America's Ad Council is joining forces with the 'big four' broadcast TV networks to help parents stop children viewing indecent material.

The Council will work with NBC, Fox, ABC and CBS to develop a public service campaign promoting the V-chip, an electronic device in television sets that blocks content deemed unsuitable for children under a voluntary ratings system.

Since the start of 2000, all new TV sets larger than thirteen inches must contain a V-chip, but few households are using them. A recent survey by the Council -- a private, non-profit body that organises volunteers from the communications industry -- revealed that under 10% of parents of children aged two to seventeen use the device, even though most are worried about their offspring seeing inappropriate material.

The study also found that around 80% of parents are not even aware of the V-chip's presence in their television.

Under the new partnership, each network will create its own spots, and all the ads will urge viewers to visit pages on the broadcasters' websites detailing V-chip and rating information.

"ABC believes strongly that we have a responsibility to enable our viewers to make informed choices about the programs they watch and those their children watch," declared ABC TV president Alex Wallau. "The V-chip can play a critical role in these choices."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff