By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has today announced that all digital set top boxes sold in Australia from 4 February 2011 must include a parental lock feature.

This feature must enable users to block out programming, at their discretion, based on the rating assigned to the program. Examples of ratings provided by ACMA include G, PG, M and MA.

Talking about this new ruling is ACMA chairman Chris Chapman.

“Mandating the inclusion of parental lock in digital receivers supports parents and guardians in protecting their children from content on television which they might consider inappropriate or harmful,” said Chapman.

“I thank the television supply industry for its positive engagement in the development of the standard. Solutions to a number of key issues raised during the consultation process were incorporated within the standard.

“The standard ensures that certain equipment supplied to the market meets consumer needs for an appropriate and effective protection mechanism for children.

“The ACMA has worked to ensure the standard is clear and unambiguous so as to assist industry in meeting its obligations.”