Let’s face it, there are some things on TV that children are better off not watching. There are many parents that would like to censor what their kids watch on television, but are left wondering what options they have. There are many electronic devices and parental controls that can help parents control what channels and content their children watch.
First, let’s start with the V-Chip. The V-Chip understands television program ratings and blocks programs based upon the rating level selected. All TV sets that are 13 inches or larger are required to incorporate the V-Chip technology. Parents set rating levels so that certain TV shows need a password to be viewed. For more information on the V-Chip and program ratings visit the FCC V-Chip site.
Several cable and satellite companies offer parental control options. They allow specific channels to be blocked so that they cannot be viewed. For example you can block the MTV channel so that when you are flipping through the channels you will not even get the option to watch. These companies also offer the ability to block shows based on language, violence, nudity, and rating levels. This offers more flexibility than the V-Chip. For example, you could block all TV-MA (Mature Audience Only — may be unsuitable for children under 17) programming and block all television shows that have strong language. Please visit the following sites for more information on parental control technology.
The TV-Guardian is another electronic device to help with parental control. This device automatically detects bad language and mutes TV sound so that you do not hear the offensive words. The technology works by reading the closed caption transcripts and monitors the dialogue against a list of “bad words.” It is not perfect in the fact that it sometimes mutes the sound longer than just the offensive word. It also will occasionally miss an offensive word because the transcript is not synchronized with the sound. With that said, it is still highly accurate and an excellent resource for parents wanting to watch television with their kids without offensive language.
Clearplay is another exciting new technology that offers parental control options for watching DVDs. Clearplay offers the ability to selectively fast forward the movie during violence and nudity scenes. It also will mute the sound during offensive language. This technology is very precise because Clearplay has editors pre-screen each movie and create timestamps for specific scenes during the movie. Depending on what you as a parent select to filter out will determine which part of the movie gets “skipped.” The cool thing about Clearplay is it does not alter the DVD, so you can go rent a rated R movie from the video store, watch a toned down PG version, and return the unaltered DVD back to the store.
There are several options for TV parental control. If you find yourself frustrated with TV and movie content try some of the above options. I myself use them and find them a valuable tool in parenting. It only takes a few minutes to learn how to use some of these parental control devices. It is time well spent.