10 Years Of V-Chip: Utter Failure

from the that-about-sums-it-up dept

Matt Cutts reminds us via Twitter that we're coming up on the 10th anniversary of TVs being required to have the v-chip, and what an utter failure this program has been, despite hundreds of millions spent on it (including tons of taxpayer money for "education"). Cutts points to a 1996 NY Times opinion piece accurately predicting what a waste the V-Chip would be, and it seems to be quite right. The fight over the V-Chip, if you don't remember, was in some ways similar to some of the arguments about violent video games today. It involved lots of politicians grandstanding about needing to "protect the children" from the dangerous effects of seeing violence on TV (despite a serious lack of real evidence of any impact). Then it required TV makers to install this chip, followed up by $550 million "education" campaign. And the result? A dismal failure and a waste of money. A 2007 FCC analysis (warning: pdf) of the program isn't impressed:
Based on the studies and surveys conducted to date, we believe that the evidence clearly points to one conclusion: the V-chip is of limited effectiveness in protecting children from violent television content. In order for V-chip technology to block a specific category of television programming, such as violent content, it must be activated. However, many parents do not even know if the television sets in their households incorporate this technology and, of those who do, many do not use it.
But do politicians learn? Of course not. They still grandstand and still talk about the need to protect the children, and push for laws to get their names in the headlines.

But because there are no metrics and no official process for review to make sure a law actually does what it claims it's supposed to do (and, of course, no backup plans), these laws get passed, hundreds of millions of dollars get wasted... and we're left a decade later with a total waste and failure.

At what point can we at least get new laws to require a review period to see if they actually do what they're set out to do, and then reject the ones that fail?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Psshhh

    "At what point can we at least get new laws to require a review period to see if they actually do what they're set out to do, and then reject the ones that fail?"

    Around the same time you ratify amendments to the constitution requiring that all political offices only be granted one short, single term. That way you can have NEW stupid politicians who are willing to review decisions made by the OLD stupid politicians. Without that new ratification, what reason would a politician have to allow people to independently review laws they've supported when their effectiveness might have been minimal?

     

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    Lincoln (profile), Apr 21st, 2009 @ 10:43am

    Save the Children?

    I love the review idea but I see a problem. Does taking laws off the books "save the children"?

    FWIW, I do not plan to use the V-chip, etc., as a substitute for raising my child.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 21st, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Side Benefits

    Mike, you say "require a review period to see if they actually do what they're set out to do, and then reject the ones that fail"

    There is a side benefit to this: it would keel lawmakers busy.

    Basically, legislators legislate. They pass new laws. That's how their job is defined. As such, the number of laws on the books is ever-increasing. If we required them to spend some of their time reviewing old laws, we would get rid of some bad old ones, and we would reduce the time they have to pass new ones (written up by their lobby group buddies), thus we would improve the average quality of our laws.

     

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    lulz, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Re: Side Benefits

    If we required them to spend some of their time reviewing old laws, we would get rid of some bad old ones, and we would reduce the time they have to pass new ones

    Or set a time limit on legislation in which the law is effective; so that if it isn't important enough to be reviewed, then it just expires.

     

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    Evil Mike, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 10:59am

    Re: Side Benefits

    Yes, agreed, very much so!

    I've always romanticized about getting a few things in place, such as:

    1) All laws passed have a clearly stated purpose.
    2) All laws passed are limited to 500 words or less.
    3) All laws passed are to be written in language easily understood by the "average, literate" citizen.
    4) All laws passed are to be reviewed/renewed on a yearly doubling basis.

    Example for 4--a law is passed, 1 year later it's reviewed for efficacy. If it is accomplishing its intended purpose, it's renewed. 2 years later, reviewed and renewed again. 4 years later, reviewed and renewed again... and so on.

     

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    Dave Barnes, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:10am

    I knew about it

    and our TVs have it
    and we never even considered using it with our daughter.

