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FCC Mulling More Control For Electronic Media 176

Posted by Soulskill
from the yeah-that-sounds-fantastic dept.
A recent Notice of Inquiry from the FCC is looking for opinions on how the "evolving electronic media landscape" affects kids, and whether the FCC itself should have more regulatory control over such media. The full NOI (PDF) is available online. "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski included a statement with the NOI in which he noted that 'twenty years ago, parents worried about one or two TV sets in the house,' while today, media choices are far more widespread for children, including videogames, which 'have become a prevalent entertainment source in millions of homes and a daily reality for millions of kids.'"
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FCC Mulling More Control For Electronic Media

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  • by thehostiles (1659283) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:09AM (#29922313)
    it's always "protect the children" I spent all of my childhood past the age of 8 online and did I get abducted? did I become a horrible person? no did I become much more resourceful and patient in understanding computers? yes did I learn? yes enough ideas without statistics I say
    • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:12AM (#29922335) Homepage
      I agree 100%... The more "responsibility" the government takes, the less the parents will take. And IMHO that's the fundamental problem that has yet to be addressed... Fewer and fewer parents actually parenting and taking responsibility for their own children.
      • by Shotgun (30919) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:00PM (#29924863)

        I agree 100%... The more "responsibility" the government takes, the less the parents can take. And IMHO that's the fundamental problem that has yet to be addressed... Fewer and fewer parents actually parenting and taking responsibility for their own children.

        There. Fixed that for ya.

        But, no, seriously. if the governments says your child has to do a,b and c, and has to have x,y, and z (even though it means husband and wife must take second jobs in order to provide them), you've limited what the parents CAN do.

        • Excellent point! Thanks for pointing that out!

          Anyone with mod points care to mod the parent up?
    • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:51AM (#29922559) Homepage Journal
      "it's always "protect the children" I spent all of my childhood past the age of 8 online and did I get abducted? did I become a horrible person? no did I become much more resourceful and patient in understanding computers? yes did I learn? yes enough ideas without statistics I say"

      You think YOU had a dangerous childhood??

      Hell, I grew up with no cell phones, my parents both worked, yet I came home to a house alone (when very young I walked 2 blocks to and from school), I played in the neighborhood with neighborhood kids, roamed all over (again without tracking and cell phones), I ran around in the woods with BB and pellet guns, we 'stole' wood from local houses being built to build makeshift skateboard ramps (and sometimes forts in the woods). Goodness, when we went to a mall, my parents would set up a meeting time and place, and we'd go our separate ways for 2-3 hours at a time, yes, I wondered around unsupervised?!?!? Yep, I dove off diving boards in swimming pools! I got dropped off to hang at the arcades for hours at a time. I had a pretty wide area to cover at any given time by walking, bicycling, skateboarding....while never wearing a helment.

      Yep, it is amazing myself and my friends made it past puberty!! By today's scared standards of treating children, we should have all been killed by and accident, if not abducted, raped and killed first...and of course, our parents would have been arrested for child neglect.

      Amazing we all made it to even see the dawn of the internet and video games with good graphics...

      • by D Ninja (825055)

        ...your childhood sounds pretty fun.

      • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:23AM (#29922843) Journal

        We both must be about the same age - I'm 45. It just kills me that we have to have "play dates" for my kids to play with other kids, and my kids don't venture into the woods the way I liked so much as a kid. We agree that today's environment of fear is just that - pointless fear, driven by the media.

        Anyway, some things are different today. My introduction to porn was sneaking peaks at my Dad's Playboy magazines, which he would read while Mom cleaned and cooked and held down a job. Dad's back then had it all - no poopy diapers, wives who did all the housework and had paying jobs, and who felt guilty if you didn't get enough sex...

        Today, kids don't get that sneak-peek into porn when they finally become curious about sex. And, let's face it... Playboy had a sense of class and beauty missing from redtube.com. Instead, eight-year girls type "hot guy" into Google, and get hard-core video. Their intro into the idea of sex is likely going to be a foot-long dong butt-f*cking a teenager.

