* Online providers don't use the content descriptors for sexual content, offensive language, violence or adult situations, that are used to block TV shows;
* Even when a user account indicates the age of the viewer is 13 years old (the minimum age required to open a user account), there's no mechanism to block specific adult content;
* There aren't effective parental controls on the sites; and,
* Advertisers aren't filtering their Internet ads but instead are freely marketing adult products such as alcohol to children.
In short, when it comes to safeguarding children from inappropriate content, thanks to the Internet, we're back to square one.
The Internet video websites in PTC's study are some of the most trusted entertainment companies in the world. Parents ought to be able to assume that the policies and standards that apply to the content found on their broadcast networks are consistently applied on their web sites. They're not.
Tim Winter, president of PTC, doesn't expect these companies to do the parent's job of monitoring media exposure. "The responsibility to safeguard our children from harmful media content rests with parents," Winter says, "but they have a false sense of security with companies like Disney, NBC and Comcast. Providers ought to offer gating mechanisms so that parents can make wise choices for their children across all entertainment platforms."
"An informed parent is the first line of defense," Winter says. "We're simply trying to give parents the resources they need to do the best they can for their kids."