    A censorship chip is NOT a substitute for responsible parenting.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:31am

    Tormenting my wife

    I enjoy setting mine up to harass my wife. Same goes for the automatic timers

     

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    Mang, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:43am

    V chip

    I agree with Dave. Find it useless. Responsible parenting is by far the most important thing.

     

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    Ken, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:45am

    If Microsoft can sell Windows w/o Internet Explorer, maybe the TV manufacturers can sell TVs w/o the V-chip. Let the market decide which version people want.

     

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    J. Mitchell, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:45am

    Not a substitute, but...

    A v-chip is no substitute for responsible parenting. Neither are online parental controls. Neither are cabinet locks. Neither are seat belts. Neither are bicycle helmets. But as a responsible parent I'm darn sure going to use every tool I have in my toolbox to help protect my kids, and that includes the v-chip.

    I for one am glad that our TV has one.

     

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    PRMan, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:46am

    Guess we failed to get the memo...

    I use the settings on my DirecTV DVR all the time and I know dozens of other parents that do as well. The only downside is when shows are rated too low (such as Firefly being TV-PG with no other labels despite having excessive violent and sexually suggestive content, on subsequent showings, it is now appropriately TV-14).

    Please answer me this one question: Do you have kids, Mike?

    If not, you'll have to forgive me for not believing your expertise on this one. But my experience shows otherwise.

    "A censorship chip is NOT a substitute for responsible parenting."

    No, but it's a useful tool to decide when my kids are ready for certain types of content that we might watch together and talk about. I would think that puts it in the category of "helps parents be responsible".

     

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    Overcast, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Well - the ratings system is sorely lacking for one. It is; to a degree, a matter of opinion as well.

    I don't block content based on rating - why? Because, well; I'm more opposed to violence than sex for one. A lot of PG, PG-13 content is ripe full of violence, but you put a half-nude person in a movie suddenly, it's rated R.

    Too much 'unlocking' of content that could be considered not as bad as stuff that's not blocked.

    Plus, I'm with Dave Barnes there - responsible parenting is the key really. I know I'll get flamed, but I'd rather have my kids watching a movie with a couple of light sex scenes in it, than some of the juvenile, tactless "humor" on some of the cartoon network shows.

    In other words; it's one thing to see a girl naked it's another to make childish jokes about a woman's anatomy. One just shows nature the other shows woman as an object - if that makes sense.

     

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    Bender, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:51am

    "When will parents learn? Turn the TV off sit down and beat your kids"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Re: Tormenting my wife

    how's that marriage going? anyone want to take an over/under on how many years they have left?

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Not a substitute, but...

    Totally agree here. We also use our v-chip and are glad to have it in our arsenal.

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Re:

    One of the nice things about the v-chip ratings is that their more granular than the typical PG, R, etc. movie ratings. Blocks can be turned on based on individual levels of sexual content, language, and/or violence. The v-chip is a big win and implemented well in my opinion.

    Yes, yes, it is not a _substitute_ for parenting. Duh. But it's an excellent tool in the parenting toolbox.

     

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    Jimmy the Geek (profile), Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Who says it was a failure?

    Who says that it does what they say it does. It may very well be a huge success and we just don't know its purpose.

     

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    witmarquzotix, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Real problem with v-chip

    Your child has grown up with it, so they know how to circumvent it. All devices have a backdoor to restore it to factory in case you "forget" the password.



    "Make something stupid proof and we will find a greater idiot"

     

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    Matt, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    let's clarify:

    a V-chip is not an excuse for responsible parenting when it comes to controlling what tv shows are being watched.

    Hell, it doesn't even work reliably for its intended purpose since many shows aren't rated.

     

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    The infamous Joe, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    Yes, we wouldn't want our children knowing about the real world before it's time for them to be thrust into it.

    Much better to isolate them from it.

    /sarcasm

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    Yes, awesome, you're so right. Tonight I'll make sure to spend some quality time with my 2-year-old at the local strip joint, maybe get him a good vodka drunk going, and then check out the toys at the adult shop next door. Maybe I can even find some miscreant to rob us and pistol whip Daddy. It's high time he experience the real world!