        I took advice I got here on slashdot, and use the free opendns.com DNS filter. I also use addblock plus in firefox on all our computers. OpenDNS gives me some control over the content filiter - I use the low settings, only blocking phishing and hard-core porn. These tools are waaaaay better than anything the FCC might dream up. Instead of more government censorship, how about a program for training/educating parents, so we can all learn how to take advantage of the excellent, and free tools that already exist out there? Something as simple as requiring ISPs to send information packets about Internet filtering might do the trick. Perhaps requiring the installers who do house visits to train how to filter, not just how to use the DVR. All parents know how to record Pokemon. How many know how to protect their kids from googling "hot guys"?

        • Instead, eight-year girls type "hot guy" into Google, and get hard-core video. Their intro into the idea of sex is likely going to be a foot-long dong butt-f*cking a teenager.

          What should come up, pictures of asexual or gay guys that look like 15-year-old girls? That's not healthy either, and your girls are going to be in for a surprise, if they don't grow up as lesbians. As a father you should educate them about lube, not erect a screen of fantasy (with gaping holes) in front of the world.

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Not to justify the "think of the children" antics that politicians so love these days, but the "I survived just fine!" tirade always strikes me as amusing.

        Regardless of the risks, the fact that you're fine is no shock because there will always been somebody to tell that story. The kids that don't make it aren't around to tell their story.

        To put it into statistical perspective, lets exaggerate a bit (ok, a lot :)) and say that all those activities you listed has a 40% chance of resulting in death or dismemb

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Wonko the Sane (25252) *

          Regardless of the risks, the fact that you're fine is no shock because there will always been somebody to tell that story. The kids that don't make it aren't around to tell their story.

          A better way to use anecdote would be to ask, "How many of the people I went to grade school with were abducted by strangers" vs. "How many of the people I went to school with were hurt in car accidents?"

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          They also ignore the reality of saturation marketing, not just targeted at children generally but specifically adjusted to each childs profile to more effectively control the decisions and to more accurately distort the child's future psychological growth to more profitably align with the highest bidders marketing dollars.

          Consider the real underlying nature of that profession. Adults trained as psychologists who use their education and skills to manipulate vulnerable children so that they can be more pro

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Regardless of the risks, the fact that you're fine is no shock because there will always been somebody to tell that story. The kids that don't make it aren't around to tell their story.

          To put it into statistical perspective, lets exaggerate a bit (ok, a lot :)) and say that all those activities you listed has a 40% chance of resulting in death or dismemberment. Is that an acceptable statistic? Absolutely not, yet you'd still have 60% of people sarcastically proclaiming "Hey I did all that stuff as a kid.

          • by MBGMorden (803437)

            But really, those things I listed I did as a kid, were NOT done alone...I had friends, lots of friends who were there doing that stuff with me. Most all kids my age were doing shit like that...it was known back then at "being a kid".

            Maybe I made a mistake by using the exaggerated example. In reality the differences are much smaller - MOST kids doing dangerous things will be fine.

            Take for example safety seats and seat belts. When I was a kid we didn't use those child safety seats. All of us just sat in the vehicle normally for as far back as I can remember - not even wearing seatbelts 99% of the time. Pretty much every other kid I knew did the same. And you know what? None of the small children that I knew died from it back then.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        Hell, I grew up with no cell phones, [...] while never wearing a helment.

        Same here to all the above.

        I contend that the world today is no less safe for kids, but that every single bad thing that may happen is broadcast nationally in lurid detail. My father-in-law is convinced that there's a pedo behind every tree and that I'm stupid for not being more worried about it (yes: those were his words). Does anyone know where I could find stats on things like abductions by strangers that would show wish view is more accurate?

      • by brkello (642429)
        Maybe your parents didn't love you.
    • by Shivetya (243324) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:06AM (#29922669) Homepage Journal

      is a tried and true practice.

      As such, they try and pick a category which is nearly indefensible. Children work very well.

      The trick is not allowing yourself to be intimidated by this type of tactics. Look at the debates over health care, stimulus, and such. Who do they put into the argument who doesn't have bearing on what you were addressing? Children, the poor, the elderly, or the "insert favored group here". All in an attempt to change the discussion just enough to devalue your stand.

