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Mobile Carriers to Adopt Ratings on Content

Mobile carriers have found themselves dealing in audio, video and gaming content, with the expansion of third-generation networks and more powerful handsets with TV-quality screens.

So the nation's largest carriers have decided to rate content and explore filtering technology to help parents control access to objectionable material, the industry trade group CTIA has announced.

Part of the new "Wireless Content Guidelines" includes a classification standard that will divide content into two categories: "generally accessible" and "restricted." Ratings will be similar to those for movies, TV shows, music and video games.

The carriers, including Cingular and Verizon Wireless, also pledged to explore tools to help block access to the Internet entirely, or just to certain sites that parents consider inappropriate.

"We expect that when and if this technology becomes available, it will likely be from third-party vendors," Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said.

Mobile service providers will hold off on offering any restricted content until safeguards are in place, the CTIA said.

"Parents must ultimately decide what materials are most suitable for their children, and wireless carriers participating in this important measure are committed to providing parents with the necessary tools to do so," Steve Largent, president and CEO of the CTIA, said in a statement.

A full list of the guidelines is available at the CTIA site.