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Senate Votes To Empower Parents As Censors

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-are-what-you-block dept.

Censorship 418

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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418 comments

Positive Changes (5, Insightful)

slifox (605302) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Positive Changes (3, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271753)

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 (5, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271807)

"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.

Re:Positive Changes (5, Insightful)

Zashi (992673) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272219)

But that implies responsibility and self-control.

Sir, you ask FAR too much.

Re:Positive Changes (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272297)

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 (5, Interesting)

pmbasehore (1198857) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Positive Changes (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272213)

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 their house if this is a problem.

Re:Positive Changes (1, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271761)

Must be nice to not have to work and be able to spend 24 hrs a day with your kids, watching their every move. Unfortunately, many of us don't have that much free time. We work, sometimes two jobs to help make ends meet, and have to rely on baby-sitters and family to help out with our parental duties. This is a tool to help us.

You say, "If you don't like whats on TV, DON'T WATCH IT." How's this, If you don't like these censoring tools, DON'T USE THEM!

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.

First, this is not government censoring TV. This is a tool that allows PARENTS to sensor TV. Each household can make the decision, not government. If anything, this allows for MORE objectionable content on TV. Say, if a network wants to show "CSI: Strip Club", or "Dancing with the Whores", they now can. Any parents that object can be told to get bent because they have the power to block such shows.

Re:Positive Changes (3, Interesting)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271811)

Indeed.

Also just put the shows on at times where its expected to have children put properly to bed. For instance here in Copenhagen a local TV station is showing hardcore porno between 0 and 4:30 am; of course this has lead to some share of people shouting think of the children, but they got told to get bend, children are not supposed to be up at that time.

But then again we are pretty liberal with what we accept; only TV censoring I can think of is airing children oriented commercials during children shows (yes you are not allowed to show commercials for toys during programming targeted for children) and any commercials for gambling.

Re:Positive Changes (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272121)

Yeah-- in the US we have the FCC which would put the porno to a stop... but marketing to kids during kids shows and gambling commercials- I'm pretty sure are in the FCC's "suggested use of air time" booklet.

Re:Positive Changes (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271827)

First, this is not government censoring TV. This is a tool that allows PARENTS to sensor TV. Each household can make the decision, not government.

I think the gp was aware of that, and seems to be saying that the proposals are better. I agree. What the government doesn't want my children to see -- or what powerful lobby groups try to pressure the government into stopping my children from seeing -- is highly unlikely to match what I think is appropriate for my kids to see. There is perhaps some content that it would be abusive to allow the children to see (girls & cups...) but beyond that surely it's down to parental responsibility, parents just need the tools to help them excercise that responsibility.

Re:Positive Changes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271905)

Must be nice to not have to work and be able to spend 24 hrs a day with your kids, watching their every move. Unfortunately, many of us don't have that much free time. We work, sometimes two jobs to help make ends meet, and have to rely on baby-sitters and family to help out with our parental duties. This is a tool to help us.

Your kids. Your problem. Your out of pocket expense. Retooling the infrastructure to your benefit isn't my problem.

You say, "If you don't like whats on TV, DON'T WATCH IT." How's this, If you don't like these censoring tools, DON'T USE THEM!

And, don't ask the government to develop them at public expense for your benefit. Seriously, I have no plan on using these tools. I also don't think I should be paying for them.

If you can't keep track of your kids, eat them for food. Nobody asked you to make them.

Re:Positive Changes (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272067)

Must be nice to not have to work and be able to spend 24 hrs a day with your kids, watching their every move. Unfortunately, many of us don't have that much free time.

I wonder how parents coped before the Internet came along?

I wasn't allowed a TV in my room until I reached a certain age. The idea of allowing a child to have unrestricted unsupervised Internet access I find insane - sure, I've nothing against if you want to do that, but don't go crying if the child then sees something you didn't want them to.

This issue has nothing to do with finding the time to supervise kids, just as that wouldn't be an excuse for allowing your child to go to a bar on their own. There are plenty of method to keep children occupied without requiring an Internet connection - in fact, the amount of toys, resources and so on available for children today is I suspect far greater than it was in the past, even if you cut out the Internet.

(Now, I have nothing against this story if it is just about providing tools for parents - I'm just referring to the general claim about parents not having time to supervise their kids on the Internet, as if somehow kids were supposed to be on the Internet in the first place.)

