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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

May 4, 1999
  News Media contact:
Rosemary Kimball (202) 418-0500


Noting that some parents, while excited about the opportunities that the Internet offers, are overwhelmed by a medium that seems too vast to control and too complicated to understand, William E. Kennard, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), offered some help via the FCC's own website.

In a speech at the Annenberg School of Public Policy National Conference on the Internet and the Family today in Washington, DC, he announced the inauguration of a "Parents, Kids, and Communications Page" on the FCC website. The page will give parents easy-to-understand information on some of the tools available to them to provide a "chaperone" for their children as they explore the vast landscape of the Internet.

"In one easy-to-use, easy-to-find place www.fcc.gov -- we have included information on a whole range of filtering software," Chairman Kennard said. He added, "With one click of the mouse, parents will be able to learn about these products, how they work, and how much they cost. With one click of the mouse, parents will be able to take the steps they need to protect their kids. We also included on the website information on how to block 1-900 calls and on how to get a cable 'lock-box' to block out the channels that you don't want your children to see."

The site also includes a section explaining the TV ratings system and the V-chip. With the V-chip, parents can use the new TV ratings system that is in place to see what they don't want their kids to watch, and then program the chip to block them. Chairman Kennard said, "I am proud to say that because of the hard work of the President, Vice President, and Congress, in two months time, half of all new TV sets in this country will have this little silicon chip - the V-chip. And, by January 2000, all TVs will have it. "

Chairman Kennard said he was particularly interested in a use plan suggested in a letter to him from the Department of Commerce. He noted that "helping parents use technology in the home is only one part of using it responsibly. We also have to look at how the Internet is being used away from the home in our nation's schools and libraries. . . . Recently, the Department of Commerce sent me a letter offering one way we can help. They suggested that part of the technical plans that schools and libraries submit to us for e-rate money, should be an acceptable use plan on accessing the Internet. To me, this idea makes a lot of sense. As schools around the country think about how they are going to use technology in the classroom, they should also think about how to use it responsibly. . . . I am eager to hear the thoughts of parents, teachers, principals, and librarians on this issue."

"We're beginning this process and undertaking all these efforts because as the government's expert on communication, we see it as our duty -- as guardians of the public interest -- to make information on innovations like the V-chip and filtering software available to America's parents," he said.

"And," he said, "we see it as our duty to keep up with the pace of technological change and devise tools that will help parents better understand and better use the technologies that will be shaping all our lives. Working with parents and kids, professors and policy experts, the President and Congress, we want to help make the revolution in communications technology a manageable one. "

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