An interesting new survey has just been released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which is the rough equivalent of the Federal Communications Commission here in the U.S., but with somewhat broader authority. ACMA’a latest report is entitled Use of Electronic Media and Communications: Early Childhood to Teenage Years and it takes a look at media technology usage among Australian youngsters in 5 age groupings (3 to 4 years of age, 7 to 8, 8 to 11, 12 to 14, and 15 to 17).
The survey also asked Australian parents “How easy do you find managing your child’s _______ use.” They asked that question for four different media or communications technologies: TV & DVD; video games; Internet; and mobile devices. They results, summarized in the table below, were quite interesting and seem to indicate that Australian parents find it much easier to manage their children’s media use than some of their elected leaders imagine.
After all, the Australian government has been contemplating (or already engaging in) some fairly significant content regulations for media, including fairly significant video game censorship, subsidized, government-approved PC-based filters, and now mandatory ISP-level content filtering. But this new ACMA survey seems to suggest that parental responsibility is alive and well down under and that such content regulation is unwarranted. As Michael Meloni of the excellent “Somebody Think of the Children” blog argues: “Maybe it’s time politicians stopped using that old excuse about how censorship is needed because parents don’t know how to manage their children’s access to the Internet and video games.” Indeed!