Adelstein: FCC Must Give Parents More Content Control

FCC Commissioner Speaks at Media Institute Luncheon

Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein said parents feel like they are playing a game of "whack-a-mole" with media material that is too violent, too sexual, too commercial or just unhealthy and he suggested that the FCC should provide them with some new weapons in the form of restrictions on marketing to kids and development of new content-control technologies.

At a Media Institute luncheon speech Wednesday in Washington, D.C., according to a copy of the text supplied to B&C, Adelstein said there were "an increasing number of moles jumping up faster and faster" and provided his prescription for some "family planning."

He called on the commission to be more proactive in the age of convergence to address what he called an "enormous and urgent need.”

Among the actions he proposed were: seeking out new content-blocking technologies; developing a media-literacy campaign; finishing a rulemaking on "sensible restrictions" on interactive advertising to children (it was not clear whether he was proposing an absolute ban, as the FCC tentatively concluded, and a staffer had not returned a call at press time); "update and clarify" content ratings, as well as making them more uniform; launching an inquiry into embedded ads in kids’ shows; and hosting a summit on protecting America's children and media issues.

Adelstein's speech came one day after his former chairman, Michael Powell, told another Washington luncheon crowd that media was inundating kids to the point where trying to control content was a daunting, if not impossible, task, adding, "You can say, ‘On broadcast, you can’t do this,’ but my children get every single show they would ever want on YouTube 10 minutes after it runs. As a parent, I am not going to be able to control the values that I raise my children with by trying to cabin them off from particular sources of media, or worse, have the government try to do it for me. It is just too porous. The system has become too overwhelming.”