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Survey says U.K. parents are patrolling kid tube time

Responsibility for what British kids are watching on TV is starting to shift back to parents in the court of public opinion, according to a survey conducted this summer by digital platform Homechoice. The research team questioned 500 U.K. parents who subscribe to digital television, and 55% of them believe it's up to both broadcaster and parent to choose appropriate television for their children to watch. Only 1.7% of the sample put the whole job on the broadcaster's shoulders.
October 1, 2005

Responsibility for what British kids are watching on TV is starting to shift back to parents in the court of public opinion, according to a survey conducted this summer by digital platform Homechoice. The research team questioned 500 U.K. parents who subscribe to digital television, and 55% of them believe it’s up to both broadcaster and parent to choose appropriate television for their children to watch. Only 1.7% of the sample put the whole job on the broadcaster’s shoulders.

Taking a closer look at the study’s findings, more than two-thirds of single parents supervise what their kids are watching, compared to 49% of double-income households that tend to let children watch TV without a parent present. And in dual-parent households, dads (45%) are more likely than moms (38%) to take charge of the remote when kids are tuned in.

Homechoice conducted the survey to inform its Homechoice Wisewatch Guide, a pamphlet designed to help parents instill safe on-demand viewing rules in their homes. But the results also validate the company’s minimote, a sturdy and colorful remote control that can be pre-programmed by parents to access approved VOD and linear children’s channels. But because they’re pushing the buttons, kids feel like they’re the ones in control of their programming choices.

The kid-friendly remote is offered as a free perk with Homechoice’s Kids TV Pak, which includes nets such as CBeebies, Toonami and Animal Planet and currently makes up about 20% of the platform’s 15,000-plus subscribers.

With parents taking a more active role in monitoring their kids’ TV habits and with on-demand viewing picking up steam, Britain’s traditional daypart parameters for children’s programming (channels are forbidden to broadcast material unsuitable for kids between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.) may soon become obsolete.

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