In the previous chapters, we discussed what is at the heart of the European Union's concern over parental control: What prospect is there for a technical device that will assist parents to exercise choice within their homes? Furthermore, we provided an analysis of the rating and labelling systems that are the backbone for such technical devices and, in addition, those increasingly common systems that function without technical devices, but provide efficient and useful information to parents and others.
We conclude with a discussion of three extremely important questions. Firstly, in a time when government intervention in areas touching upon personal choice and rights of freedom of speech is often questioned, what can economists tell us about the justification for these labelling and rating systems? Secondly, if ratings and advisories have been introduced, how effective and efficient are they in protecting children from harmful content? And finally, for these systems to work, what needs to be done to educate the public as to the nature of television viewing and to increase the capacity for television consumption to be an activity that is approached critically, with an awareness of its costs and effects as well as its pleasures and benefits? These issues are intertwined, because an analysis of the inadequacies in a ‘market’ or parental television empowerment demonstrates the need for education as well as rating and labelling systems.