Switch Off Profanity

The increase in the use of profane language appears to be endemic in the production of modern day movies and TV shows. This trend is increasing on the internet too, and it is starting to feel like no-one is safe from this assault on the ears, eyes and our decency. Its especially true of our youngsters, who seem to soak up all that they hear like sponges. Is there such a thing as a ‘profanity filter’?

You may be surprised to hear that yes, these devices exist in the form of software for internet content writers and providers, and as electronic devices for the television.

Early wordpress developers paved the way for common text and video moderation services that we see today. The software can be installed as a plug-in for website providers and bloggers. As comments are added to those sites, any profane words in the database are identified, and replaced with an asterisk. So a profane word will appear as a row of asterisks, like this ‘******’. The database is updated automatically, and additionally the licence owner can add their own words to the database to be blanked out. The software is available in several languages, which will help to monitor input from around the world. Web sites using this filter will have the option of displaying a badge, which will reassure the web surfer that the site is free from profanity.

‘TV Guardian’ and ‘ProtecTV’ have produced electronic devices that can be installed between the TV and VCR/DVD/Satellite Receiver or Cable Tuner. ‘TV Guardian’ also offer a DVD player with a built in profanity filter, but that will only work on the DVDs played on it. The source needs to have ‘closed-caption’ signals for these devices to work. When an offensive word is detected, the profanity filter will mute the sound for the whole phrase, not just the word. When an offensive phrase is muted, the filter displays the muted sentence in text on the screen, replacing the offending word with an alternative. Some of these devices have different levels of filter sensitivity.

So now we responsible parents can at last switch on the TV, or play a DVD, without fear of our youngsters picking up profane language, and if we are selective on which websites they are allowed to join and see, they will not see profanity either.

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