Re:Positive Changes (1, Interesting)

redxxx (1194349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272119)

I'm not really about to get apoplectic because the parents will have more tools to protect their kids from content they find offensive. I don't think most parents are smart enough to actually use the V-chip, despite it's simplicity and a couple awareness campaigns--but that's not exactly relevant.

The wording does seem to imply that this could effect more than just TV, it specifically mentions internet distribution and streaming media. My only real concern is that it may lead to the expansion of the FCC's bailiwick, and could lead to requirements for ratings be required with material distributed online.

Between the panoply of distribution methods and the countless sources of content(particularly with the growth of user created content), I worry that things like this could lead to widespread mandates for ratings internet distribution. While the intentions behind such laws may be pure(stupid, but pure) the results could seriously hamper innovation(particularly for small projects) and could serve to add another arrow to the *IAA's quiver(attack p2p for distributing unrated material).

It is generally worrying to see the FCC's role as content cop to continuing expanding into the internet. Because they tend to act at the behest of america's most panicky and ideological idiots, I don't trust their objectivity or judgment.

This is just meetings looking into the subject, but when they respond that there is little in the way of standardized ratings on internet content, it does not seem unlikely that they would seek to 'remedy' the problem.

Re:Positive Changes (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272333)

This is a ploy to sell the locks and keys to the public so the public will have support for locks and keys. After the public has the locks-and-keys-infrastructure in their homes, all bets are off. First they put the trusted computing support into our computer chips and set top boxes, then they try to get us to install the software support in Vista and purchase the Digital TV set top boxes, only people don't go for it en masse like they hoped. Now they're trying to sell the utility of draconian control over your children for their safety to get more penetration.

It's easy to keep an eye on your children. All you have to do is set appropriate life priorities. If your position is that don't have the time to supervise your children, it's because you made compromises you shouldn't have and turned them into latchkey kids, so don't pretend like you give a shit. The fact that this group includes the vast majority of the Western world doesn't make it any less true.

Re:Positive Changes (4, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272235)

Must be nice to not have to work and be able to spend 24 hrs a day with your kids, watching their every move. Unfortunately, many of us don't have that much free time. We work, sometimes two jobs to help make ends meet, and have to rely on baby-sitters and family to help out with our parental duties. This is a tool to help us.

Sucks to be you. Maybe you should have thought about how difficult and time consuming parenting is before you had kids. But hey, why bother when the rest of us can do it for you, right?

Funny how you're too busy to be a responsible parent, yet you have enough time to whine about how hard it is on Slashdot.

This is a tool that allows PARENTS to sensor TV.

Because "Turn that shit off" just doesn't waste enough tax money.

Re:Positive Changes (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272417)

Sucks to be you. Maybe you should have thought about how difficult and time consuming parenting is before you had kids. But hey, why bother when the rest of us can do it for you, right?

I'm not asking you to do anything except to stay out of my way and stop trying to take tools away from me that make my life better. Not every government dollar spent benefits everyone. Take the Internet for example. Not everyone uses it, but it started as a government funded program. Why aren't you bitching about that?

Funny how you're too busy to be a responsible parent, yet you have enough time to whine about how hard it is on Slashdot.

I'm able to post on slash because I'm at work. I don't post from home because I'm too busy spending quality time with my child.

Because "Turn that shit off" just doesn't waste enough tax money.

Neither does "Don't buy a TV or pay for cable". If this requires funding, that is where the money will come from.

If you don't like it, may I suggest you move to a country that has no children. I think I heard of a place once, but their population went to zero after a single generation.

As for tax-payer money and personal responsibility, there are many examples I could use. I don't like speed limits. I'm perfectly capable of safely driving at a speed that exceeds the limits that government has set. Yet, because some people can't handle it, I have to drive at posted speeds! Also, by law, my car has to have child seat restraints placed in them. I drove for years before I had children. Why did I have to pay for such restraints when I didn't have kids? For that matter, no one ever rides in my back seats. Why must I have to pay for seatbelts to be installed back there? I never watch CBS. Why should I have to pay for the government to set aside a broadcast range for CBS to use? Why can't I use that broadcast range myself? I don't care about global warming or smog. Why should I have to spend money on fuel blends that reduce pollution? I think the homeless should get a job. Why does my tax payer money have to go towards homeless shelters?

There are many more examples of our tax dollars going to things that not everyone benefits from. Deal with it. Don't like it? Move.

