Initial comments were filed in response to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) Notice of Inquiry (NOI), which sought comment on the extent to which children use various kinds of electronic media, the potential impact on children from electronic media usage, and the ways in which parents, teachers and children can reap the benefits of these technologies while minimizing the potential risks. Over 60 parties filed substantive comments in the first round of the proceeding discussing issues related to the current children's media landscape and the regulation of children's programming (including via the Children's Television Act of 1990).
The majority of commenters maintains that the Commission should take on an educational role, rather than a regulatory role, in sponsoring and promoting media literacy programs, collecting and disseminating information on ratings and parental control technologies, and fostering industry's development of marketplace technologies to empower parents. Many parties suggest that government regulation would potentially face significant First Amendment constraints and would stifle innovation in the parental empowerment tools and technology that have proliferated in the marketplace. In particular, several commenters express the view that regulation of the Internet and other nonbroadcast electronic media would be legally constrained by the FCC's jurisdictional limits.
Additionally, a number of commenters note that imposing uniform regulations or implementing a standardized rating system across the various electronic media platforms would be technically infeasible and would prevent industry from having the flexibility to develop new tools and initiatives in response to rapid technological changes. On the other hand, some organizations urge the FCC to create common standards in ratings, filtering and blocking systems across different systems to increase parental understanding and use of these technologies.
Reply comments are due in the proceeding on March 26, 2010.