The V-Chip and TV Parental Guidelines
During the last decade, media ratings have been used as a means of addressing concerns about "objectionable" or potentially harmful media content. Politicians, entertainment industry leaders, and parents alike have turned to media ratings as a "middle ground" to such concerns somewhere between direct government censorship and not addressing the issue at all. While movie ratings have been in place for several decades, there was a trend in adoption of a rating system for media such as television. The advent of content blocking categories technologies, such as the V-chip, which requires some form of attendant rating system to be useful, has furthered spurred this trend. There is substantial evidence that shows that the rating system together with the V-chip is not going to be beneficial to the audience it hopes to protects, the children.
The V-chip, violence chip is an electronic chip which works in conjunction with your television, VCR, cable box or stand alone retrofit device was invented by Tim Collings, an instructor in electronics and computer engineering at Simon Fraser University. (Monagan,!997, p.A9)
Parents can choose to utilize the V-chip feature by selecting a rating level that they see fit for their children. V-chip reads the transmitted rating code for all programming and will automatically deny access to programming that exceeds their preset rating limitations. It does by intercepting a rating code transmitted by broadcasters analogous to the Motion Picture Industry Association of America's that has been used for almost thirty years. The rating for each show would be electronically encoded in the black area of the broadcast signal. Then it interprets the code and transmits a signal to your television giving instructions to deny access to all programming exceeding your preset rating limitations. When the television receives this code, channels displaying inappropriate programming, will display an "unauthorized to receive message" on the screen. Time Magazine reported the chip itself was not cheap when it was first developed since it cost the Shaw Cablesystems 300,000 dollars in September 1994. (Dickson 1999 p80) Basically the V-chip that will on the surface that will protects kids from violence or other inappropriate shows by blocking it out when the chip reads the code. Yet this expensive chip will not have the capabilities to define the difference between the violence in "Schindler's List" and "Friday the Thirteen".
The rating system called the "TV Parental Guidelines." Works in conjunction with the V-Chip, represented by little wad of letter and numbers that looks like an eye chart and periodically pops up in the corner of you screen.
Since 1997, shows have been rated in seven categories, ranging from TV-Y, suitable for all children, to TV-Ma, which stands for "mature audience."...