Argumentative Essay On Tv V Chips

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Parental Controls: The History and Impact of the Television V-Chip

“Mom, why can’t I watch The Walking Dead? All of the other kids are watching it,” 12-year-old Nathan complained loudly. “It’s not appropriate for kids your age,” his mother Mariah replied calmly, grateful that she could block the show through her television’s parental controls. Obscenity on television has been publicly criticized since the 1950’s, and the debate continues today with the abundance of sex, violence, and coarse language on television. One of the major techniques used to appease critics of television obscenity was the introduction of the V-chip, blocking technology installed in new television sets after the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The V-chip
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On one hand, many parents praised the new invention, because it allowed them to control what their children were able to view on television. Even if the parents weren’t in the room when the television was on, they could rest easy knowing that their kids would not be subjected to inappropriate material, because it was all blocked automatically. However, “critics saw…[v-chips and television ratings] as a step towards censorship” (Stephens). Critics of v-chip technology asserted that it violated the First Amendment’s right to freedom of the press, by allowing the government to establish restrictions on television programming. This right protects the ability to create and dispense information to the public without fear of the government controlling or blocking its distribution; some in the television industry felt as though the v-chip was the first stride towards stripping away this right. Critics also asserted that v-chip technology was not effective, because children could learn to circumvent parental controls. Children in the modern age grow up immersed in new technology, and as a result, adapt very quickly to it. Therefore, “new forms of technology increasingly upset established patterns of parental control. Children can operate [technology] better than their parents” (Balkin). Children can sometimes learn to break into and change the television settings chosen by their parents, thereby rendering V-chip technology useless. This fault will most likely force the government to consider new, more efficient ways of controlling obscene material on
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