    /sarcasm

     

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    IanK, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Nobody knows if something will be a failure until later.

    You only pointed out an article that thought it would fail. There were probably lots of articles written by people who thought it would succeed.

    Hindsight is great, but until we get that benefit, I don't mind if companies, the government, or any other organisation tries to give parents an option for controlling the program that kids watch on TV. Personally, I wouldn't use such a rating system, or take advantage of such technology. However, that's not the point. The government was trying to give parents this option.

    Like you said, most shows don't have a rating. However, like I pointed out, they probably didn't know this would be the case 10 years ago, prior to any laws being passed. The laws were probably passed with good intentions.



    And for the record, I'd never use the V-chip, even with kids in the house. I'm just not blindly against everything "the man" does like this website is.

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    We parents here who use our v-chip all seem to agree that it's not a _substitute_. But in reality most shows these days are rated and it's certainly a helpful tool. When little Johnny is flipping channels to find Bob The Builder and Mom or Dad is in the bathroom, it's nice to know that he's likely not going to accidentally land on Kill Bill.

    Or is responsible parenting in this case totally taking away his ability to change channels? I think many of the naysayers here would say that's way too restrictive. Alternatively, perhaps I should educate little 3-year-old Johnny all about extreme violence just in case?

    Come on. I'm assuming those who seem so against use of the v-chip wouldn't let the kiddies into the liquor cabinet or the gun cabinet or your stash of hard-core porno. Right?

     

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    Tgeigs, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    "Come on. I'm assuming those who seem so against use of the v-chip wouldn't let the kiddies into the liquor cabinet or the gun cabinet or your stash of hard-core porno. Right?"

    I love that example, mostly because a majority of young kids end up having access to that stuff anyway, hence framing the futility of the V-chip.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Tormenting my wife

    Going pretty good. She realized the kids could figure out how to get things working for her.

     

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    DJ, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Save the Children?

    So let me get this straight: Do you mean to say that you're a parent and you feel that you, yourself, should raise your child?!
    What a load of crap!
    Don't you know that there are governments and school systems that do that for you?
    How dare you be responsible! You should be ashamed!


    (PS it really is good to know that there are still good parents around)

     

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  27.  
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    DJ, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    "No, but it's a useful tool to decide when my kids are ready for certain types of content...."

    I think that too many people are reading that statement as follows:
    "No, but I let technology baby-sit my kids for me...."

    Those who read it that way should return to elementary grammar school and actually pay attention this time. The key words in PRMan's statement are "useful tool".
    Analogy: Does the hammer drive the nail without you?

    (in case you didn't catch the rhetoric there, the answer is NO....)

     

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    Greg, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    V!

    I want this v-chip out of me! It has stunted my vcabulary!

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    Okay, so if I have this straight, because, according to you, "a majority of young kids end up having access to that stuff anyway" we should just give up and do away with locks on our liquor cabinets, gun cabinets, hard-core porno stashes, and objectionable TV content.

    Got it. Brilliant. What a crappy dad I've been!

     

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  30.  
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    Bradley Stewart, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:20pm

    The V Chip A good solution to an Idiotic Political Problem

    Here is another example of to what lengths our Political Class will go to satisfy their complaining constuants to get re-elected. I have watched plenty of hearings on this technology. I don't believe anyone on these commities remember what it was like to be a kid. To be quite honest Senator Joe Lieberman who is always professing to be one of the greatest defenders of children and is one of the most vocal on this matter probably showers and sleeps in a suit.

     

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    Divorce Attorney ESQ, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Tormenting my wife

    She just filed for divorce today.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    I think it can useful...IF parents use it. And that's the point: the majority don't. And yet the government made it a law to have TVs require it and wasted millions of dollars promoting it, when there was enough evidence in the beginning that it would fail.

    If the parents who would actually use it want it, let them purchase them and pay the higher price for it. For those of us who don't need it, don't force it on us and spend our tax money on useless causes.