    • by INT_QRK (1043164) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:45AM (#29923027)
      The Nanny state. The "useful idiots" who voted this crowd in are getting what they deserve.
    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:52AM (#29923101)

      If the government said, "Y'know, we'd like to exert more control over the blogosphere, over all electronic media, really: restrict what is said, know the identities of who is saying it, get a firm handle on who is on the mailing lists of Markos Moulitsas and Rush Limbaugh... whaddya say, citizens, can we do that?" the answer would be a resounding, "Over Our Dead Body."

      The "kids" thing is the spoonful of sugar that makes the tyranny go down...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      it's always "protect the children" I spent all of my childhood past the age of 8 online and did I get abducted? did I become a horrible person?

      Well, you're here, aren't you? ;)

    • it's always "protect the children" I spent all of my childhood past the age of 8 online and did I get abducted? did I become a horrible person? no did I become much more resourceful and patient in understanding computers? yes did I learn? yes enough ideas without statistics I say

      Yes, but consider that if you hadn't you'd have had time for learning how to use the Shift key, and how to punctuate.

  • Physical activity. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K (682162) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:10AM (#29922323) Homepage

    The worst problem with video games and things like that is the lower level of physical activity among the young.

    Earlier there was the option to stay in and be bored or go out and face the elements. This day you go out on the net and there is no need for a garden, football or playing in the mud.

    • Oh stop reinventing the past.

      Before video games, there was a wide range of active and sedate activities to choose from.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Culture20 (968837)

        Before video games, there was a wide range of active and sedate activities to choose from.

        But the sedate ones couldn't trick your brain into thinking you're being active (pumping adrenaline, etc).

        • I dunno, those D&D kids could get pretty into it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The same has been said about TV.
      The same has been said about books.
      etc.

      Older generations always criticise change brought about by younger generations.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      "Earlier there was the option to stay in and be bored or go out and face the elements. This day you go out on the net and there is no need for a garden, football or playing in the mud."

      Hmm...did they outlaw "kill the man with the ball" for today's kids, due to it causing self-esteem issues, or is the liability insurance too much these days in our litigious society?

      • by xaxa (988988)

        Hmm...did they outlaw "kill the man with the ball" for today's kids

        No, but kids spend less time playing outside nowadays as they have more options inside.

        I think I spent far too much time inside when I was young, and I'm less healthy as a result (I'm underweight), but that was mostly because of my parents not letting me go anywhere and nothing to do with the government.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      More kids are killed by football and other physical activities than surfing on the net or videogaming.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        It's either that or getting a wheelchair before the age of 50...

        Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The worst problem with video games and things like that is the lower level of physical activity among the young.

      How is that different than TV?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)

      The worst problem with video games and things like that is the lower level of physical activity among the young.

      How much of that is due to video games like Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Sports, and how much of that is due to parents keeping their kids indoors due to media-charged fear of child molesters?

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@@@hotmail...com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:16AM (#29922351) Homepage

    Fuck you very much the FCC; fuck you very much for fining me. Five thousand bucks a fuck so I'm really out of luck: thats more than Heidi Fliess was charging me. So fuck you very much the FCC, for proving that free speech just isn't free. Clear Channel's a dear channel so Howard Stern must go. Attorney General Ashcroft doesn't like strong words and so. He's charging twice as much as all the drugs for Rush Limbo, so fuck you all so very much. [youtube.com]

  • Opinions? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@noSpAm.gmail.com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:27AM (#29922411) Homepage Journal

    Ok, I've been looking but I don't see anywhere on the FCC website to actually give them feedback.

  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:29AM (#29922417)
    While the FCC thoroughly investigated Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, they allowed Clear Channel to buy up all the radio stations without even blinking. When Sirius and XM wanted to merge, they took years to decide whether strong competition against terrestrial radio should be allowed (Clear Channel and the NAB lobbied against the merger hoping both Sirius and XM would fail). The FCC is useless and should not be given more power.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TraumaFox (1667643)

      The FCC thoroughly investigated Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction because when it happened, the skies darkened, thunderous roars of a hundred thousand demons echoed across the countryside, a rain of blood flooded the land, and the most unspeakable horrors imaginable swept the United States into the most ridiculous debacle of overreaction in recorded history. What was the FCC supposed to do, just ignore the millions of Americans crying foul about their psychologically damaged children? No, we -demanded- t

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "The FCC thoroughly investigated Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction because when it happened, the skies darkened, thunderous roars of a hundred thousand demons echoed across the countryside, a rain of blood flooded the land, and the most unspeakable horrors imaginable swept the United States into the most ridiculous debacle of overreaction in recorded history."

