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Ford Lets Parents Lock Out Satellite Stations With 'MyKey'

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On: Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 3:40PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Lets Parents Lock Out Satellite Stations With 'MyKey'

Satellite radio is arguably one of the best innovations to come to vehicles in the past 10 years or so. Driving generally represents a solid block of time that you have to listen to music/news/talk. And what better way to do it than with commercial-free radio split neatly into specific genres?

Well, one negative about satellite radio is that it includes explicit stations that just aren't a part of broadcast radio—stations like Playboy Radio, for instance. And if you happen to have teen driving around, you may not want him to be tuning in to such explicit stations.

Ford has a new solution to the problem. Actually it's more of an old solution, tailored to vehicles: parental controls. Parents will soon be able to lock out certain stations as part of Ford's MyKey system.

MyKey has been around since last year, but until now, was strictly designed to control vehicular settings for safer driving. The key enables parents to limit the speed limit and radio volume when letting their teens borrow the car. It communicates with the on-board computer system via an implanted chip. Now Ford will add the ability to lock out more than a dozen different satellite radio stations with explicit content. Ford calls the move a first by an automaker.

Personally, I'd wonder if a technology like this is really all that necessary. With the amount of explicit content on the Internet, television, video, etc., the radio seems like the least of a parent's concerns. Plus, when a teen gets his license at 16 or 17, he's nearly an adult anyway. It's not like 8-year-old kids are driving around without their parents.

But Ford's research found that the feature is desired among parents. In a study done for Ford by Penn, Schoen & Berland, 60 percent of parents of teen drivers thought that the ability to screen explicit content was important. Predictably, that number is well-short of the 85 percent that thought limiting speed was important, but it's still a comfortable majority.

The updated MyKey will debut next year as standard equipment on the Ford Explorer and Taurus. It will spread out to other Ford and Lincoln vehicles from there.


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