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    I certainly would be all for that, and would purchase one myself. But the other half of it -- requiring the broadcasters to apply the ratings to shows -- would still need to be enforced.

     

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    lulz, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    Experiencing the 'real world' != Knowing about it.
    Watching a TV-14 documentary on war != handing your child a gun and a uniform.

    My favorite movie when I was 6 was Terminator 2, but do I go on murderous rampages like Arnold? No! It wasn't detrimental to me at all. I thank my parents for letting me experience life and make my own decisions because they recognized I had a good head on my shoulders and could handle seeing violence.

    Censoring what your child sees (I'm not talking about hardcore porn here, why would a prepubescent child go to a strip club? bad sarcastic example, Steve) just shows your children that you don't trust them enough to handle things.
    If you show your kids a certain level of trust, like how to spend money and go online without you over their shoulder and educate them about online safety and not spend frivolously, then they will have a maturity advantage over kids of a similar age but strict upbringing.
    I back my assertions up not with a study but with how I've turned out, and how I see other people turn out.

     

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    lulz, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    You have an arsenal of tools to use against your children.. what the hell is wrong with you? I thought parents were supposed to be informative and nurturing, not militaristic.

     

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    Tgeigs, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    Not at all. Strive to shelter them all you want. My point is simply that you can either:

    A. Put a gun on a liquor cabinet and watch the child break in to it
    B. Educate the kid in an open dialogue such that, if he/she is reasonable, they will understand that the costs of drinking underage outweigh the benefit, therby negating the need for a lock

    Your way is okay, in terms of prevention. I just like my way better.

     

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    lulz, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    You are equating guns and liquor with ideas; that is wrong.
    Why are you so afraid of your children having ideas?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    I don't know... they don't require music, movies or video games to have ratings, but those industries set those systems up on their own. I'm sure there is a way to get TV shows to have ratings without getting the government directly involved.

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    I'm assuming you're just trying to be funny, but just in case...

    http://dictionary.reference.com/dic?q=arsenal&search=search
    4. a collection or supply of anything; store

     

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  40.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    yeah, that was supposed to be "lock on a liquor cabinet". I was trying to decide which cabinet to lock and instead made about the most dangerous liquor cabinet imaginable. I think I hear DCFS calling...

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    Well, there are studies that show exposure to extreme violence on TV desensitizes children and changes them. And you say you're "not talking about hardcore porn here". So is softcore okay? How about extreme, realistic violence? How about for a 1-year-old? 2? 4?

    For some reason there's a group of people who fly into a tizzy at any thought of censoring things from children. In my experience these are usually young adults who don't have their own kids yet. (Not saying that's the case here, just generalizing.) When parents say, "Well, I appreciate having tools like this to help me do my parenting," that results in a harsh, negative response.

    Why is that? Shouldn't the response be more like, "Wow, I'm glad someone is actually taking the time to try to think through things and take a hands on approach to parenting (even if I think maybe they're being overly restrictive) instead of letting their little monsters run wild with no parenting whatsoever." Why is it so bad for a parent to want to restrict their children from things they think are harmful? I don't see parents saying "My child will never be allowed to see anything over a G rating until they leave home!" It's always "I'm going to keep things I don't think are appropriate away from my child until I think they're ready for it."

    You're right, I don't trust my children to handle everything the world might throw at them. That's why they're called "children" -- they're not mature, they need oversight, and that's part of the job a parent takes on. The fact is, kids do NOT always make good decisions. Sometimes that's okay and they learn from their mistakes. Other times the bad decision has a much worse consequence that it's the parent's job to help the child avoid. As the kid gets older they are exposed to more and more until they turn into a functional adult. There's no reason it has to be a "here's the world kid, deal with it all at once" kind of thing.