        Yeah, that was one ugly saggy tit that's for sure!!!

        Man, for some reason I'd expected Janet to have kept her 'rack' in much better condition!!

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:59AM (#29922619) Journal

        I bet when the FCC's done, "net neutrality" will have evolved into something unrecognizable, more akin to censorship of our personal blogs and emails (and probably bittorrent too) rather than true net neutrality.

        Mark my words. You'll come back here a year from now and say, "Wow you were right." I think we need to regulate monopolies like Comcast, but based upon what I've heard coming from the FCC Chair, he has something else in mind - control of the web. So basically we're trading one evil (comcast) for another (government).

        • by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:29AM (#29922903)

          > So basically we're trading one evil (comcast) for another (government).

          The big difference is, for the most part Comcast's remedies if you subvert them are largely civil in nature -- denying you future service, charging you penalty fees, suing you, or the like. The government can have you thrown in prison.

          Of course, some companies and court jurisdictions have been hard at work finding creative ways to criminalize breaches of corporate policy (particularly through abuse of "theft of electricity" rationales), but for the most part there's still a line between things that are criminal vs merely civil. Comcast's mostly on the 'civil' side, but the government is almost exclusively on the 'criminal' side.

          • >>>(particularly through abuse of "theft of electricity" rationales),

            That reminds me, now that winter has arrived, I need to get a couple of those one of those "phone line lights" in case the electricity goes off.

          • by Quothz (683368)

            The big difference is, for the most part Comcast's remedies if you subvert them are largely civil in nature -- denying you future service, charging you penalty fees, suing you, or the like. The government can have you thrown in prison.

            The FCC can't imprison you. Only Congress (at the Federal level) can pass laws with prison time. FCC rules are administrative, which is more akin to civil than criminal law. At most, the FCC may investigate certain crimes, but those crimes were defined by Congress, and a law enforcement body would have to make the arrest.

            That's not to say I think they should be given authority; the last thing we need on the 'net is a gang of holier-than-thou thugs armed with the power to fine and a giant banhammer. These

  • Imagine... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by natehoy (1608657) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:35AM (#29922451) Journal

    Read the request for comments, and replace "electronic media" with "community playgrounds". You'll find that most of the comments still apply - they give children educational opportunities but come with a small risk of children being exposed to something inappropriate and run a very small risk of children being targeted by those who would do them harm.

    Personally, I have a 7-year-old daughter, and the TV is relegated to the basement where it has no influence over our lives. Despite the fact that I am an acknowledged geek, my daughter is not on the Internet and won't be for a while yet. This has nothing to do with the dangers from strangers, but the negative influence electronic media have on the developing mind, and is based on a request from her school to minimize what they call "screen time".

    Having said all that, this is a conscious choice I make for my daughter, because I feel it is in her best interests. I personally feel this is a conscious choice that every American family should make, and I'm a rather vocal proponent of "kill your television" (at least until the kids reach their teens and the major brain development is completed). I am NOT, repeat NOT in favor of giving the US Government the power to dictate this to every family. This should be a decision that every family makes on their own.

    As to "protecting the children from inappropriate content", what "inappropriate content" are we protecting them from, exactly? As far as I'm concerned, the most damaging thing you can do to a young mind is fill them with violent conflict, because it takes a lot of time and emotion to process that conflict and understand it, and that's time better spent by the brain developing free play skills and engaging in creative activities. Are we afeared that a couple of titties or a wanker might permanently scar the them for life? That's nothing compared to the impact that commonly-accepted kids programs are already having. So if the FCC is looking to regulate this, they've already approved what is probably the LEAST appropriate content possible. Bus has left the station, folks, and the FCC missed it.

