Hip Hip Hooray for TV Guardian!

by Kelsey Norwood

in Education, Media, & Literacy

A bit of household technology that I think everyone should have is called TVG, short for TV Guardian. This little black box has been one of the most welcome pieces of technology in our home.

My first experience with TVG was actually in high school. I’m not sure how, but my mom heard about it and she convinced my dad to purchase one. That was the beginning of TVG in my family. My parents got us one a few years ago, and now I can’t watch television without it. I have been watching television via TVG for many years now, and I will never go back.

TVG is essentially a filtration device that eliminates certain kinds of words from television programs, commercials, and movies. The only stipulation is that for TVG to work, the program has to be close captioned. I believe closed captioning was originally done on television programs and movies for accessibility purposes so those who are deaf or hard of hearing could read subtitles. I think that every television show and movie production made today is closed-captioned for this purpose, which is great for TVG users, because closed captioning is what allows TVG to work.

As I understand it, the TV Guardian somehow reads the closed captioning and identifies any offensive vocabulary contained in the script of the program. TVG knows when each word will be said and it edits the audio sound to filter out those words. When an offensive word is said, TVG cuts off the audio for a second or two surrounding the word and the script that is being silenced is written up on the screen in subtitle form. In the written text on the screen, TVG inserts a synonym for the offensive word, which often is highly entertaining.

TVG has three different intensity settings so as a parent, you can control the types of words that your children are hearing from the television. The lowest setting obviously filters out fewer words than the highest setting. The process is easier to understand with an example. Recently I was watching a program where a person on the show said something like, “We’re screwed.” Since our TVG was on the highest filtration setting, the phrase was muted and inserted in subtitles at the bottom of the screen was, “We’re doodled.” That particular edit has been a favorite of our family. As a matter of fact, we use the word “doodled” in everyday conversation rather than “screwed.” It really does sound much nicer!

The most offensive words, which usually contain approximately four letters, are often eliminated altogether rather than replaced with another word, depending on the context. The word that is used to replace the offensive word is usually the same word, but not always. Again, the context really determines which word, if any at all, is used as a replacement. Without getting too explicit, here are some other examples:

The “A word is replaced with “tail”
“Sex” is replaced with “hugs” (This is another one of our favorites!)
“Hell” is replaced with “heck”

TVG is a great tool for parents to use to monitor the kinds of language that is heard and used in the home. While TVG doesn’t edit the content of the movie in any way, it cleans up movies that contain foul language and nothing else offensive. I have recently noticed that more and more movies seem to randomly throw in these awful words that the movie would have been just fine without. Movie makers must think that people like to hear vulgarity in everything that they see, but I am not one of those people. In my opinion, the quality of a movie actually goes down with every curse word that is said. TVG allows me to enjoy those otherwise perfectly acceptable and clean movies. I especially appreciate TVG when it comes to action movies, because most action movies are family friendly except for foul language. TVG really makes those movies more enjoyable and appropriate for all ages.

You might wonder if having random silences in the course of a movie is distracting or inconvenient, but I don’t really even notice the subtitles popping up anymore. I have gotten so used to enjoying movies totally devoid of foul language.

I am so pleased with the company that developed this filtration technology. Money talks. I believe that as consumers and parents, we have to use our money to support causes that strengthen and protect families and not use our money to support people and organizations that destroy families and desensitize society. I look forward to the good that the TV Guardian company will do for our families in the future. I look forward to other products that will help my family to enjoy decent entertainment.

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