Cable’s continued investment in technology helps parents determine
what programs enter the home.
AUSTIN – At a time of year when children are home from school for the holidays, the Texas cable industry continues to offer the advanced technology it has developed to ensure that parents are equipped to decide what television and Internet content they want to allow their children to view. In addition, the cable industry has committed to donate $250 million of airtime for public service announcements educating consumers about parental control and TV ratings.
“The cable industry is committed to providing tools that empower parents to choose what their children can watch on television and access on the Internet,” said Todd Baxter, vice president and general counsel of TCA.
The cable industry and Cable in the Classroom, a Washington, D.C., based educational foundation, have invested millions of dollars to develop easy-to-use technologies and parental control initiatives, including media literacy education and advanced TV channel and Web site blocking tools.
“We want parents and children to be ‘media smart’ as today’s technology landscape continues to evolve at breakneck speed,” said Rachel Macias, a director for Cable in the Classroom.
A TV ratings system, called TV Parental Guidelines, gives parents more information about the particular content and age-appropriateness of TV programs. The ratings can be used in conjunction with the V-Chip, a device available in most TV sets that gives parents the ability to block out programs they do not want their children to see. Cable companies also provide parental controls through the digital set-top boxes that enable parents to easily block entire channels or specific programs based on time of day, channel and rating.
“We understand parents’ concerns over what children might see on television and the Internet and we want to help parents educate their kids to make good choices regarding appropriate content for their age”, said Skip Ogle, director of community and government relations for Suddenlink Communications in Tyler.
To give parents added security for their children when accessing the Internet, Time Warner Cable launched parental control features for Road Runner High Speed Online customers. All controls are fully customizable to fit each family’s needs. Texas Road Runner customers can download the Parental Control software by visiting www.rr.com.
The software is free to all Road Runner customers and, among other things, gives parents the ability to analyze and screen all Web sites, view detailed reports of all Web sites visited or blocked and limit Internet usage by setting daily time limits.
TCA (www.txcable.com) is the primary trade organization for cable operators in Texas.