New Technology: The Human V-Chip

By Anna Karlin and Alexis Karlin

The Human V-Chip

by Anna Karlin (age 11)

The Human V-Chip lives above you, sending messages to parents’ brains, telling them that sex and violence should not be watched by children on screen, big or small. The Human V-Chip is like a thick fog that can settle in all parts of the parents’ brains. Its powers are so great that you can’t see through it to get to your own thoughts.

It can be heard tut-tutting each time it looks at the TV Times.

It has eyes that stretch far, far, and prides itself on being able to catch every publicised bit of sex and violence.

The Human V-Chip then shakes its head and comforts itself by thinking about what the world will be like after it takes over the world, blacking out all the world’s sinful images.

The Human V-Chip imagines fairy-tale-like children who play joyfully with a ball, never fighting, and in a world where only words of happiness are spoken.

The Human V-Chip’s thoughts were quickly broken when it heard some shouts coming from down below. Its ears perked up when she heard two 14-year-olds slashing each other with knives while passers-by shouted abuse. As her eyes drifted further, she could see a hospital full of Aids patients, slowly dying people carrying various wounds. In the next street a lady lay wounded in a pool of blood. Sirens were blaring, with children gawping, while mothers try to drag them away.

The Human V-Chip thought about all this and saw she was to have a large problem transforming the world into a dream one. It knew there was a greater task ahead. It would have to not just change the TV programmes but also the world and its cultures.

Scene I: A Pub

By Alexis Karlin (age 13)

People: Two friends having a drink after work. Both of them have 14-year-old sons who know each other.

Ron: ’Ere, heard about the V-Chip thing?

Alf: Yeah, read about it in the paper.

Ron: A waste of time if you ask me. I let my Jack watch most things.

I mean, he’s going to see ‘sex n violence’ on TV some time in his life - why not now?

Alf: I agree it’s a waste of time and money. I do the job of a V-Chip myself anyway. I never let Tom see anything which I don’t think is suitable – know what I mean?

Ron: But when Tom sees violence in real life, he’s going to get a real shock. You protect him too much.

Alf: Yeah, but if you let your kids watch violence too much, they’ll think that’s how adults are meant to behave. Take the James Bulger case: those kids were trying to copy what they’d seen.

Ron: Got to go – want to catch something on TV…

Scene II: Later that night at Alf’s house

: Oh, Da-ad, why can’t I see this? Jack’s dad lets him see this all the time.

Alf: Mindless violence, son.

Tom: But it’s true stories of murders and rescues – it’s just the same as the news.

Alf: Yeah, but with the news you learn something. With this, you don’t know why people are getting murdered. People who watch this are just looking for cheap kicks.

Tom: But it’s interesting!

Alf: ‘Interesting’? Watching someone being strangled and raped is your idea of ‘interesting’? Frankly, it’s my idea of sick people making big money, with no thought, out of other sick people. If you carry on seeing this, you’ll just become their ideal guinea pig who’ll watch anything as long as it’s violent. People like you will lap it up like milk off a platter.

Tom: Have you quite finished? You’re like a human V-chip. Come to think about it, you’re a V-chip slave – you always seem to be there lurking and ready to pounce as soon as the TV comes on.

Alf: I’ve got nothing more to say on this matter. Go to bed.

Tom: I hate you! Everyone at school teases me because I never see the things they watch. They call me ‘Tom who sees no evil’.

Scene III: At school

: All right, Tom? See Twenty Murders and Rescues last night?

Tom: Nah – Dad was home.

Jack: Does your dad ever let you watch anything but nature programmes?

Tom: Yeah, of course he does… but he was tired and didn’t want the TV on.

Tom: [Thinking] ’Ere we go again: ‘Seen this, Tom? Seen that Tom?’

How am I meant to see anything with Dad there? I reckon he can telepathically feel when the TV goes on. I’m sick of this. I’m going to watch something Jack will never see…

Scene IV: That night

Tom sets his alarm clock for 1 a.m., thinking ‘There’s bound to be something at this time of night.’

Tom turns on the TV and Child's Play 3[1] is on. The first thing he sees is Chucky, a doll which has come to life, strangling a small child.

Tom: [Thinking] This is great! Jack will never be watching this!

Secretly, Tom is petrified… Suddenly he can’t take any more; he runs to the TV and turns it off. Feeling shocked and scared, he creeps up to bed, but he can’t sleep as every shadow he sees he thinks is going to strangle him.

Scene V: Next day at school

: All right, Jack? Did you see Child's Play 3 last night?

Jack: Yeah, saw a bit of it. Turned it off. Mindless rubbish!

[1] Child's Play is the horror film that is supposed to have influenced the child killers of James Bulger.