Have you heard about the bird? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271781)

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Re:Positive Changes (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271931)

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:Positive Changes (2, Interesting)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272141)

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.

Re:Positive Changes (4, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#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!!!

Re:Positive Changes (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272059)

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=

Re:Positive Changes (1)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272227)

You forgot the 4 hours of TV watching a day he mentioned. 24--9(sleep)-6(skool)-4(TV)=5 hours

Personally I think 5 hours a day is more than enough to beat today's video games.

Re:Positive Changes (1)

jassa (1092003) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272241)

They're also not taking weekends and school holidays into account. Kids don't have school at all then (and with the latter, they don't even have homework).

Re:Positive Changes (5, Insightful)

K.B.Zod (642226) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Positive Changes (2, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272247)

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 to black with the sound of a gunshot.
- A beautiful young woman and a studly young man are kissing passionately in an evening office setting. She pushes off his jacket, and starts unbuttoning his shirt while they discuss some plot point. The camera view moves to his right quarter from behind, so you can see her face as she sinks to her knees and starts unbuckling his belt.

BOTH of these scenes have come up in ads for TV programs that came on WHILE WE WERE WATCHING CHILDRENS' PROGRAMMING. Normal TV, not cable.

Perhaps I'm both prudish and a pantywaist, but I don't believe EITHER of those scenes are appropriate for pre-teen children. No, neither scene actually showed what was being categorically implied/displayed, but to suggest therefore that it was "ok" is ludicrous.

I entirely agree with you about parents bearing the complete responsibility for vetting programming their children shall watch - but how is a parent supposed to intercept or review this? There's no practical way I can think of. Your kid could be watching some entirely educational or child-appropriate show, but five or six times an hour it's intercepted with this?

Personally, I've pretty much given up on broadcast TV. But I can see how parents would be incensed at their inability to control viewed content ... even when they are conscientiously working to make sure it's age-appropriate.

Re:Positive Changes (1, Interesting)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272331)

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

I reject your assertion that only bad parents let their children watch TV.

Have you ever tried to monitor your kids 24/7? Do you even have kids? Do you even like kids?

Or do you come from the class of people that analogize having kids with crime and parenting is the sentence? Because as far as I can tell that's a particularly odious "libertarian" attitude. ("Libertarian" being shorthand for "I want that money I see deducted in taxes on my payslip.")

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...

Amen brother.

NOT activities that make 'stupid spoiled whore' seem like a desirable occupation

You might want to rethink your decision to call children "whores".

Rather, they (parents -- NOT GOVERNMENT) should be taking the whitelist approach, which, given an infinite content set, is far more realistic to successfully maintain.

Agree with your key assertion there, however, you realize that government is fundamentally an expression of collective will and exists to more efficiently do things that could be done individually? And if there was no government people would spontaneously organize to create one?

And that certain parties have an interest in weakening the collective power of people in order to divide and conquer which is manifest by a long-term trend to de-legitimize government workers. Beginning with Regan's firing of the air traffic controllers and continuing up to this day resulting in the inability of authorities to find a fucking tent for people to live in when their city goes underwater.

I believe certain parties have concluded it is too hard to actually shrink government so that best strategy is to make it incompetent.

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).

Question: do people often threaten to stick a fork in your eye? Because you can't go around calling people greedy just because parenting is hard and you want that money you see deducted in taxes on your payslip.

I guess most parents sacrifice plenty.

a kid needs a good parent more than the latest clothing, a big TV, or yearly vacations.

Well, yeah. A vacation every five years might be nice. Or a car that will actaully get you where you are going. I don't have either. Am I sacrificing enough by your old-cootish standards, or should I cash in my pension and work till I'm 80 too?

investing their OWN TIME into raising their kids.

You use caps too much.

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)...

I'd rather be vigilant that 800 billion a year isn't being transfered from the poor to the super-rich because the collective power of the people has been neutered by decades of the boobification of government so that wealth redistribution fades in importance to Janet Jackson's nipple.

Re:Positive Changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25272391)

Since you quite clearly don't have kids why not STFU?

doesn't sound too bad (4, Interesting)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

If parents demand it... (5, Insightful)

TechnoBunny (991156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271637)

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

Re:If parents demand it... (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271739)

...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

Re:If parents demand it... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271929)

Exactly. And just about every TV sold in America and every set-top box I've ever seen includes some sort of 'parental control' feature. Hell, even my el-cleapo $30 Phillips DVD player has a 'parental control' feature. (How good these are and how easily they can be bypassed is a different issue entirely.)