    Make your own decisions for your own family. Don't allow the government to do it for you. This one's gotta go down. The government has no place dictating this.

    Oh, and for you parents out there, I urge you to please consider "killing your television". Please. As a conscious and informed decision, not as a government mandate.

    • Re:Imagine... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nursie (632944) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:48AM (#29922535)

      Wait, so she's not given access to the greatest information resource of our age, nor to even measured amounts of what has become, rightly or wrongly, the central transport medium of western culture?

      Good luck with that. I love the idea that depriving kids of something will keep them somehow pure. How's that forbidden fruit angle craving of hers coming along?

      Also, as a self confessed geek, I would have though you would have been trying to foster an interest in technology and computers in general. Each to their own, but I can't say I agree with your approach.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        The study of what is behind what you call "depriving" is way beyond the scope of a Slashdot post, and probably would be marked as off-topic anyway.

        http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_Education/index.asp [whywaldorfworks.org]

        But, as you say "each to their own". My worst nightmare would be having the government force my preferred approach down the throats of every American family.

      • by melikamp (631205)

        When I have a kid, it's gonna learn to play a computer game before talking. Probably on the Internet. Hmm... MMO for toddlers? Something with bouncing rainbows and cute animal sidekicks.

    • As a child's environment is controlled, you can choose to artificially make it whatever you want. For example, you can decide to educate your child in an environment similar to yours, removing all advances in communications beyond what existed when you were two years old.

      Or, you could choose to remove all electric equipment. Or central heating. Or current water. It's an experiment bet.

      You're betting your child will be better (happier?) if it grows up in an environment similar to what children in the early n

      • by natehoy (1608657)

        She will be exposed to the Internet, and get more exposure to TV, and electronics as she gets older.

        It's just that, at seven, her brain is still in a stage of development where exposure to a lot of that sort of stimulation hampers more important aspects of her mental, emotional, and physical development.

        Or at least so goes the theory behind her school.

        As I posted in another reply, an in-depth discussion of what is behind her school's methodology is way beyond a Slashdot post.

    • by DAldredge (2353)
      "espite the fact that I am an acknowledged geek, my daughter is not on the Internet and won't be for a while yet. This has nothing to do with the dangers from strangers, but the negative influence electronic media have on the developing mind, and is based on a request from her school to minimize what they call "screen time"." And here I was thinking that exposing my son to things like Google Earth and science / nature related Internet sites was a good thing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        Not to go all "Clinton" on you, but I should explain (in case you care, which you probably don't) what I mean by "my daughter is not on the Internet".

        - She does get email from grandparents, and with our assistance replies to that email.
        - When she wants to learn about something she's heard about, say a new animal or something, we go together and look it up, and I use that as a launchpad for the kinds of creative play her daughter's school encourages (we look up owls, and she goes and draws so

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:35AM (#29922453) Journal

    I don't want my internet to be as dull and uninteresting as broadcast TV (no nudity, no curse words). If you don't like your children seeing such things, change the channel, don't buy cable, install filtering software, don't let the kids use the computer unless you're there, and so on.

    Or adopt a more-adult attitude or realizing your kids are going to be having sex someday. Now is as good a time as any to teach them about the birds and bees, and stop having a fit if they see a naked body.

    • by rotide (1015173) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:10AM (#29922721)

      What I don't understand is this American idea that nudity is wrong. No, I'm not a nudist.

      I have family in Finland and when I was 16 and stayed at an aunts house, I happened to take notice of a rather peculiar advertisement on TV. A full frontal nude shot of a rather un-pretty man. I don't remember all the details but apparently it was a cell phone commercial.

      The fact that I still remember this to this day is shocking in itself. The most basic thing we have as humans is our bodies and our minds. Why is it that we censor our bodies to such an absolute degree?

      What, really, is the big deal here?

      I agree with you, c64, children should be able to learn about the basic human body and what it is for. There is zero harm in that. Obviously, however, I wouldn't show them hardcore porn, but if there happens to be simple nudity or a discovery program about the birds and the bees, so be it. And if you're against them seeing that sort of thing, limit their exposure to it, but please don't ask the government to decide for _you_ because that would mean they are deciding for _me_ as well. Be a parent and parent your children.

