Creating a Python-based Portable Media Player with Enhanced Parental Control Capabilities

David Leong


With the rapid development in information technology, children and adolescents have unprecedented access to digital media. Given the double-edged sword digital media has become, parents, teachers and policymakers have concerns about the negative impact that digital media exerts on children and adolescents. This leads to a growing need for digital media content regulation and censorship. However, current suppression of content in Singapore is mild and insufficient. Only a small number of films or TV shows that have explicit sensitive or offensive content were censored. A vast amount of inappropriate media content is still accessible to children and adolescents. Parents are encouraged by the MCI (Ministry of Communications and Information) to guide their children on digital media consumption. Some companies have developed computer programmes that cleanse movies containing offensive scenes.  However, existing computer programmes have limited ability in allowing users to adjust the filtering levels, or generating seamless cutting results.

Motivated by the above observations, we had developed a novel media player to facilitate home users, content providers and service providers to suppress content, rate and classify digital media. The software permits its user to select various degrees of content suppression according to the user’s level of acumen and discretion. Based on the properties of the sub-file objects pre-set by the user, the software will make use of its dynamic sub-file filter to examine the data set at the sub-file level for scrutiny before the substantiated content is consented for screening.

With this software, user can sanitize the digital media content by skipping over specific scenes that may contain nudity, sexual situations and excessive violence, muting potentially objectionable audio words, and blurring out unsavoury objects in the scenes to preserve the integrity of the storyline. The software is also capable of preserving different categories of media classification from an unimpeded multimedia file. Unlike existing movie sanitizing tools, the software does not physically alter the original videos or make replicated copies. By applying pre-set restrictions to the video during playback, it keeps the original video unscathed.

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