So, yeah, you probably actually are helping to foot the cost, especially if you have bought consumer electronics in the last few years, but in the end, economies of scale make it so that you don't really feel it.

Return of the clipper chip (2, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271659)

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:Return of the clipper chip (2, Funny)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271925)

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?

Gentlemen it will be a sad day for all of us when we have to go back to tribeswomens titties in National Geographic magazine....

Re:Return of the clipper chip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25272017)

I think you mean the V-chip [wikipedia.org] , the Clipper chip [wikipedia.org] is a failed encryption technology.

Re:Return of the clipper chip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25272233)

I was wondering why people were discussing this as an issue that will only effect children. I'd imagine the RIAA and MPAA have backed this bill big time.

While this mentions TV, obviously it's about a much large issue, as kids' TV isn't all that violent or sexy.

It seems obvious that any blocking can be gotten around, but this would help make it illegal for people to watch or listen to non-approved items. Now, how does one get items approved? Does this limit bands who release their own stuff without DRM? Sure. Will small bands be able to pay to have their music or video approved? Sure. Will the delay and expense stop many small bands from being able to penetrate a market owned by big corporations? I'm sure it's just an unintended consequence, after all, this is a crisis that needs to be solved by the government.

Why are these types of government intrusions into our lives usually pushed by people who say they want smaller government?

When I was an adolescent, there were "skin" magazines. No mechanism was put in place to protect us. Wisely, the government said they couldn't ban their production nor sale. They knew that would have chilling effects elsewhere, and were wise enough to see that. Or maybe it was simply that nobody offered to pay them to put censorship in place, "for the good of the people."

Re:Return of the clipper chip (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272245)

Apparently you need to RTFA:

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.

The laws is about providing parents with more tools to do their job.

Now check your tinfoil hat, you seem to have a leak.

They're parents (1)

voraciousreader (1372069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271669)

They have that power already.

What a silly headline...

Re:They're parents (3, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271833)

Can parents detain their kids for 42 days without trial?
Force them to hand over encryption keys?
Waterboarding?

Obviously these parental powers need to be enshrined in law.

Re:They're parents (5, Funny)

gomiam (587421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271921)

Can parents detain their kids for 42 days without trial?

Isn't that called grounding? And, considering some kids' reaction to showers, one would think they were being waterboarded ;-)

Re:They're parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271927)

Wow, it sure didn't take you long with the non-sequitur troll.

Re:They're parents (2, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272031)

If parents mention "waterboarding" to children the latter will probably roll their eyes and say something about it being called "wakeboarding". And they need more pocket money.

Re:They're parents (1)

zoefff (61970) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272157)

ok, a curious mind wants to know. This time I pushed the 'Reply to this' button, but thus this mean that I will give up all of my rights if I click on the 'Parent' button??

(and if so, who's my parent....) :-)

Re:They're parents (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272175)

Parents can detain their kids for ~17 years without trial.

They probably also have the legal powers to compel their children to hand over encryption keys (but that doesn't really mean that they can force them to do anything).

I don't think waterboarding children is legal though.

Re:They're parents (1)

Theolojin (102108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272477)

Waterboarding? It's an effective parenting tool---except in my house, my ten-year-old son calls it "showering." Pure torture.

Re:They're parents (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271913)

I was thinking the exact same thing when I read this. Especially this snippet: ""...the law does focus on empowering parents to take control of new media technologies to deal with undesired content..."

Ok...they're making a law where parents can control what their kids watch?

Since when is this new?? Since when did we need a law on this?

Ok, we didn't have the internet out when I grew up, but, we did have TV, and my parents were quite effective WAY back then before laws like this...in censoring what I could watch. First, they were home when I was home in the evenings (imagine this, we actually had a meal called dinner together, and it was home cooked, and yes, my Mom worked too), and they knew what was on the TV. At a young age, I had a bedtime...I remember having to go to bed at 8pm then 9pm when younger.

Even past that, they would say what I could and could not watch. I didn't get my own TV in my room till I was a teenager, and deemed old enough to start making more of my own decisions, etc.

