|Television and Internet Safety
Protections that Keep Pace
By Dante Di Pirro
Senior Vice President & General Counsel, New Jersey Cable Telecommunications Association
Congressman Frank Pallone, Highland Park Mayor Meryl Frank, a student and
Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula promote Internet safety at Highland Park Middle School.
The Information Age is a thrilling, new era with rapidly expanding technology. Cutting-edge fiber optics has opened the door to faster and faster high-speed Internet connections, digital and high-definition video programming, and crystal clear digital voice communication. New Jersey’s municipalities have played an important role in bringing these exciting technologies to businesses and residents, providing unprecedented access to programming and information.
At the same time, municipal officials are sometimes asked, how can parents best manage their children’s television viewing and Internet experiences? New Jersey’s cable companies have the answer. We believe that a commitment to innovation also requires a commitment to responsibility. That’s why we make tools and resources available to our customers to ensure that families can enjoy the benefits of new cable and online technologies in a secure environment.
Parental Television Controls Digital cable technology has increased the number of channels on television. We all love the expanded commitment to quality programming that allows viewers to choose from a wide range of superior, critically acclaimed, cable shows. Of course, more choice in programming presents new challenges for parents seeking to monitor or restrict the kinds of shows their children watch.
Cable’s parental controls help parents meet those new challenges. Since not every program is appropriate for every age group, cable gives parents the power to decide what content is appropriate for their children, and easily control what they watch—even when they’re not around. Parental controls give parents the power to set personalized codes for their cable boxes that lock kids out of specific channels, titles, and shows with certain ratings.
In addition, the cable industry has spent $250 million to launch and promote www.controlyourTV.org, a website that offers parents tips and guidance for putting these powerful tools to use. Instructions for implementing parental controls vary depending on your cable service provider and the type of cable box you have. You can visit controlyourTV.org or your cable provider’s website for specific directions.
Internet Safety Just as the growth and development of digital cable content has provided new and improved services, so too has the growth and development of high-speed, broadband Internet. With so many people on the Internet, so much content from which to choose, and so many programs to download, how do parents protect their kids, their identities and their computers all at the same time?
Cable provides the solution, putting customer safety and security tools easily within reach of customers. The cable industry’s newly-launched PointSmart,ClickSafe program gives parents and families educational resources and tools to make intelligent choices in the online environment. The multi-media initiative, a project of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and Cable in the Classroom, is intended to unify the cable industry’s efforts to combat cyber crime by offering training tips, educational materials and easy-to-use controls. Parents, teachers and cable customers can access all of the available tools and resources at www.pointsmartclicksafe.org. Included in the initiative is Cable’s Online Safety Code of Conduct—a commitment by the cable industry to help all customers enjoy a safer, more secure online environment.
You can read the Code of Conduct at: www.pointsmartclicksafe.org/industrytoolkit/OnlineSafetyCodeofConductFinal.pdf
Locally, the members of the New Jersey Cable Telecommunications Association are actively working to give parents the power to fight cyber crime. Earlier this year NJCTA representatives testified before the New Jersey Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee about their online safety initiatives. The Association took a public stand that parents and teachers are the first line of defense against online predators and that giving them the tools they need to keep our children safe is one of the industry’s top priorities.
Of course, keeping children safe is only part of the equation. The cable industry is similarly committed to giving customers resources to combat identity theft and corruption of computers by viruses, worms and the like. That is why NJCTA member companies provide their online customers with free anti-virus software and firewall protection.
New Jersey’s cable companies are also taking online safety educational efforts to municipalities. For example, Cablevision recently took its Internet Smarts program to East Hanover Middle School. The Internet Smarts program—part of its Power to Learn initiative—provides parents and teachers with resources and interactive case studies to help confront Internet and other digital media issues. In East Hanover, Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce joined Mayor William Agnellino as students demonstrated the skills they learned through the program. Similar demonstrations of Internet Smarts have been held at Highland Park Middle School with Congressman Frank Pallone; Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, who chairs the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities (ATU) Committee, and Highland Park Mayor Meryl Frank; and at Marlboro Middle School with State Senator Ellen Karcher and Marlboro Mayor Robert Kleinberg.
Marlboro Mayor Robert Kleinberg talks with students at Marlboro Middle School
about the importance of staying smart online.
The cable industry has always been vigilant about giving parents the power to create a sensible television viewing experience for their kids. With these and other innovations, the industry has extended that care and attention to the online environment.
Whether through parental television controls or Internet safety tools, the cable industry is providing protections to keep pace with the technological innovations of the Information Age. For more information about your cable company’s parental controls and Internet safety programs, visit their website.
TIME WARNER: www.timewarnercable.com/nynj/
SERVICE ELECTRIC CABLE TV of NEW JERSEY: www.secable.com
US CABLE of PARAMUS-HILLSDALE: www.paramus.uscable.com
PATRIOT MEDIA: www.patmedia.net