is pretty much the opposite of censorship to me. The government isn't saying what should or shouldn't be available, they're trying to let parents choose what their kids can and can't see without limiting the choices of other adults...
  • by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:43AM (#25272507)
    Even if corporations give parents power to control this stuff, public schools in the U.S. are still forcing all sorts of stuff down kids' throats, regardless of how parents feel. Everything from politically motivated "scientific" teachings regarding creationism to the definition of marriage, over which a Mass. man was arrested because he refused to leave a meeting until the school reached a compromise about teaching his child (a practicing Mormon) to accept gay marriage. The school didn't compromise.

    Things like the gay marriage debate put church and state on a collision course, setting up the state with its own particular belief system even to the persecution of those who want to worship their own way. Far from being able to exercise religious freedoms, those with differing opinions are being labeled hate criminals.
  • by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Monday October 06, 2008 @12:47PM (#25274617)

    Although it's good to see our government stepping back and saying "enough!" when it comes to being forced into the roll of babysitter, it still encourages the idea that child-rearing should be convenient for the parents. Only now, this would at least place some responsibility on the parents to act when the child is doing something undesirable.

    Personally, I've never been a big fan of technology like the "V-Chip". It's one thing to put a child-proof lock on medications or guns, but seriously... a child-proof lock on a TV?

    With such technologies getting much more common, I wonder how long until we start seeing "reverse thought crime" laws. (Basically anything that entices a child's thought process to stray outside a parent's preferred baseline.)

    Right now, many of pissed off at our government for secretly tracking our everyday activity through all sorts of technological measures. Yet, we're more than happy to use similar measures on our own kids to make things easier for ourselves. In reality, what we're doing is breeding future generations to be tolerant of a world that constantly monitors your every move.

    How about instead of using technology as a leash, give the child the chance to choose to make a bad decision and then catch them in the act to scare the shit out of them? Under such a system of continual cat and mouse style games, you're child should either become much more trust-worthy or, at least, much better at deception (if you're going to lie, do it well...). Either path they take will help them adapt to life as they get older.

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