My friend Lesley wrote the letter below to Comcast earlier this week, and I echo her sentiment completely. If you agree that they should offer parental controls for their “On Demand” preview box, email Comcast yourself and use your consumer voice to create change. Post a comment below if you receive a response! – Jennifer Siebel Newsom
March 27, 2012
To Whom It May Concern:
On behalf of parents who use Comcast cable TV services, I am writing to implore you to please provide parental control options over the Preview Box that appears in the upper right-hand corner of the TV screen when selecting from “On Demand” options.
I am a mother of three young girls. We are grateful for the plethora of educational and appropriate programming available through Comcast’s On Demand services. However, I am disturbed daily by the often violent and sexually provocative content that my children are subjected to as I navigate my way through Sprout On Demand (and the like) in order to select age-appropriate shows like “Barney”, “Caillou”, and “Dinosaur Train.” It has come to the point where my two year-old says, “That’s terrible!” every time the preview box appears. She is echoing what she has heard me say every time I am frantically trying to select a program for her—doing so as quickly as possible so that she does not have to watch the inappropriate scenes appearing before her while I choose her preschool-targeted show.
Providing the option to filter content is common practice now across all media. I urge you to offer your paying customers the ability to control what previews are forced into their homes via the Preview Box. Ideally, paying customers could opt out of seeing the Preview box all together. At a minimum, we should be able to request only G-rated content. Frankly, catering your preview content to target children could boost On Demand usage in homes with young children since the kids would likely see other shows/movies that interest them—and their parents would more likely approve of them.
Within my local mother’s group there has been great discussion and deep concern over this issue of Comcast’s Preview Box. It is unfair and wrong for our young generation to be exposed to the poison seen in much of popular media today. Concerned parents like myself hope that the large media companies like Comcast will be more sensitive to issues such as these. Or, at least, provide concerned parents the options to control and decide for themselves what sort of media is appropriate for their family.
Many thanks for your consideration of this critical matter.
UPDATE: Reader Laura A. has started a petition to call out Comcast, sign it here.