24 November 2010

Hey PTC, thanks for stating the obvious

The Associated Press reports:

NEW YORK -- Mainstream online video destinations don't do enough to keep explicit content from kids, the Parents Television Council said in a report released Wednesday.

The advocacy group, which monitors decency issues, evaluated the child appropriateness of four online video portals: Hulu, Comcast's Fancast, AOL's Slashcontrol and AT&T's U-verse. None received a better grade than a D.

The study looked at home pages and 602 videos over a three-week period. The council found that standards are more lenient online than on broadcast television, that content ratings were vague and that content that may be unsuitable for children under 14 could be watched by young children.

The president of the Parents Television Council, Tim Winter, said the report proved that the four websites "are failing to protect kids on the Web."

"The content ratings and parental control devices (media corporations) tout as a solution to indecent material on television are not being applied to similarly indecent material on their websites," Winter said.

Well, one wonders...are those sites aimed towards children in the first place?

AOL disputed some of the report's findings. A spokeswoman for the company said that parental controls can be put in place for Slashcontrol and that it's a site with a primarily adult audience.

"Slashcontrol is not a kids and teens site and is not promoted to kids and teens," AOL said in a statement.

The report is called Untangling the Web of Internet Video. It's 25 pages long, and if you're really curious how much sleaze is in those TV shows that those evil, evil media conglomerates are splashing prominently online in the grand conspiracy to corrupt American children, check out the charts from page 19.

I browsed through the "Animation and Cartoons" section of Hulu and discover that programmes like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving are included alongside more adult-oriented content like Archer and Japanese anime series Naruto Shippuden. While the AP quoted AOL stating that Slashcontrol is not targeted towards children, it is possible to access Kids' WB programming through Slashcontrol; Kids WB has its own site KidsWB.com through which users can watch full episodes of WB-distributed kids shows too.

It's been common knowledge throughout the past decade at least that the Internet ain't a safe place for children to navigate unattended. PTC just enforces this message through super-detailed studies with such exposing details. I mean wow, I didn't know that a teenager could see 15 instances of partial nudity and 25 instances of erotic dancing/strip clubs watching raunchy shows on Slashcontrol (page 19)! PTC must've been hunting real hard to find 'em! Why PTC won't specify which shows contained all that sex and drugs and violence and cussing, I start questioning.

Parents, shouldn't it be very clear that a site that's displaying Glee and Jimmy Kimmel Live on its homepage (Hulu in this case, I'm looking at it right now) is not family-friendly territory?

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