      • by thejynxed (831517) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:05PM (#29924945) Homepage

        The backwards ideas about the human body and sexuality pervasive in "mainstream" American society can be directly traced back to fundamentalist Christians, and to the founding of our country. Puritans, Baptists, Methodists, (old-school) Catholics, Quakers, The Amish, etc all had direct and strict influences on how we as a culture developed, for better or for worse.

        So, as usual, we can correctly blame the issue on Bible-thumping nincompoops spewing forth fire and brimstone damnation for anyone that even admires a bit of exposed ankle.

        At least women aren't being branded with scarlet A's anymore for looking a married man in the eyes.

    • I don't want my internet to be as dull and uninteresting as broadcast TV (no nudity, no curse words). If you don't like your children seeing such things, change the channel, don't buy cable, install filtering software, don't let the kids use the computer unless you're there, and so on.

      I totally agree with this.

      Or adopt a more-adult attitude or realizing your kids are going to be having sex someday. Now is as good a time as any to teach them about the birds and bees,

      You've lost me here. We are talking about children, so why would anyone in their right mind "adopt a more-adult attitude"? Let kids be kids. I think it's totally unfair to make them grow up any faster than they already have to.

      I think every parent should be able to determine when this needs to be discussed. Personally I don't think that 3 years old is appropriate. Younger kids don't understand the consequences of their actions or have the wisdom of how to use that knowledge. Many a

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:40AM (#29922987) Journal

        >>>You've lost me here. We are talking about children, so why would anyone in their right mind "adopt a more-adult attitude"? Let kids be kids. I think it's totally unfair to make them grow up any faster than they already have to.
        >>>

        Because.

        When my 8-year-old asked, "Where do babies come from?" I told him the answer straight up - "When a married man and woman are sleeping together in bed, the man puts his penis into her. Then a baby grows inside." He went "ewww" and that was the end of it. He was no more traumatized by that info then he was traumatized about wiping poo off his bottom. And I think your idea that kids should be kept in the dark or lied to ("babies come from the stork") is akin to mental child abuse.

        Okay granted YOU didn't say you lie to your kids, but I know a lot of parents who do. Then later the kid gets pregnant or knocks-up a girl at age 13, and they wonder how that happened. Duh. It's because they never TAUGHT the kid how their bodies work, that's why. I don't see any reason to withhold knowledge. Better they learn it from me under my supervision, then on their own or from someone else.

        >>>I don't feel the gov't has the right to tell people how to raise their children in general

        Agreed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          >>>You've lost me here. We are talking about children, so why would anyone in their right mind "adopt a more-adult attitude"? Let kids be kids. I think it's totally unfair to make them grow up any faster than they already have to.
          >>>

          Because.

          When my 8-year-old asked, "Where do babies come from?" I told him the answer straight up - "When a married man and woman are sleeping together in bed, the man puts his penis into her. Then a baby grows inside." He went "ewww" and that was the end of it. He was no more traumatized by that info then he was traumatized about wiping poo off his bottom. And I think your idea that kids should be kept in the dark or lied to ("babies come from the stork") is akin to mental child abuse.

          Ahh. I guess it makes a difference once you specify an age. My daughter first asked us about this at 2.5 years. My wife and I chose to tell her that it was something that we felt should be discussed when she was older. And no, we did not tell her some dumb ass lie about storks or baby fairies. I agree that lying to your children is akin to child abuse, however I think in many cases withholding some things until they are old enough to process and understand it is important. While we didn't tell her about the

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wonko the Sane (25252) *

        Younger kids don't understand the consequences of their actions or have the wisdom of how to use that knowledge. Many adults don't for that matter.

        Mostly this is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Sure there is some physical limit before which it's not possible for a child to respond to delayed consequences but if parents never expect this behavior from their children then they won't learn it as quickly. The brain is very flexable like that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Yes young brains learn fast. My 6-year-old niece surprised me when she lifted my T-shirt and said, "Your chest is hairy. That's because you're a MAN. And mommmy has boobs because she's a WOman." I just said, "Uhh... yep that's right." I don't know where she picked that up, but apparently her brain's developed enough to recognize the key differences between boys, girls, men, and women.

