Ratings top V-chips as screens

Families are using TV ratings rather than V-Chip technology to block explicit TV content from their kids.

Research firm the Kaiser Family Foundation is reporting that 40% of parents own V-Chip-enabled TV sets - several years ago hailed as the breakthrough way to effectively block out violence and sex from TV shows - but just 17% of families are actually using it to do so. And 53% of parents who own a V-Chip TV don't know that their set is equipped with the technology.

However, more than half of all parents consulted in the survey use TV ratings to decide which shows their kids can watch. Parents do still worry about violence and sex on TV -Kaiser says 63% are "a great deal" concerned about sexual content and 59% are "a great deal" concerned about violent images.

The V-Chip went on the market in 1999 and has been a requirement for all new TV sets since January 2000.
- Susanne Ault