Volume 92, Issue 73

Friday, February 5, 1999


EDITORIAL

Editorial Board 1998-99

The parents should be chipping in

Editorial Cartoon

The parents should be chipping in

In a society which is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, there is a perception of increased convenience and time saving associated with each new invention.

In many cases it is an accurate perception that people will need to pay less attention to their regular tasks because an electronic device will do it for them. However, as much as some may try, parenting will never be something which can be replaced by the hottest new innovation, nor should it be.

A recent Canadian invention has caught fire down in the United States and has been heralded the newest and most effective way of keeping children from viewing violence on television and, in turn, carrying it out onto the street with them. The v-chip, a computerized chip which is placed into TVs, has become mandatory for new TVs in the U.S. and pending Canadian Radio and Television Committee approval, will find its way into televisions sold in Canada as well.

With this chip a parent can keep their child from watching violent, pornographic or obscene programming. Therefore, idealistically, this material is prevented from entering impressionable young minds. Thus, the electronic babysitter becomes even more effective, right?

Wrong.

An invention like this, although well intentioned and certainly good looking from a political standpoint, can give parents a false sense of security when they plop their kids down in front of the TV set. Even if this plan does in fact work in one household, which there is nothing really saying that it will, children will still have wholesale access to television violence.

There's a very easy solution to the childhood problem of parents preventing the viewing of violence – go over to a friend's house.

If this doesn't happen, children will find some way of getting around this revolutionary invention. As many know, youngsters are frequently more technologically literate than their parents and simply finding the code for the v-chip will enable easy, censor-free viewing of television's latest trash.

A new feature on a television set is not an excuse to abandon a parenting role.

Especially with the latest excuses for quality programming spewing over the airwaves, parents must be more attentive than ever. Sure it's a time of the family with two working parents but it is no excuse for children to be babysat by television. The onus is on parents to prevent their children from watching negatively impressionable TV shows.

Besides, if the television were as good as a descent babysitter it would have a chip which would scroll a message across the screen every half an hour saying "go outside and play."


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Copyright The Gazette 1999