By on December 29, 2010

Don’t want your kids listen to Howard Stern, the  Playboy Channel, Hip-Hop Nation or Raw Dog Comedy, at least while driving? No problem: Buy a Ford. It comes with a built-in Chinese Firewall that safeguards the harmonious upbringing of our children. At least while they drive.

Ford will create a system that allows parents to block 16 channels on Sirius Satellite Radio that carry raunchy programming, reports USA Today. “There’s a lot of mature-content programming out there, and it could be somewhat of a distraction for less-mature ears,” says Andy Sarkisian, Ford’s safety planning and strategy manager. Now there’s a fine example for mature technology that protects the children from sex and crime.

The anti-smut option will be added in late 2011 to Ford’s MyKey system. The MyKey system was introduced with the 2010  Ford Focus and “will quickly be offered on many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models,” as the Ford press release promised. It works this way: You give your kid a special key. The car reads it and then limits top speed and audio volume according to your settings, it provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 miles per hour. If your kids don’t buckle-up, they get punished by a lack of audio from the speakers. Thought your kids have outgrown their nanny? Ford sells you an electronic one.

You hold the key for grown-ups. With that, you can go as fast as you want, while listening – at full blast – to all the smut Sirius will beam down from the satellite.

Now here comes the interesting part: We are talking teens. The demographic that jailbreaks a new iPhone before it has left the factory. When TTAC announced the MyKey system some ages ago, it was predicted that MyKey would get hacked in a heartbeat. However, when you google “Ford MyKey Hack” you find – not much. Why? No hacking necessary: Just grab Dad’s key and change the settings.

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20 Comments on “Ford Protects Teens From Sex And Crime...”

  • avatar

    “…so that young drivers like these can make smart decisions when they’re out on the road.”
    Um.  No.  Actually, it doesn’t allow them to make those decisions at all.  It limits the speed, it limits the stereo volume.  Mom and Dad made those decisions.  I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but I find the specific wording above a bit disingenuous.

  • avatar

    “but I find the specific wording above a bit disingenuous.”
    Par for the course in the world of Automotive Journalism, IMO.

    • 0 avatar

      Par for the course in modern child-rearing as well. You teach kids decision-making and responsibility by never giving them a chance to make a decision or have any responsibility. Then wonder why they never develop good judgement.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Yeah, shelter em, teach em sex is dirty and filthy and naughty.  That way they can be as mentally f#$(ed up as I was for the first 20 odd years of my life.
    A small part of me feels like this is Ford’s attempt to kiss up to conservatives that tried to boycott the automaker for their support of gay rights.

    • 0 avatar

      I certainly enjoyed the prurience of Playboy (way back) when I was a kid, but never while driving. I think that’s the point. A true conservative wouldn’t have all that crap in a car, especially one used by his or her kids. I wouldn’t and I didn’t. With their typical lack of situational awareness and lack of impulse control, all you need is yet more distractions for the novice driver. From the ticket thread, it’s plain to see that kids can get in plenty of trouble without extraneous inputs.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      A small part of me feels like this is Ford’s attempt to kiss up to conservatives that tried to boycott the automaker for their support of gay rights.

      Bill Ford, to his credit and while weakened from financial losses, stepped up and asserted his rank over the dealers who opposed advertising in GBLT magazines.  I don’t think that is the issue here.

    • 0 avatar

      This ain’t readin’ a Playboy though. If your kid can’t drive & listen to Howard at the same time without being “distracted”, maybe he or she shouldn’t be driving yet. Yes, teenage drivers do generally lack situational awareness, but I don’t think what’s on the radio is the problem.

  • avatar

    I’m pretty sure that having the car start beeping at me when I exceed 45mph would be the single most distracting thing EVER. Exactly what you need at freeway speeds.
    I know all too many people whose overcautious nanny parents would have set it to 45mph hard limit. The day this technology infects cars people actually buy for their kids (Focus, Fiesta) I expect a dramatic uptick in freeway divebombing and all its associated dangers.

  • avatar

    It’s probably a bit late to try to “protect” your kids from obscenity when they are old enough to drive. At that age they are most likely the source of the obscenity and would find Howard Stern lame.

  • avatar

    Actually, I was wondering about this myself when going through the satellite radio on some recent test cars. When your driving carpool, you don’t want to accidentally expose the kiddies to some hip-hopper talking about f*ckin’ his bitches.

  • avatar

    Seriously? What world are these idiots living in if they don’t think anyone old enough to have a driver’s license doesn’t already have access to all the smut they can tolerate and then some. It’s called the Internet, folks. What a waste of time and money.

  • avatar
    George B

    Is this an extra cost option or a standard feature?  The owner gets to set the nanny limits so I don’t think it’s a big deal other than maybe having to pay for an extra set of keys.

  • avatar

    My question about the MyKey system is probably easily answered, but I’m curious nonetheless. What happens if you set the MyKey with some obscenely low speed (55 mph just as a number to play with) and lose the master key. Would you have to have the car reprogrammed at the dealer to the tune of $500 or something like that? What happens if you’ve lost the master key and sell the car private party with all of the MyKey settings programmed. Would this be easily reprogrammed?

  • avatar

    I realize the speed I’ve chosen is probably inconsequential to the end answer, but it would irritate me to have a max speed of 55 mph. What happened to parents sitting in the car and guiding the new driver during their permit period so they learn good habits?

    This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but I learned how to drive in a car without insurance and usually had my mother reading or sleeping beside me. Never had any issues.

  • avatar
    Telegraph Road

    Frankly I don’t care if my teenage children listen to Howard Stern, Playboy, Hip-Hop Nation and Raw Dog Comedy on Sirius.  But please spare me the pain of listening to them too while channel surfing.

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