Media rating systems are simply guides which parents must consciously decide to enforce. They are not a substitute for informed parental judgment.

Millions of children are growing up in a digital world. For many us born since the mid-90, we have never known a world without computers or access to the internet. We are internet natives.

As the lives of children today remain etched into accessing content from various devices at home, rating systems for music, movies, television programs, and video games become handy.

In Kenya, the Kenya Film Classification Board regulates the creation, broadcasting, possession, distribution and exhibition of films by examining them for content, and imposing age restrictions while also giving consumers advice on various films.

The board examines and scales the ‘impact’ of films either as low, mild, moderate or strong. This scale corresponds to the general rating of the film: GE (general exhibition), PG (parental guidance recommended), 16 (not suitable for persons under the age of 16) and 18 (not suitable for persons under the age of 18).

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In such a rating, the parents get useful guides at their disposal to help them make age-appropriate choices for their children’s media consumption habits.

In isolation, however, the media rating systems are simply guides which parents must consciously decide to enforce. They are not a substitute for informed parental judgment and oversight on the day to day media consumed by one’s children.

Protecting the young eyes and minds from harmful content is the wish of every parent, who often than not, the television is increasingly playing a greater role in keeping the children engaged and entertained as the parent’s work or do business.

Technology is, however, evolving with media filtering software programs now providing parents with an effective means to enforce media ratings into the devices through which content is consumed.

Such filtering technologies and software bar youth from viewing inappropriate material based on inspection rating of various content.

Under DStv entertainment suite, parental control is a value-add feature that lets you manage the shows and movies that your children can binge on.

Parents often have the ability to customize how the age filter functions come into play so that it can be adjusted to allow flexibility as children grow in age and understanding.

The aim of filtering feature is to create a safe media viewing space in which the children may watch television, browse the internet, and use other media without accidentally encountering content that is potentially awful.

To protect your children from harmful content in DStv, simply press the menu button on your DStv remote control.

From there, go for the ‘Parental Control’ option and key in your pin code. If you have yet to personalise your pin code, the default one is 1234.

Next, select ‘Parental Levels’ and then choose the appropriate PG rating based on your children’s age. For instance, by selecting ‘Family’ or ‘PG13’ the system will block all programmes with a rating of 16 and above.

Click Accept to enforce the new settings going forward. You can press ‘Exit’ to reverse your television settings to regular viewing.

Currently, most cable and satellite television manufacturers, video game console makers and even Internet service companies are offering some form of content filtering software as a part of their service plan.

Further, most cable and satellite television services delivered through a set-top box carry with them built-in features to block access to certain channels, programs, or programs with inappropriate ratings. Parents can, therefore, use a pin code to free such controls if they choose to watch a blocked program.

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