    Explain to me why it's so bad for a parent to shield a child from things that he thinks the child is not ready for? You already indicate hardcore porn is inappropriate. So why is it bad for a parent to think violence at a Terminator 2 level might be inappropriate for a 6-year-old? Shouldn't you be worrying more about the parents who let the kids do anything they want because "they're just being cute" while they throw rocks at your car? This is not such a black and white thing. There's a wide area of grey where I think it's okay to have different parenting styles.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    This is a classic either-or fallacy. Why wouldn't a parent use a v-chip if available AND talk to their kids about responsible tv viewing. One more tool in the tool box. I can think of at least a few times when a child has changed the channel, missed a button and wouldve ended up watching comtent on a channel with age inappropriate content, except the v-chip blanks the screen. And I'm standing right there. Why subject my youngster to mayhem when he's trying to watch Barney? This holier-than-thou "I'm a responsible parent because I don't have to use the v-chip or lock up my porn or liquor" is an odd argument to me.

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    That's great, you leave your liquor cabinet unlocked. I'd lay good money that at some point your kid will at some point get curious no matter how much you've talked to them. It's not like there aren't NUMEROUS example of this out there.

    But we've strayed a bit. you say use of the v-chip is futile. I say I like the fact that if I leave the room for a bit I like knowing that my 6-year-old won't land on watching someone get their head blown off because I don't think that's something he needs to be exposed to at this point. Guess we'll just have to disagree on this one.

     

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    Tgeigs, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    It's not a holier than thou argument, I just don't like the possiblities of precendents set by the Vchip. For instance, does Vchip technology allow ANY outside manipulation by someone other than the parents? Can it receive signals from outside the home? Who decides the ratings of TV shows? I think there are simpler ways to go about doing this that doesn't allow for those types of questions, and one of those is to convince my kids not to participate in the questionable activities for THEIR OWN GOOD as best I can.

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    Great argument. This is along the lines of "So are you saying you've stopped beating your wife?"

    Yes, I would prefer my child had absolutely no brain activity. That would pretty much solve all the problems. He could watch anything he wanted!

     

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    Tgeigs, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    Maybe I'm being to literal, or maybe I'm revealing my own urban background here, but if you leave your six year old alone in ANY room with your gun cabinet, regardless of whether they're locked up or not, I'd probably have a problem with that.

    And I'm not NEARLY as against the use of locks on those types of things as I am against the Vchip. Is see way too much opportunity for abuse of the technology by people outside the home.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Psshhh

    WELL SAID!
    We should NEVER allow anyone to make a career of public office. Because doing so, you end up with people more concerned with keeping their job than doing what's right which is what public service is supposed to be about.

    And now it is so bad that voting current politicians out has no effect, because the person you vote in is just as bad as the one that was voted out. Face it, we're F*&#)D all around.

     

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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    The difference is that broadcast TV is given a license to use our public airwaves, so we, the public, have a right to require certain things of them.

    Cable TV, music, video games -- these are not licensed by the public, and I agree the government should stay out of it. Those are good examples of the public voting with their dollars to get ratings systems that, while still rather crappy (in my opinion), at least exist for those who want to pay attention.

     

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  49.  
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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    Now we're getting somewhere!

    So right now I say the v-chip is working pretty well. Most shows are actually rated and the ratings have nice and discreet levels in different categories that I can use to do blocking. That's great and I'm using it as an aid to parenting. (Not as a substitute for parenting.)

    So what if I thought it was starting to be abused in some way? I'd stop using it. Easy enough. Maybe the argument is that outside forces will use it in such a way that I can't turn it off. Then I get my war on and fire up my elected representatives and encourage everyone else to do the same.

    I don't lose sleep over v-chip abuse.

    (And for the record, I have neither a gun cabinet or a liquor cabinet in my house. But I do have a bit of liquor. That I'm pretty sure the kids have never touched while wasn't around. While I am around they are quite good at fetching me a beer.)

     

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  50.  
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    Dave, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    V-Chip is not a failure

    It works as it was designed, as a tool for parents to regulate the content allowed on their TV.

    fcc - 1998:
    "The V-chip will not relieve parents of the responsibility of determining what their children watch on TV. It will help them fulfill that responsibility. Those who urge parents to simply turn off the shows they do not want their children to see should welcome the V-chip. The V-chip is essentially a remote control device with a longer range. It allows parents to "turn off" programs that they believe are harmful to their children while they are at work, at a PTA meeting, or at a Saturday night movie. It will not be a substitute for parents; it will help parents do their jobs."

