The V-chip -- which has never really caught on -- may already be obsolete, one powerful senator suggested Wednesday.
In the wake of a new Kaiser Family Foundation study showing that kids are increasing their media usage and multitasking those media at the same time, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is reintroducing a bill to create a government-administered media research program under the National Institutes of Health.
In a statement announcing the plan, Clinton harkened back to the Children's TV Act and creation of the V-Chip during her husband's administration, then suggested the explosion of new media-delivery systems called for "a new generation of technology for parents," who want to monitor their children's media consumption.
It's unclear how many of those parents are out there, however. The Kaiser study found that over half the parents of the children surveyed set no rules on TV watching, for instance, and most of those that do don't enforce them.
Clinton (D-N.Y.), is joined by co-sponsors Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in pushing for the Children and Media Research Advancement Act.
The program would study the links between media and child development, and between media consumption and childhood obesity, a growing national health risk.
Senator Clinton said parents need new tools to "protect their child from violent or explicit content," given that they are playing "increasingly violent video games while sending instant messages to friends and strangers on-line and listening to music they've downloaded on their i-Pods."