          She's also really good at using the computer. She's learning faster than my adult brother, and I've been trying to te

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I believe that the FCC (and the Federal government in general; indeed, most of the world's governments) would like the internet to be like Murray Leinster predicted [baen.com] in 1946.

      The link goes to the story itself, a very good sci-fi short story that comes the closest to any story I've seen to predicting the internet, even more than Asimov's "Multivac". But Leinster's story is based on the premise that an uncensored internet would be disasterous.

  • Agreed (Score:2, Funny)

    Growing up, I knew several families who restricted their kids from watching The Simpsons. I think those type of standards are sorely lacking thesedays and we should use them as positive examples to reassert control. Now they've got the twitters, these children are beginning to secretly rape themselves.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Calydor (739835)
      If the children are secretly raping themselves, let's immediately put them in jail for raping children!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        In Transylvania...

        oops I mean Pennsylvania they sent two teens to jail (for one night) because they took photos of their naked bodies. Oh horror! You can see your teenage body naked while showering or dressing, but use a camera to capture that sight with your cellphone...... and the world will come to an end!!! (So claims the prosecutor.)

        It's especially stupid considering the U.S. Supreme Court ruled nudity is not pornography, therefore not a crime. I guess the prosecutor doesn't read SCOTUS decisions.

        • by Shotgun (30919)

          It was because they were under the age of 18, and we send a lot of people to jail for passing around pictures of people who are under the age of 18.

          If you are going to have child pornography laws that criminalize the possession of a picture, how do you make exceptions if the person sending the picture is underage?

  • by sureshot007 (1406703) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:50AM (#29922549)
    Why aren't parents being held responsible for censoring their own children? It's the parents the put the computer in their room in the first place. Why should the government have to control what kids have access to?
    • Why should the government have to control what kids have access to?

      So the parents have more time for American Idol. Next question?

  • by Zobeid (314469) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:02AM (#29922639)

    Can somebody explain to me some legal theory under which the FCC -- or the federal government, for that matter -- has any authority to regulate the content of videogames?

    I understood the rationale behind regulating broadcasting. If stuff is going out over the public airwaves, then the public -- by proxy of their humble servants in the government -- should have power to oversee its contents, to ensure that broadcasts are of benefit to the general populace.

    Videogames, last I checked, were not broadcast over the public airwaves. They are bought and sold as private transactions.

    And before anybody says "commerce clause". . . I can see how that would enable the federal government to regulate or tax the sale of games across state lines, regardless of their content. But if they started evaluating the contents and discriminating between games, then that bumps up against the 1st Amendment.

    Caveat: I am not a constitutional scholar. (However, some people who apparently *are* constitutional scholars seem to have appalling ignorance of, or disregard for, these issues.)

    • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:53AM (#29923113) Journal

      The only reason the FCC exists is to manage access to the EM sprectrum so that the public can use it without stepping on each other's toes. Expanding their authority beyond that has no legal justification.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      And before anybody says "commerce clause". . . I can see how that would enable the federal government to regulate or tax the sale of games across state lines, regardless of their content. But if they started evaluating the contents and discriminating between games, then that bumps up against the 1st Amendment.

      In the worst decision the Supreme Court ever made: Wickard v. Filburn.

      The Supreme Court decided that a man growing grain on his own farm to feed his own chickens constituted Interstate Commerce.

      Their

  • Unlikely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:03AM (#29922647)

    It'd be a huge stretch to declare video games and home entertainment systems to be under the umbrella of the FCC, and any kind of censorship or regulation on their part would be a massive expansion of their purpose and powers. I just don't see this happening.

    The FCC is one of the most important governmental agencies with regards to technology and culture, yet the FCC doesn't seem to have any clue what it's supposed to be doing. They consistently eliminate or nullify their most valuable powers (ensuring fair and beneficial use of the public airwaves), while trying to grab ridiculous and useless ones to replace them (censorship, this nonsense).