    It's not the fault of the V-Chip inventors that people are either too dumb to use it, or find other tools that do the job better.

    The whole intent was not to FORCE content filtering on every kid in the country. It was to give parents the CHOICE to filter content.

    And I would argue that the cable, satellite and DVR boxes that filter content are only able to do so because the V-Chip laid the groundwork for broadcasters to identify the type of content found in a TV show.
    (v-chip history)

    For the record, I do have little kids and we don't use the v-chip or any kind of content filtering. At this point they're not even allowed to use the remote. When they're a little older and can handle the TV by themselves I'll be enforcing some controls on the DVR and satellite boxes.(probably not the tv's v-chip)

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    I'm pretty much good w/everything in this comment (especially having your kids fetch you beer, you must be Irish like me), except for this part:

    "So what if I thought it was starting to be abused in some way? I'd stop using it. Easy enough"

    Fine, except that if the Vchip can accept outside signals, whose to say you CAN stop using it? And if you think that that type of abuse by government or media corps. (who are mostly the same thing anyway) is just paranoia, I would suggest looking into some of the controls Nazi Germany had on media distribution. A Vchip that could be manipulated by the government to control the flow of media/information to German citizens would have been a wet dream to Hitler. I guess I'm just more wary of my "elected" officials than others.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    The reason people fly into a tizzy as you say is because this argument always starts of meaningful and degrades into a debate about what kids should and shouldn't be exposed to.

    The problem with that debate is it has nothing to do with the original argument. Indeed if you as a parent want to shield your child from various media and experiences until they reach a level of maturity to handle that exposure, then by all means use whatever methods and tools you feel appropriate. Because in this day and age, we as parents must fight for our children's right to be children. Too many forces are at work in the world trying to make our children grow up WAY too fast. But again, that is a parenting debate and this has nothing to do with that.

    The original argument is about how our all-seeing, all-knowing all-omnipotent jacka$$ government officials consistently take it upon themselves to use our children and our fears about their safety and well-being to force-feed a load of ridiculous, inefficient, ineffective, overpriced and downright sinister projects and laws and taxes and fees down our throats. Then years later these same programs show no effectiveness and NEVER get repealed. This is what the problem is. This argument is not about parenting or what little Johnny or Jane is watching on TV. This argument is about our runaway, spend happy government; happily chipping away at our freedoms, replacing them with socialist, gestapo policies that only serve to enrich their corporate lobbyist buddies, corral us into a certain socialized behavior, indoctrinate the masses into believing that violence on the internet will destroy our children only so they can further control it or use that fear to show us why the leftist/marxist belief that government can better raise your children and further institute arcane laws that seek to destroy the family, break down individualism, tax us to death so that we rely more and more on government programs. This is why the V-Chip and any program that they come up with is put in place. Politicians don't give a d**n about your children or their access to violent TV. They care about 2 things - Power and controlling your life.

    If you like the V-Chip, and it is working in your parenting model, then by all means use it. I certainly use the one in our kid's DVR from DirectTV. It is actually quite good at blocking the porn, harsh movies that my 6 and 9 year old are not ready for. On my TV, I wouldn't use it for any reason though. But the point is, we as parents and we as citizens and consumers should decide if we want such technology. If we want it, and we are willing to pay for it, you can best believe the manufacturers are going to make it available. But when the Government is allow to force-feed it to us, then all you do is ensure that the cost of the TV or computer or media device is going to go up, your taxes will go up, and more than likely (as is the case with the V-Chip) very few people are going to even use it and even less are going to even know its there. So why force us to use something that is not needed. I didn't have a V-Chip when I was growing up. I had a mother and a father and they had biological V-Chips that functioned quite well. They are usually referred to as brains with the common sense module turned on so that they understood that their 6 yr old son who just got his own TV knew better than to have the TV on when homework was supposed to be done, or that at 8PM the TV goes off or their were only certain channels that I was allowed to watch and if I were caught watching something else, I would lose the TV.

