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?