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The notion of a ‘watershed’ was introduced in Britain by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to create a division between ‘family viewing’ and television programmes that may contain more ‘adult’ language and/or sex and violence, and to signal parental responsibility for post-watershed viewing. It is a voluntary practice that now generally informs terrestrial broadcasting in Britain, but is often a cause for debate and criticism by those who complain when broadcasters show material before the 9 p.m. watershed which they consider unsuitable for younger audiences. Its effectiveness is becoming difficult to gauge with the increased range of cable and satellite services and increasing ‘time-shifting’ as a result of rising video cassette recorder ownership, often by younger viewers.