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Ford to Help Parents Block Explicit Sirius XM

Automaker likens upgrade MyKey tech to keeping teens from watching X-rated videos

Ford is upgrading its MyKey feature with technology that allows parents to block explicit satellite radio programming while their teens are driving.

Think of it as a V-Chip for radio. The automaker likens the tech upgrade to parents preventing children from viewing certain types of television and Internet content.

The upgraded version of MyKey will debut as a standard feature late next year on the Ford Taurus and Explorer and then offered across a variety of Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

MyKey — designed to help parents set reasonable limits for teens as they’re building driving skills — is a programmable key that can limit a vehicle’s top speed, limit radio volume and encourage safety-belt use by muting the radio until front occupants buckle up. The satellite radio radio-blocking feature works by screening out more than a dozen channels that Sirius considers “explicit.” Sirius and XM offer the option for subscribers to block certain channels as well.

Graydon Reitz, director, Ford Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering, said the automaker developed MyKey’s functions in such a way as to quickly spread it across multiple vehicle lines.

Ford’s MyKey system — standard on most North American vehicles after launching in 2009 — allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed to 80 mph, with chimes sounding at 45, 55 and 65 mph. The upgraded MyKey technology will now allow parents to limit a vehicle’s top speed at any of four different settings — 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph.