What if there was a mute button for every single objectionable word mentioned on television?
For parents everywhere, there may finally be an answer.
Focus on the Family is teaming up with TVGuardian to provide clean entertainment choices for families through the TVGuardian filter, a device that eliminates objectionable language from television shows.
Penned as a “foul language filter” for HDTV’s, the device seeks to protect children not only from all foul language, but also from offensive religious slurs, sexual references, and other inappropriate phrases.
“Parents are continuously bombarded with media messages that are at odds with how they are raising their children,” Rich Bennett, vice president of Focus on the Family’s Strategy Office, said in a statement Wednesday.
“Many are at a loss as to how to combat this as technology advances and objectionable entertainment content increases. TVGuardian is an essential resource in helping parents create positive, safe entertainment experiences that affirm their family values.”
According to a recent study, profanity on prime-time television was reported to have increased since 2005 by 69 percent. With TVGuardian, parents are now able to enjoy all the prime time TV shows with their children without worry over the content.
A small unit that connects to television sets, TVG is able to automatically mute all forms of profanity and inappropriate language from broadcast television, cable, satellite and DVDs.
It also offers a pop up profanity-free alternative to the muted phrase. For example, a phrase like “Move your a#%!” would be muted and “Move your tail!” would pop up instead, so families could still follow along with the story.
Television shows and movies can be watched live or played back on DVRs without all the smut.
So how exactly does the device work to eliminate all that offends?
TVGuardian’s patented technology reads the hidden closed-caption text in the background, which is required by law to have on television, checking each word against a dictionary of over 150 offensive words and phrases. (For DVDs that are not required by law to have closed-captions, only DVDs that have a “CC” logo on the back of the box will work.)
With multiple filter settings ranging from “strict” to “tolerant,” parents can filter as little or as much as they choose.
More than 12 million TVGuardians are already in homes, proving to help families.
“We are excited to partner with Focus on the Family to assist and support more families,” shared Britt Bennett, president of TVGuardian.
“[Though] we can never protect our children from hearing foul language outside the home, we should be able to protect them from having to hear foul language inside the home,” he told The Christian Post.
Bennett explained that TVGuardian applies best to PG and PG-13 movies that would have been fine –almost completely free of objectionable content – except for the language.
“Most movies with sex, nudity or violence are generally advertised and promoted as such. But with foul language, you never know when and where it’s going to show up. That’s why so many viewers find it so upsetting.”
And that was exactly how TVGuardian got its start as well.
When founder Rick Bray was watching “E.T.” with his family one day while on a family vacation, he was shocked to discover more than a dozen cuss words in the PG-rated movie. Brainstorming a possible solution for more family-friendly entertainment, TVGuardian was born.
Already on its sixth version, currently supporting HDMI and HDTV, the small device hopes to offer families an alternative, positive entertainment experience, whether for children or for adults who prefer less profanity and offensive content.
The organization also offers a special program for churches and ministries, where churches that sign up can receive funds back from TVGuardian for every person in their congregation who purchases a device.
Not available in mainstream stores yet, besides a few select family Christian stores, the device can be purchased online.
TVGuardian is the newest part of Focus on the Family’s Family Safety Suite, which provides parents with resources and information to help become a tech-savvy guardian in the digital age, offering other filtering devices like Bsecure Online, which regulates online content as well.