I've got a new PFF paper out today entitled, "Who Needs Parental Controls? Assessing the Relevant Market for Parental Control Technologies." In this piece, I address the argument made by some media and Internet critics who say that government intervention (perhaps even censorship) may be necessary because parental control technologies are not widely utilized by most Americans. But, as I note in the paper, the question that these critics always fail to ask is: How many homes really need parental control technologies? The answer: Far fewer than you think. Indeed, the relevant universe of potential parental control users is actually quite limited.
I find that the percentage of homes that might need parental control technologies is certainly no greater than the 32% of U.S. households with children in them. Moreover, the relevant universe of potential parental control users is likely much less than that because households with very young children or older teens often have little need for parental control technologies. Finally, some households do not utilize parental control technologies because they rely on alternative methods of controlling media content and access in the home, such as household media rules. Consequently, policymakers should not premise regulatory proposals upon the limited overall "take-up" rate for parental control tools since only a small percentage of homes might actually need or want them.
If you don't care to read the whole nerdy thing, I've created this short video summarizing the major findings of the paper.
And the document is embedded below the fold in a Scribd reader.