Skip to main content

Verizon Pitches Parental Controls in Time of Coronavirus

Verizon chief counsel Craig Silliman is advising parents that this might be the time to start using parental controls that are already "everywhere." 

In a blog post, Silliman pointed out that teleworking parents with homebound kids are having to balance that with "moonlighting" as "teachers, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, and sports coaches." 

Given that their kids are using devices to study, connect to friends, stream video and play games--there has been a 75% increase in gaming and a double-digit increase in streaming, he points out--they key in that "temporary new world" is to balance screen time with everything else. 

Silliman said that tools to help parents find that balance are everywhere. "They are on the digital devices used by your children, the router that powers your home internet connection, and the apps that your kids can’t put down. Many companies, including Verizon, also offer powerful suites of parental controls." 

He said those controls are only part of a comprehensive parental parenting plan (or balancing act, as it were), they remain and underutilized safeguard that can "block inappropriate internet content, protect kids’ privacy, automatically manage kids’ screen time, and much more." 

He steered parents to and the Family Online Safety Institute for more info.

"Parental controls are only of value if they work — their utility depends entirely upon an accurate, consistent and transparent content rating system to trigger them," said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, which has pushed for more social distancing between kids and inappropriate online content in the new normal. "Not only have the numerous industry-controlled rating systems failed in these three regards, but there is no single, uniform standard of content ratings across media platforms. Unless and until the content is rated by someone other than an industry representative whose corporation profits by an inaccurate age rating, the content-blocking technologies are a pipe dream."

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.