Does TV need a Parental Lock?

Nearly two years after a Senate Inquiry on TV standards recommended a parental lock be installed on digital television sets, the Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking public comment on whether they should be mandatory for digital television receivers.

The parental lock would be based on a TV programme’s classification: G, PG, M or MA.

The move comes despite 56% of Australian homes already having switched to digital television.

“Mandating the inclusion of parental lock in digital receivers will support parents and guardians in protecting their children from inappropriate or harmful content on television,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

ACMA will determine a technical standard in the second quarter of this year that will require domestic reception equipment used for receiving digital television services to have a parental lock capability.

“The ACMA’s primary aim is to ensure this standard meets consumer needs for an appropriate and effective protection mechanism for their children. This is best achieved through consultation to assist in the development of a standard that is clear, unambiguous and readily understood by industry,” he said.

ACMA is seeking opinions on:

* whether there are any particular types of digital television receivers that should be exempt from meeting the requirements of the standard;
* the need for labelling and record-keeping obligations as part of the compliance arrangements that accompany the standard; and
* the date by which equipment supplied to the market should comply with the standard.

Last August then-Opposition communications spokesman Nick Minchin criticised the Rudd Government for being too slow to respond to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry, which was triggered in part by complaints about Gordon Ramsay.

Subscription television already offers viewers the ability to lock content including a parental lock on Foxtel channels according to classification.

Submissions for the current review close 2nd April 2010 and should be sent to DigitalTV.Consumer&[email protected].


  1. @happy-aussie, i don’t see how this would infringe on your rights, even if tv makers are forced to have parental locks you wont be forced to use the lock, you will still be able to watch all the shows you are rights now, foxtel has a parental locks and im sure this hasn’t had any effect on your viewing. yes there are thing such as the proposed internet filler which are a breach of our rights, but this parental lock is not an example.

  2. I already have a lockout system. It is called Me. hehe.

    We have foxtel and I have a pin code for that so I can lock it if I need to (and I have actually put a lock on R rated content), but I don’t let me my child watch whatever he wants so it really hasn’t been an issue.

  3. Oh god more wowserism. Why is this necessary?

    The government’s core message is simple: Parents don’t look after their children so we’re forcing even more restrictions on them, based on no evidence at all but a “we must do *something*” and “it’s for your own good” mentality.

  4. Most children know how to work a TV or set top box far better than their parents and would just be able to ‘unlock’ the parental lock anyway…….

    Maybe it’s time for the bogan mums and dads to actually check up on what their kids are doing…

  5. I am getting so sick of all the bleating idiot parents crying ‘won’t somebody think of the children!?’ – yeah you as the parent are supposed to be thinking of the children, stop trying to pass your problems on to everyone else to take care of.

    Yes parenting can be hard but giving control of everything to a government with no idea is never going to be the answer and just creates more problems.

  6. Well it wont matter if there is a Parental Lock is the shows run over time and the EPG is wrong so if this makes the networks fix there EPG up or start and end programs on time im all for it

  7. I dont have a problem with it, but if parents can’t control what their children watch now, i dont see how some optional feature like this will change things. The onus of questionable television viewing restrictions should be on the parents and not the manufactures of digital recievers.

  8. all the digital equipment I own has a parental lock feature, I don’t want to use it so I simply never turn it on. It is fine the way it is currently, everything has the feature as far as I’m aware and those who want to turn it on can easily do so.

  9. How hard can it be for parents to make sure that the set top box or digital television they buy comes equipped with a lockout feature? People who need the government to regulate things for them in this way are pathetic.

    Still, I guess the upside to this would be that it would make it harder for incompetent parents to complain about what’s on television.

  10. I’m just wondering how much more the Government seems to be seen censoring our lives. It seems to me that parents seem to be the biggest problem. Do they leave their “sweet ones” alone all the time. What ever happened to parental supervision?

    I’m sick of getting my fredoms cut back because a group of slack parents think that the Government will do a better job of parenting.

  11. Parents who care already monitor their kids’ viewing the old-fashioned way, and the parents who don’t won’t use the system even if it’s there.

    OK, it’s a neat feature to have and shouldn’t impact on retail pricing, but this strikes me as needless over-regulation. Set a standard, leave it voluntary and let parents buy a TV with that feature if they want it.

  12. I haven’t seen a single set top box or digital TV that doesn’t provide a parental lock that lets you restrict TV shows by rating.

    The ratings information is built into the DVB standard, and all networks transmit the rating information as part of the “now/next” information.

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