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FCC: Parents Control Commercials Targets Kids

There's no mistaking those commercials that are clearly geared towards kids, advertising cereal, dramatizing toys, hyping games to the point where children believe that the products are a "must buy." Now the Federal Communications Commission wants to clamp down on those adverts, telling the Senate on Wednesday (PDF) that the commercials should not be allowed without some kind of parental consent device.

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC, said that he has directed the FCC staff to launch a probe regarding how the FCC can "best protect children and empower parents in the digital age." The investigation is expected to "refresh" the FCC's record and gather the facts needed to properly promote the Children's Television Act.

"I believe that the versatility of digital television will provide new and beneficial economic opportunities to broadcasters--a critical goal, especially in this time of economic challenge," Genachowski said at a Senate Commerce and Science Committee hearing.

"At the same time, protecting kids from inappropriate commercialization remains an essential objective in the digital TV era," he added. "While of course the Commission will study the record fully, at this point I’m inclined to agree that the Agency should make its tentative conclusion final and say that interactive ads directed at children are off-limits without an opt-in by parents."

The Children's Television Act came into play back in 1990, requiring that TV stations provide educational programming for children. The law also enables the FCC to limit the number of commercials viewed during that time slot.