NOT SAFE: A screencap of the Hulu website. According to a study, mainstream online video sites in the United States, such as Hulu, are not doing enough to keep explicit content from kids.
Mainstream online video destinations in the United States don't do enough to keep explicit content from kids, the Parents Television Council said in a report.
The advocacy group, which monitors decency issues, evaluated the child appropriateness of four online video portals: Hulu, Comcast's Fancast, AOL's Slashcontrol and AT&T's U-verse. None received a better grade than a "D."
The study looked at home pages and 602 videos over a three-week period. The council found that standards are more lenient online than on broadcast television, that content ratings were vague, and that content that may be unsuitable for children under 14 could be watched by young children.
Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council said the report proved that the four websites "are failing to protect kids on the Web."
"The content ratings and parental control devices (media corporations) tout as a solution to indecent material on television are not being applied to similarly indecent material on their websites," Winter said.
Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T, said in a statement that through a program called Smart Limits, the company provides various tools that enable parents to limit the kinds of videos children can view on computers, TVs and cellphones.
Hulu (which is owned by NBC Universal, News Corp, The Walt Disney Co and Providence Equity Partners), Comcast and AOL didn't respond to requests for comment on the study.
The report calls on online providers to implement more effective ways of filtering out content unsuitable for children, including homepages with a parental control option and more explicit ratings.
The Parents Television Council chose the sites it did for the study, it said, because they're aggregators of commercially supported streaming video. It excluded sites that display their own content exclusively and those that focused on user-generated video.