TV and Kids: Finally The Right Solution

The New TiVo® KidZone Gives Parents Powerful Combination of Expert Guidance with Unprecedented Control

And here is the new page on their site.

Well, it looks like Gear Live did have the real inside scoop last night, congrats guys. :-)

As a single guy who’ll pretty much watch anything, it isn’t that interesting to me. (Unless maybe I can invert it to block out the kids shows…) Interesting that they’re introducing a kind of partitioning feature where the kids get their own list of shows and menus. That feature could be useful in other ways, like his & hers virtual TiVos, roommates sharing a box, etc.

But I could see how this could be of interest to parents. What do the parents out there think?

The Poll

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  • chlaal

    I am a parent and I couldn’t really answer the first question because to me it’s more complicated than your poll options can cover.

    I am personally uncomfortable with the idea of letting “a panel of experts” decide what my kid should watch. Recommendations are fine, but from the wording of this press release, it makes it sound like the KidCentral area will be more along the lines of telling me which shows are and aren’t acceptable for my kid. I think this makes it too easy for parents to abdicate responsibility and not actually look into what their kids are watching. I’d prefer to do the research myself, educate myself on each particular show and then decide whether my kid should watch it.

    I also personally don’t feel a need to have the stuff I record for myself isolated and password-protected from my kids. Granted right now my kid is too little to operate the TiVo so it’s moot; but even once he gets older and can do it himself, I can’t foresee wanting to set up the TiVo to protect him from my content. Again, it’s a parental responsibility issue. If there’s stuff that I’m recording that I think might be objectionable, or that I don’t think I want my kid watching, I should be talking openly with him about it, explaining the issues — maybe even watching it with him so I can talk about it. Simply locking it so that he can’t get to it is avoiding the point IMO.

    Yet, at the same time, I don’t believe in pushing my beliefs onto others. So if other parents would rather let a bunch of experts suggest shows for them, and would rather have their TiVos restrict access so the kids can’t see the adult stuff, it’s not my business to say that they can’t do that.

    So, the bottom line is that neither “I think this is a good addition” nor “I do not think this is a good addition” really quite summarizes my opinion.

  • anonymous

    I read it differently. To me, it says they provide suggestions, but we are free to override them, ignore them, or add our own. If that’s the case, I love it. I can’t imagine Tivo (or anyone) would be stupid enough to only allow TV shows that a 3rd party recommends.

    I love the idea.

  • trinnit

    I read a story about a guy whose in-laws came over and his TiVo was stocked with the “Real Sex” series.

    Definite use of the virtual partition there.

  • psuedomeat

    They make tivotogo work for the mac…

  • mindwalker

    I think it’s a good thing only to the extent that the existence of such features should help prevent or forestall the government from imposing restrictions on content. I don’t actually like such features in and of themselves. I agree it would be neat to be able to invert it to only find non-”kid-friendly” content.

  • trinsf

    I’ll echo some of what other people said. I am a parent, and I have mixed feelings about it. I have concerns about what “a panel” thinks, because I know my family doesn’t have “standard” viewing choices and habits.

    I said I wouldn’t use it because my children are 14+ and 17.5, so I’m not trying to keep them watching Barney or after school specials. The biggest child related Tivo problem i have is that my daughter is a TV junkie and will watch *live* TV if she can. *shudder* She’s a little better about it now, because she’s got a new computer with a vast hard drive and Tivo Desktop, so she pulls shows she wants off the Tivos in the house and watches them in her room. I’ve made it clear that if I wouldn’t let her watch it with me (it’s an R rated movie or something), then she isn’t allowed to TTG it and watch it herself.

    What I *really* wish I could do is mark some Tivo recordings “Private” so that they couldn’t be seen on the Now Showing for MRV or TTG, in other rooms. As it stands now, my children can see the list of everything we have recorded, which is awkward when I want to record something like the recent Suicide Girls doc, or similar risque content.

  • tigerbright

    Yeah, that. Basically, I checked “bad idea” because I think it’s more likely to encourage lazy parents (which you are not) to use the TV as a babysitter. I may plunk the baby down in front of *one* half-hour show while I’m doing housework, but I check on him fairly frequently.