Wow...you know, the more I talk about things like this...it IS truly amazing that people of my generation actually made it to adulthood, what with all the lack of laws like this, electronic parental monitoring, and lack of cell phones. Geez, I won't even get into the fact that we were actually tossed outside to play when the weather was nice.

Parents are already in control. (2, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271671)

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:Parents are already in control. (2, Informative)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271725)

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 whitelist particular programs while keeping the programs that are inappropriate for kids but watched by the adults of the household away from the little ones.

I don't buy it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25272005)

...both parents needing to work...

No they don't. They just need to live within their means.

Do they really need that new luxury car? Or even a new car? The folks that buy/lease a new car every 1 or 2 years just dont' have a clue. There are plenty of reliable 3 year old cars.

Do they really need that 3,000 sq. ft. house - even though they have only 2 kids?

Do they really need to have the best of everything?

I've seen folks who don't make that much insist on having the most expensive cable/broadband plan and the big screen TV. They go out shopping to buy stuff that they'll use once or twice.

Raising kids wouldn't by so expensive if parents would stop insisting on buying all the expensive toys, name brand clothes, and all of the "educational" games and toys.

Re:Parents are already in control. (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271727)

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.

Re:Parents are already in control. (4, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Parents are already in control. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271803)

I'm sure the government would approve of your parenting methods. If parents teach their kids to accept unreasonably strict control, it will be easier for the state to enforce such control when those kids become adults.

I think you're setting your kids up to be walked all over when they're older

Re:Parents are already in control. (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271883)

And I think you're an idiot for considering what I do "unreasonably strict," but then that's why you post as an AC. In fact, my kids are taught to stand up for themselves even if it means they will get in trouble with the strict rules they have at school, but then you wouldn't know that and it's great just make assumptions about something you know nothing about it.

Re:Parents are already in control. (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271817)

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.

Re:Parents are already in control. (1)

tcc3 (958644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271941)

Bender: And so I ask you this one question: Have you ever tried simply turning off the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them?

Would that mean... (2, Funny)

leomekenkamp (566309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271673)

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?

Re:Would that mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271735)

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?

I really doubt it. While parental control mechanisms are available on more recent US televisions I do not believe that the majority of parents use these mechanisms at all. I do not believe that most parents know that the parental control mechanism exist, let alone know how to set them up correctly and activate them.

I think this is due to a lack of awareness and in some cases due to a lack of interest.

kids always mimic their adult role models... (-1, Offtopic)

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Four hours is ok if it's the right channels (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271717)

History channel
Discovery channel
Science channel
Cooking channel
Golf Channel
... not necessarily in that order.

Re:Four hours is ok if it's the right channels (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271849)

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"

Re:Four hours is ok if it's the right channels (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271917)

a lot of these channels are crap now. history channel keeps showing programs about UFOs...

You left out.. (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272151)

National Geographic
Animal Planet
History International
Military Channel
BBC America

and of course

The Weather Channel

Re:Four hours is ok if it's the right channels (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272261)

Why Golf Channel? Bedtime stories not putting your kids to sleep quickly enough?

Parents already enabled ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271729)

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

Just don't have a TV. Easy. (2, Interesting)

igb (28052) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271829)

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 which is sat in the corner of one room, which is turned on to watch specified programmes and turned off when they finish. The kids know my parents don't have a television, that I'd be perfectly capable of simply disposing of the one we have, and therefore that they shouldn't push their luck. Televisions in bedrooms, kitchens and other rooms in the house? How common.

ian

Re:Just don't have a TV. Easy. (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272007)

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 since the beginning of the rerun) was removed or rewritten, would you still don't care (we are of course considering for the sake of the argument that your are aware of such censorship)?

Re:Just don't have a TV. Easy. (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272367)

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."

Re:Just don't have a TV. Easy. (1)

igb (28052) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272395)

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 get from there to enforced censorship to protect the image of the UK government I don't know.

ian

THis is kind of what parents do (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271737)

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.

Censorship at VirginMedia (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271759)

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?

Re:Censorship at VirginMedia (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271963)

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...

