Parents, Don’t Buy Into TV Rating Lies
By Allyson Vannatta, Senior Writer
Parents, practicing media discernment for your children needs to happen now more than ever because TV ratings aren’t giving you the full truth.
Movieguide® reported multiple times how the television ratings system skews their ratings. What parents may not know, however, is the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings differ from those for television.
The MPAA has five ratings for movies that include: G (General audiences; all ages), PG (Parental guidance suggested), PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned), R (Restricted; 17 and older), and NC-17 (No one under 17 and under permitted).
This MPAA rating system ushered in the scam that attracted teenagers to R-rated movie in droves. Though the TV ratings may look similar, that system cannot be trusted either.
TV Guidelines uses seven different ratings to give insight as to what content programs include. These ratings include: TV-Y (All children), TV-Y7 (Directed to children 7-years-old and above), TV-Y7-FV (Directed towards older children; includes fantasy violence), TV-G (General audience), TV-PG (Parental guidance suggested), TV-14 (Parents strongly cautioned), and TV-MA (Mature audiences only).
These ratings could also include a few other letters at the end: D (Suggestive dialogue), FV (Fantasy violence), L (Crude language), S (Sexual situations), and V (Violence).
In an effort to help parents discern television shows on streaming services, Movieguide® provides overviews of series that are marketed towards children.
These articles give parents insight as to what kind of content a show contains to determine if it’s really family friendly.
In many cases, Movieguide® finds the television rating doesn’t really mean anything because the content reflected in the show in usually much worse.
For example, Hulu’s UTOPIA FALLS (TV-PG) is specifically marketed towards children but contains strong LGBTQ content along with a society created on secrets and lies.
Netflix’s TEAM KAYLIE (TV-PG) includes a main character who claims to be a witch who uses spells and is interested in the dark arts.
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MOVIEGUIDE® and the Christian Film & Television Commission® have been talking about this problem for years. Other media outlets have even picked up on it.
For example, on Feb. 18, 1996, THE NEW YORK TIMES Arts & Leisure cover article talked about “The Ratings Games at the Cineplex” and how R-rated movies attracted children as young as 10-years-old, and how easily they were admitted into their local movie theater. In fact, many research studies have shown that it is children who go to R-rated movies (80 percent of the audience for R-rated movies are youths, with 60 percent under 17-years-old, while more mature moviegoers prefer PG and G fare like CINDERELLA, FROZEN and MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN). Quite often, the entertainment industry actually uses the R rating to attract susceptible teenagers.
The next day after THE NEW YORK TIMES revealed this dirty little secret, it ran an editorial (Feb. 19, 1996) calling for the networks to rate television programs for the V-chip. Buried in the editorial was the admission that the ratings “might encourage more adventurous programs from producers freed from the need to please the tastes of the broadest possible audience.”
Of course, this is exactly what happened (as PTC’s new study has proven), and it is children, not adults, who are attracted to more “adventurous” fare overflowing with perverse obscenity, sex and ultra-violence.
… Thus, the answer to the negative effects of media sex and violence is not ratings but objective standards – a proactive code of ethics that will guide television producers and others in the entertainment industry. All other professions hold to a code of ethics; so should the entertainment industry.
Pollution, even mind pollution, is best controlled at its source. Rating the water supply toxic is not the solution. Cleaning it up is. The same is true of the movie and television industries.
During this time parents should be encouraged that Movieguide® strives to equip them to make the best decisions for their family when it comes to entertainment options.