  • gikiski

    It might be good for privacy uses.

  • amedia

    What follows is my thinking aloud on the topic – I’m not trying to be definitive, just draw some tentative conclusions from experience.

    My son is 19 and away at college, so this doesn’t affect me personally now. I’m not sure if we would have wanted this feature when he was younger. Maybe. Hm. He really didn’t show a lot of interest in inappropriate TV, so we didn’t have to deal with that issue.

    OTOH, my 11-year-old nephew recently tried to sneak an episode of Family Guy onto his mom’s TiVo for later watching. Now, I think FG is pretty hilarious, but some eps are WAY unsuitable for 11-year-olds and this was definitely one of them. It was the one where Peter has to go for sensitivity training… begins with him watching a sleazy lesbian-prison movie and gets sleazier from there. My sister-in-law is a good mom, but she had never heard of this show; my husband and I had to clue her in. We watched it with her when her son wasn’t around and she was horrified.

    There’s SO MUCH on cable nowadays that I can understand where parents of younger kids might welcome some pre-screening; there just isn’t time to check everything out anymore.

  • innocentbastard

    Anything having to do with the PTC I avoid. They are known for their letter writing campaigns and FCC complaints so much so I think they make up 99% of the complaints. They are even known for filing complaints on programs and radio shows they don’t watch and listen to and most complaints are a form letter.

  • aizjanika

    I think it’s a good idea, but I voted that I also probably wouldn’t use it. My kids are older now. When they were younger, though, this might have been a useful feature. I could possibly see it being useful now if my son wanted to Tivo programs and keep them separate from mine or something, but nobody really uses the Tivo but me anyway. Even if anyone else wants shows recorded, they all ask me to set it.

  • aizjanika

    Oh, I didn’t understand that *they* would be deciding. I didn’t read the article, just answered the questions. *g*

    I thought this enabled a parent (or family member) to set up a separate menu so that shows that one person or another wanted to see would be easier to find. I record a lot of stuff and my shows are the majority of what’s recorded. Another family member might not want to sift through all my shows to find their one show.

    As for kids…my kids are older now, so this doesn’t really even matter to me, but when they were younger, I might have liked to have been able to set up a separate menu of shows for them, possibly, but only if I could choose the shows (or if they could). This would have made their shows easier for them to find.


  • aizjanika

    I wanted to qualify this to say that I think the partition is a good idea, but not a panel of anyone deciding what I or my kids could see. :-)

  • anonymous

    I read it differently. To me, it says they provide suggestions, but we are free to override them, ignore them, or add our own. If that’s the case, I love it. I can’t imagine Tivo (or anyone) would be stupid enough to only allow TV shows that a 3rd party recommends.

    I love the idea.

  • chlaal

    I didn’t mean to imply that the panel would literally be deciding what my kid can and can’t watch. I think the article does seem to say that parents can still decide what to record; but if you want to record something that isn’t on the “list,” you’d have to go hunting for it, just like you do now.

    My point is that by putting together a list of “acceptable” kids’ shows, they’re giving lazy parents an easy out — they don’t have to think about it at all. There could be shows not on the list that their kids would really enjoy and get value from; there could be shows on the list that aren’t really appropriate for that particular kid. The way it’s set up encourages parents to avoid taking responsibility for really knowing and understanding the options, and deciding for themselves what their kids should watch.

  • cassiusdrow

    I voted that it was a good addition and that I’d probably use it. I will reserve final judgment until I see exactly how it is implemented. My son is just starting to get to the age where he could put on a show for himself, and I worry because some of the shows my wife and I record have too much violent content for a small child. It would also be nice to protect our shows from accidental deletion. I still would not want him to record shows without our approval, at least not for several years. It wasn’t clear to me if this would protect the TiVo settings in general.

  • cassiusdrow

    I don’t have an issue with a panel setting guidelines, but I would want to make the final decision as to what is suitable and what is not.

  • megazone

    That’s my understanding of how it works from everything I’ve picked up. You *can* use one of the two (with possibly more coming) pre-prepared approved lists as a starting point, but you can also just do it all yourself and build your own approved list.

  • megazone

    You don’t have to use either of the lists if you don’t want to.