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Homepage (Subscribers) / TECHNOLOGY

A Walk Down V-Chip Lane

photo of Kenneth Chamberlain
February 25, 2011

As the FCC considers ways to overhaul the television-rating system and the V-chip, it's worth taking a look back at how the current system came about.

Jack Valenti

Former Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti was one of the primary advocates of the current television-rating system. The symbols that appear on programs, such as TV-PG and TV-MA, was voluntarily agreed to by networks in 1996 and formally adopted a year later. (Paul Richards/Getty Images)

 

Bill Clinton

President Clinton signed the Telecommunication Reform Act in 1996, which included language that requires TV sets with screens 13 inches or larger to include a V-chip. (Paul Richards/Getty Images)

Bill Clinton

The chip uses the rating system championed by Valenti to allow viewers to block those programs that they might find objectionable based on violence or other factors. (Paul Richards/Getty Images)

South Park

Such programming might include television shows, such as Comedy Central's South Park, a satirical animated program that often takes shots at viewers' core beliefs. Pictured above are South Park co-creators Trey Parker, right, and Matt Stone at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards, where they won the award for Best Musical Performance for the song Uncle F**ka. (Lucy Nicholson/Getty Images)

James Dobson Focus on the Family

Giving parents the ability to filter television content based on ratings from independent groups, such as Focus on the Family, is being considered by the FCC as part of the overhaul. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is pictured above. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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