With the increase of sex and violence on television, or as George Carlin likes to delicately put it, “Sax and Violins”, parents have to be more careful than ever about what they allow their children to watch. But how do they do that? Unless they’ve got some kind of guide or know every movie that’s ever come out there is just no way they can possibly know if a movie or program is suitable for their child.
The TV rating system to the rescue.
Essentially, the TV rating system is a system put in place that evaluates a programs sex and violence content and rates the program accordingly. This rating is then displayed, usually at the left hand corner of your TV screen. This way, when you turn a program on you will immediately know if it is something you want your child to watch. How? Well, the ratings are pretty well defined, though there are some gray areas.
Let’s cover the basic ratings so you have an idea of what to expect.
TV Y – This is the lowest, or least offensive rating. A program with a TV Y rating is deemed to be appropriate for children of all ages. This can be either animated or live action. The themes of these programs are usually also geared to a very young audience between the ages of 2 and 6. This program should in no way frighten a young child.
TV Y7 – This program is usually designed for children age 7 and older. Usually this type of program is geared to children who can differentiate between make believe and reality. There may be some mild fantasy themes or comedic violence. It might be possible for children under 7 to be scared by these shows. If a show has a great deal of fantasy violence then it may be given a qualifier to this rating and be designated TV Y7 FV.
TV G – This program is for people of all ages. It is not specifically intended for young children but should be okay for them to watch. These are usually your family oriented shows that rarely if ever contain themes that may be inappropriate for children.
TV PG – This program may contain material that is not suitable for young children like mild violence or suggestions of sex. Parents may want to watch these shows with their children to answer any questions they may have about it. These programs occasionally will also have some suggestive language. TV PG shows will usually have a qualifier attached to them as well such as V for mild violence, L for language or S for sexual situations.
TV 14 – This program is for children over the age of 14. Parents are strongly cautioned to watch these shows with their kids. These programs usually have either intense violence, strong sexual situations, strong language or very suggestive dialogue.
TV MA – These programs are intended for mature audiences only. These are usually not for children under 17 and usually contain either graphic violence, explicit sex, or very crude language. Qualifiers will be attached to these as well so the parent knows what is contained. But most likely it won’t matter as they probably won’t want their kids to watch these shows anyway.
With the above guidelines, parents should have no trouble monitoring what they want their children to watch.