THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES SURVEY RESULTS THAT SHOW PARENTS SUPPORT, USE NEW TV-RATINGS
Also Calls for V-Chip to Give Parents Informed, Enforceable Choices About Children's TV Viewing
Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced the findings of the Kaiser Family Foundations Survey on TV Ratings which show parents clearly support and use the new TV-ratings, and he repeated his call for the V-chip to help parents monitor their children's television viewing.
"Today's findings show that after only a year, over half of parents surveyed are finding the current TV-ratings helpful," Vice President Gore said. "That's why we are renewing our efforts to give parents the V-chip -- a more powerful tool to help them make informed, enforceable choices about their children's television viewing."
According to the survey:
Parents are increasingly concerned about TV content: In just the last 18 months, the percentage of parents who are concerned "a great deal" that their children see too much sex and violence on TV jumped by half. Parents are using the new TV-ratings: After just the first season of the new ratings, over half of all parents with young children say they use the new ratings to help guide their children's viewing. Of those who have used the ratings, more than 90 percent of parents called them "very useful" or "somewhat useful." The ratings have begun to make a difference: Almost half of parents surveyed say they have stopped at least one child from watching a particular show because of its rating. Over a third of 10-to-17-year-olds report that a parent has stopped them from watching a show because of its rating. Parents need more information: Many parents could use more information about how the system works -- what shows are rated, who does the rating, and what the rating symbols mean. A fifth of all parents say they haven't heard of the TV-ratings; a quarter say they have heard of them but hardly ever use them. Parents would use the V-chip: 65 percent of parents would use the V-chip -- a piece of technology that will be in televisions to enable parents to block inappropriate material -- if they had one. In addition, the Vice President called for three more steps
to pave the way for the V-chip and improve efforts to educate parents about the rating system, including:
Allowing parents to immediately buy V-chip set-top boxes and begin protecting their kids from undesirable programming -- once broadcasters begin transmitting the needed digital ratings signal. The Vice President encouraged TV broadcasters to begin airing that signal that allows the V-chip to identify and block certain shows. Calling on the networks already using the TV-ratings to ensure the efficacy of their own efforts by encouraging all networks to join them. Encouraging more newspapers to help parents by printing these ratings in their TV guides. The Vice President also recommended that broadcasters help parents get more information on TV-ratings through Public Service Announcements, viewer guides, web sites, and other means. Three years ago, President Clinton used the Family Policy
Conference in Nashville to call for V-chip legislation -- to give parents new tools to help them screen out television programs that are not fit for their kids. Under strong leadership from the White House, the following year saw Congress enact V-chip legislation; broadcasters agree to air three hours of high-quality children's programs a week; and TV industry leaders announce a voluntary age-based rating system.
Due to these efforts, by July 1999, half of all new televisions will be equipped with the V-chip and by January 2000, all new televisions will have it.