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Monday, 26 June, 2000, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Parents opt out of censorship
Screens
Children spend 4.5 hours a day before screens, says US research
American parents are not using filters to prevent children viewing unsuitable material on the internet or television, claim researchers.

And even among the minority of parents who have bought equipment which has software to block scenes of sex and violence, half have never bothered to activate the censorship sytems.

The findings have been published on Monday in a survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States.

Researchers say that despite parental claims to be concerned about their children's viewing habits few are using the widely available systems for limiting access to inappropriate material.

The researchers say that two in five parents have a "v-chip" in their televisions which blocks programmes containing sex and violence - but that only half of them are using it.

Among families with the internet at home, only a third are using software that can prevent children's access to unsuitable websites.

According to researchers, "parents are not using the tools available" even when they say they want to control their children's viewing.

Watching less television

The survey revealed the extent to which children, aged two to 17, have access to a wide variety of audio-visual and computer systems.

On average, children spent 4.5 hours a day using screen-based systems, including television, videos, computer games and the internet.

And the survey found that computer users were likely to watch 15 minutes less television each day than average.

The survey also showed the large numbers of children with unsupervised access to equipment in their bedrooms - with over half having their own televisions, a third their own phone and video recorder, a fifth their own computers and 11% internet access.

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31 Oct 99 | Education
Children to learn about TV at school
05 Aug 99 | Education
Child experts urge toddler TV ban
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