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:13AM (#29922755) Homepage
    It's been five years since I this piece was written at Mises, and five years since I posted a link to it from Slashdot, but it's still relevant and needs repeating:

    FDR's Thought Police: Still Alive, Still Censoring [mises.org].

    • FYI, Gardner (the author) has a podcast [feedburner.com] now. If you can get past his obsession with punk and The Prisoner, he has some very good insights and does a great job at logical deconstruction. He got fired from his radio job (IMO) for not letting a politician weasel out of a 2nd Amendment question.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {werdnaredne}> on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:17AM (#29922783) Homepage Journal

    The FCC shouldn't fine a network over an inadvertent nipple slip.

    Mostly like the (somewhat broken) MPAA, there should merely by ratings and guidelines that enable parents to make decisions for themselves on how to raise their kids.

    I don't want my daughter playing Grand Theft Auto. But I certainly don't want anyone telling me how to raise my kid. Voluntary rating systems are the way to go. However, unlike the MPAA, the rules for how the ratings are determined should be transparent.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493459/ [imdb.com]

    • If you think it was inadvertent then you are fooling yourself. as for rating, I agree that gives the parents control, but how do you punish someone for breaking the rating system rules?

      • I believe it was inadvertent in that the network wasn't in on it. There seemed to be some genuine shock. Was it an intentional move by Janet and Justin? Maybe.

        Either way, I don't think the FCC should have the right to fine radio stations or TV stations. Let the market decide.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          First - I'm not convinced that the nudity ban on TV is nearly as critical as it is made. That said, I'm fine with the FCC enforcing content restrictions on broadcasters even when they weren't the party directly responsible. Otherwise there is no real incentive for networks to police their content - in fact they're better off just collecting ad revenue and not even watching their own programming lest they be found responsible.

          The solution in that case was to go ahead and fine the wazoo out of the network,

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Enderandrew (866215)

            Viewers and advertisers care about content. Networks care about them.

            There was plenty of protest when ABC showed two women in bed together last year on Grey's Anatomy. Major groups threatened to boycott the network. (In theory the Christian Coalition already boycotts everything Disney because Disney doesn't go out of their way to stop the "gay" days at Disney, which Disney neither endorses nor organizes).

            The network was terrified of the boycott and eliminated the lesbian couple. Then there was a backlash ab

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by KingAlanI (1270538)

              Though I have a clear opinion on which side I agree with there, that's a great example of one thing that makes censorship such a mess: whose standards do you censor by? You're gonna get either mob rule or its opposite depending on how you make that call.

        • by brkello (642429)
          The whole thing was dumb...it wasn't even a bare nipple...or if it was, she has star shaped nipples. And aren't we supposed to think of the children? Nipples aren't only things babies see every day, but they actually suck on them. How can this atrocity continue?

          As to your point, it is fine to say the FCC shouldn't have the right to fine them. But what keeps them in check? Unless you believe it should be unregulated and people should be able to show whatever they want whenever they want. Like hardcore
  • BREAKING: "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski included a statement with the NOI in which he noted that 'twenty years ago, parents worried about their children having only a small vocabulary,' while today, word choices are far more widespread for children, which 'have become a prevalent entertainment source in millions of homes and a daily reality for millions of kids.'"

    FCC is looking for opinions on how our "evolving language" affects kids, and whether the FCC itself should have more regulatory control over su

  • Why do they need more power, they already control too much, I find this is just another way for them to go after certain cases and generate more legal revenue. I tend to think that a parent(s) know when their child has too much tv, so telling me they can sue the parents for allowing their kids to watch too much TV (a form of child abuse) is beyond what they should have the ability to do.

    The FCC was needed way back when technology was being introduced to households, and most households were ignorant to too m

  • PANIC (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I see the usual cohort of libertarian slashdotters is in full freak out mode because of this. But if they bothered to they would see: "The FCC also is asking commenters to "to discuss whether the Commission has the statutory authority to take any proposed actions and whether those actions would be consistent with the First Amendment."" Posting as AC to preserve karma.
  • This story is yet another example of why many suspect that the real reason behind the Net Neutrality laws is to establish the FCC as regulator the internet, paving the way for future content control regulations.

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