    And it's funny... 30 years later, I have children of my own and even without a V-Chip that same thinking still works perfectly.

    Less Government. More Parenting. That's the answer.

     

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  53.  
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    The infamous Joe, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    And you say you're "not talking about hardcore porn here". So is softcore okay? How about extreme, realistic violence? How about for a 1-year-old? 2? 4?

    If your 2 year old is mentally scarred by the sight of a boob, you have bigger problems, as the little tyke was once fed by one of them. That being said, the way I see it, if your child is curious enough to want to watch hardcore porn, (which probably happens much later than 4) instead of a full-scale crackdown, perhaps it would be a good time to teach your child about how porn is bad. (I assume you feel porn is bad-- if you don't, stop being a hypocrite.)

    Why is it so bad for a parent to want to restrict their children from things they think are harmful?

    Because isolation does not really educate-- and you're supposed to be preparing your child for life. (Which *doesn't* start at 18, contrary to popular belief)

    You're right, I don't trust my children to handle everything the world might throw at them. That's why they're called "children" -- they're not mature, they need oversight, and that's part of the job a parent takes on. The fact is, kids do NOT always make good decisions.

    The fact is, *humans of any age* do NOT always make good decisions.

    If you taught your child the reason you'd like them to avoid whatever it is you feel they should avoid, then chances are good they'll come to you for advice when they need it, and they'll be better prepared when they do it anyway. (It happens) If you treat the naked body as an evil, dirty thing-- when your child becomes curious about sex (it's gonna happen) they will not turn to you for advice-- as they've learned their whole life that your advice is to avoid it at all costs. So they go to someone who may or may not have their best interests in mind for advice.

    There's no reason it has to be a "here's the world kid, deal with it all at once" kind of thing.

    Yes, exactly. So instead of censoring them on your timetable, perhaps you should educate them on *their* timetable. I child isn't going to ask about sex until their curious about sex. However-- if you isolate the child as long as possible, the child *will* be in a "here's the world kid, deal with it all at once" situation.

     

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  54.  
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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    Unless there's some kind of secret programming built into the v-chip, it just doesn't work that way. You use a control panel on the TV to set up what you want blocked based on a code in the TV signal. The TV signal itself can't change what is blocked.

    Like I said, I'm not losing sleep over it.

    Besides, worst case I just toss out my TV. It's not like it's a critical piece of my life. (We can use a different set of blog entry comments to talk about potential government Nazi-fication of all other media sources if you like. Actually, I'll pass. My tinfoil hat needs a few more layers.)

     

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  55.  
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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    Wow, you've kind of cherry picked from my comments there, eh? (I love the boob comment. Much to my personal delight, my 2-year-old gets plenty of opportunity to see boobs every day.)

    Well, that's okay, what I wrote is still up there intact for those who care to read. I'll just respond to this one item:

    "perhaps you should educate them on *their* timetable"

    Okay! That's exactly why I like the v-chip! I can keep from educating them on things they aren't ready for by making sure it's blocked. I'm glad we can agree on this!

     

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  56.  
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    Steve Crooks, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    I like this comment.

    I particularly like "Because in this day and age, we as parents must fight for our children's right to be children. Too many forces are at work in the world trying to make our children grow up WAY too fast."

    Wow, do I ever agree with that!

     

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  57.  
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    zcat, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    I don't quite follow the logic here; the rating signal is transmitted along with the broadcast signal, right? If 'they' have that level of access and don't want anyone watching, what's stopping them from just not transmitting any signal at all?

     

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  58.  
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    BTR1701, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Side Benefits

    > 1) All laws passed have a clearly stated purpose.
    > 2) All laws passed are limited to 500 words or less.
    > 3) All laws passed are to be written in language
    > easily understood by the "average, literate" citizen.
    > 4) All laws passed are to be reviewed/renewed
    > on a yearly doubling basis.