Won't Someone Think Of The Children? (1)

Serious Lemur (1236978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271763)

I mean, of course they shouldn't be watching that much TV in the first place. If nothing else, spend it on the Internet instead, you'll generally get a higher cut of crap. But that isn't the point. The point is that giving misguided parents yet more ways to restrict their kids' freedom and responsibility in the interest of "protection" is a perfect recipe for a generation to come that will be even more ludicrously incompetent than mine, one that rebels against authority with even more force, and one that, to be blunt, has far more fun than I'm comfortable with them having. Censorship and restriction during childhood causes far more problems than it solves (the main problem it solves is keeping parents from having to actually teach their kids to be responsible). We can't force parents to be responsible, but that doesn't mean we can't be a responsible society. Let kids take care of themselves a bit. Parents are going to be overprotective whether the technology and laws support it or not; let's give children a run for their goddamn money.

Goatheart (starring Receiver Gibson) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271769)

They can take our TV, but they'll never censor our Goatse!

Well thank God for that.... (1)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271771)

I was WAITING for government approval to keep my kids from seeing things they shouldn't. I mean we should NEVER take personal responsibility for protecting our children now should we?

Fucking idiots. Someone PLEASE drop a nuke on Washington.

How about blocking cialis and viagra commercials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271773)

during football game broadcasts? How many parents are cringing watching the game with kids and these embarrassing ads talking about erections lasting more than four hours come along?

4 hour ads?! (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272047)

More than four hours? I knew US television had a lot of adverts, but that just strikes me as over the top!

Re:How about blocking cialis and viagra commercial (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272375)

How about the ability to block ANY advertisement? If they came out with a chip that could detect and BLOCK any commercial the way a V-Chip can block shows rated TV-MA, I would fully support it.

I don't consumer products based on broadcast advertising anyway. I consume based on word-of-mouth, past experiences with brands, and products having the specs that I desire...

does congress watch TV? (3, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271823)

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?

I'm 47 and my parents are in their 80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25271887)

OMG. My parents are going to be allowed to decide what I watch? All they watch is Lawrence Welch reruns and the weather channel.
I live in a completely different city with a family of my own. Do I then get to censor what MY kids watch out of the subset of what my parents are letting me watch?
I'm going to let my son watch the weather channel only. Lawrence Welch reruns contain too much of that nasty "dancing"

What technologies are available to any adult? (3, Interesting)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 5 years ago | (#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!

A new feature (2, Funny)

secondsun (195377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271901)

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 (2, Insightful)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271915)

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.

Re:As a parent (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272419)

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? Unless yo do not believe you will have good reception in your location?

Re:As a parent (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272473)

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)

Because we all know... (5, Informative)

BlatantRipoff (933953) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Worried About My Kid (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271997)

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, Howard Stern, etc. Sure, he can't see anything due to it being Pay-Per-View, but how long until he figures out how to press the "Order Now" buttons before Mommy or Daddy can take the remote from him? ;-)

Objectionable (2, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272069)

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.

Liability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25272115)

Empowering the parents is good. However, knowing our congress, I could see them making the parents criminally liable if the kids get into trouble and blame it on TV or if they end up watching porn.

Yes, we do need to restrict what our kids watch. My middle son watches Mythbusters, History channel, etc., plus some SiFi -- GOOD!. OTH, my daughter is caught up in Milly and folks on Disney -- I CAN'T STAND HANNA MONTANA!

I really need to censor my wife and keep her from watching "reality" TV and such....

Pefect Solution... (3, Insightful)

FishAdmin (1288708) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Best tool is education (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272293)

Yes, nothing defeats the tricks and tactics of advertisers and television like giving your kids the critical mind needed to see through their deception. I remember as a kid my parents showing me how to recognize such tricks: "See how they pulled the camera far back? That's so they don't show you that the actor was replaced by a stuntman."

Kids are smart, but inexperienced. It's up to us to fill them in on what they see, and become keen to the tricks of the media. Watch television with your kids, show them all the strings and camera tricks, and reward them for calling out shenanigans where they see them. Trust me, you'll be proud of how astute they will become!

Censorship? Really? (2, Insightful)

secretcurse (1266724) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272325)

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...

er...isn't this technology called a `power button' (1)

Theolojin (102108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272425)

Seriously. My television has a power button. When I press it, the television turns on; when I press it a second time it turns off. My children are not allowed to watch a television show/cartoon that I have not previewed. If they do, there are negative consequences that my children would rather avoid. Oh, it takes time. If my children want to watch a new show they heard about at school/saw a commercial for/whatever, they must wait until it my wife or I have seen an episode or two and we approve. We censor our television. Just to prove what an evil, horrible, worst-ever parent I am, my children only watch television on the weekends after their homework is finished.

Senators, thank you. I feel so empowered.

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