A COLUMN BY Dick Rolfe Chairman, THE DOVE FOUNDATION
Profanity Filter Cleans up Videos and TV Programs
For the past several years Government has been seeking ways to provide parents with safeguards that will empower them to protect their children from sex, violence and language that comes into their homes over their TV sets. The TV ratings system coupled with the V-Chip is the most far-reaching development to-date. The pros and cons have been debated ad-nauseam since its approval last year. One thing is certain parents will soon be able to electronically block TV programs they deem unacceptable. As wonderful as all this sounds, there is a primary flaw. The V-Chip will have no effect on theatrical movies played on your TV set. The studios feel no pressure to imbed a ratings signal on their films, since they are not subject to the V-Chip legislation if they come into your home by some means other than a broadcast or cable network. Naturally, they dont want children renting their PG-13 or R-rated films only to have them blocked by some diligent parent. So, whats a parent to do?
I have received thousands of inquiries over the years from people desperately seeking some way to clean up the filthy language that is so prevalent in many of todays films. Theres a new device called TVGuardian that provides an ingenious solution to this critical problem. Called the "Foul Language Filter," this clever device is connected between your TV sets antenna input and your VCR, DVD player, or your DirectTV or PrimeStar tuner. Whenever a profane word is detected from any of these sources, TVG mutes the audio signal to block the word. But thats not where it stops. It also prints a sanitized version of the sentence that contained the profanity right on your TV screen.
When the creators of TVGuardian contacted me, it sounded too good to be true, so I requested a demo before I agreed to recommend it. I tested it with Forest Gump. It worked perfectly, muting a phrase like, "Look at that S.O.B. run!" and replacing it with the on-screen caption, "Look at that jerk run!" TVGuardian reads the electronic Closed Caption signal and does its thing on the fly for television programs (except news and live shows), videos and DVDs, digital satellite programs, cable programs and Pay Per View movies. Any flaws come from occasional Closed Caption errors.
One terrific feature of the TVGuardian is that it is a set-it-and-forget-it language monitor. And, it doesnt require any complicity by programmers since they have already imbedded the Closed Caption signal. Unlike the V-Chip, which blocks out entire programs, TVGuardian selectively blocks only unsavory language. However, it does not block depictions of sex and violence.
One frustrating facet of reviewing movies for the family is the high number of films we cannot approve simply because they carry one or two totally gratuitous profanities. We continue to strive to convince Hollywood to clean up their act. To that end, next month The Dove Foundation will begin publishing an addendum to the monthly Dove Family-Approved movie titles. Dove will add those selected titles that are acceptable for anyone who has the TVGuardian. The purpose of this new service is two-fold: First, it will enlarge the selection of Dove Approved titles for those families who own a TVGuardian. Secondly, it will point out the films that met Dove standards in every respect, except for some language, that once removed, does not diminish the film in any way.
This is the first step The Dove Foundation is taking to launch a national awareness campaign of such issues. We hope to inform the public, and therefore inspire Hollywood that decent movies can make money including edited versions of certain PG-13 and R-rated titles already released. More about that next time . . .
TVGuardian may be purchased from Dove Services, L.L.C., a for-profit supplier of Dove-approved movies and hardware. Check Dove Services' Web Site at http://www.dove.org/shop. Or call 800-278-3425 for information. TVGuardian TM is a product of Principle Solutions, Rogers, AR.
Dick Rolfe is Chairman of The Dove Foundation a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and promote the creation, production and distribution of wholesome family entertainment. For more information about wholesome films and videos, write: 535 E. Fulton, Suite 1A, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, or call (616)454-5021.
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