    I'd add a (5) to that list:

    No more "naming" laws. No "Child Internet Protection Act", no "USAPatriot Act", etc. Every law is given a number (SB 1067, HB 1254, etc.) and nothing else. This will remove the pressure for lawmakers to vote for things they wouldn't otherwise support because they don't want their opponents to be able to accuse them of voting against something with "protect the children" or "patriot" in the title.

     

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  59.  
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    BTR1701, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a substitute, but...

    > Explain to me why it's so bad for a parent
    > to shield a child from things that he thinks
    > the child is not ready for?

    It's not bad so long as it's the parent that's doing it. Problem is, parents want their kids shielded but more and more of them feel it's too much of a burden to do the shielding themselves, so they start demanding that the burden be shifted (through force of law) to the government or businesses. And that inevitably results in millions of dollars wasted on useless programs (like this V-chip) and/or the infringement of the rights of people without children and who have no affinity for the little buggers whatsoever.

    Raise your kid however you want. Just don't expect society to do it for you.

     

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  60.  
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    mobiGeek, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re: V-Chip is not a failure -- but the PROGRAM is

    But why is it MANDATORY for electronics makers to install a V-chip?

    If parents want one, make it an option or make it a market-differentiator for your product.

    By making it mandatory, the government is (a) interfering with private manufacturers' business, (b) taxing a product with a feature people aren't using, and (c) meddling in the private affairs of citizens.

    The V-Chip program is a failure in that it cost ridiculous amounts to implement and is not being adopted by those it was forced upon. An insignificant number of people are using the feature. Those that are likely would have purchased a V-Chip type device separately.

     

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  61.  
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    JC, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Side Benefits

    I like it, but would like to add one addition. All new laws require a 3/5ths vote to pass. Revoking a law only requires a 2/5ths vote. Passing a law through the review process also requires a 3/5ths vote.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 2:11am

    Re: Guess we failed to get the memo...

    The only downside is when shows are rated too low

    Just rate everything high and that won't happen.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 2:14am

    Re: Re: V-Chip is not a failure -- but the PROGRAM is

    But why is it MANDATORY for electronics makers to install a V-chip?

    Because it's for the CHILDREN!

     

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  64.  
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    Lauren Glenn, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    VChip hasn't changed anything

    The one thing about the V-Chip is that parent's don't know how to work it. I love my Mom dearly, but she has trouble disabling the V-chip probably because she doesn't like it.

    I turned it on because the grandchildren come over. When something that's TV-MA comes on, the blocked message comes on and she calls me up. After a while, I turned it off. The main reason is that it's annoying.... who can blame her?

    I've had it come on during some mis-labeled TV commercials and it annoys me too. What excited me about the VChip was that I thought that we would finally not have to wait until 10pm to have some shows that aren't sanitized for children.

    Turns out, nothing really changed and STILL parents who don't like violent or marginally offensive shows are protesting agatinst them. When they're asked why they don't activate the V-chip, they circumvent the answer and still protest. The only thing they want is to have the shows off the air.... period. If parents can't stop their kids from watching what they don't want them to watch, then they shouldn't have had the kids. You wanted the kids and you can't sanitize the world to make them happy. Otherwise they won't be able to deal with the world when they grow up and see that it's not sanitized for them.

     

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  65.  
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    J.C., May 4th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    Media effects

    "It involved lots of politicians grandstanding about needing to 'protect the children' from the dangerous effects of seeing violence on TV (despite a serious lack of real evidence of any impact)."

    'Despite a serious lack of real evidence of any impact'???????? Are you kidding me? Maybe you should take a look back to the 1960's when Bandura did the Bobo doll experiment? Does Social Learning ring a bell to anyone? This is one of the most widely accepted concepts of learned aggression and provides striking evidence in the field of media effects. Maybe you should read the numerous studies done on media effects and how violence and other explicit material on TV in fact DOES have serious consequences to those who view it. Your opinion is completely discredited by that 1 statement alone.

     

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