Representatives from cell phone industry group CITA (Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association) have announced that music, video and gaming products for cell phones in the U.S. are to adopt a new rating system as part of a new set of voluntary “Wireless Content Guidelines”.
The ratings are intended to differentiate content intended for adults and children, with parental tools also being made available to block specific content. The two tier ratings system will categorize content offered by cell phone providers as either "Generally Accessible Carrier Content" or "Restricted Carrier Content". Accessing restricted content is not intended to be possible without explicit parent or guardian permissions.
The criteria for the ratings are described as being similar to those used by other industries such as cinema and video games. The new system will not however stop minors from using wireless Internet connections to access public websites, which may contain unsuitable material.
A second phase of the Wireless Content Guidelines initiative will attempt to address this issue with the implementation of Internet Content Access Control technologies that will enable wireless account holders to block access to the Internet entirely or provide tools to block access to specific websites. These tools will be implemented independently by carriers.
"Today’s wireless consumers can enjoy an increasingly wide variety of content, including video clips of movies and television shows, weather and news reports, music, games and ring tones," said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA. "The Wireless Content Guidelines were developed to help consumers better understand the incredible opportunities wireless technology provides, while most importantly equipping parents to protect the people they care about most – their children."