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Ad Council, Four Major Networks to Develop PSAs on V-Chip

In an another effort to appease lawmakers angry over perceived indecency on the airwaves, the four major broadcast television networks have announced a partnership with the Advertising Council to educate parents about the V-Chip. The organization will work with each network -- ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC --to develop public service announcements with messages tailored to each network. The PSAs also will drive viewers to a link on each network's Web site that houses V-Chip and program rating-specific information, as well as links to the chip's programming instructions.

The V-Chip, an electronic circuit located in televisions that enables a parent to use the TV's remote control to block age-inappropriate content, is programmable based on TV Parental Guidelines. As of January 1, 2000, the FCC required all new television sets 13 inches and larger to contain the chip. A recent Ad Council nationwide survey of parents with children aged 2-17 suggests that while most parents are concerned about age-appropriate TV content, less than 10 percent are using the chip and roughly 80 percent of those who own a set with the chip are unaware of its inclusion.

"Our research has revealed that, although most parents are concerned about their children's television programs, a startling majority are not even aware that this technology exists and this it's available in most television sets. This partnership...will help bridge the tremendous information gap," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of The Ad Council.