What is TV Content Rating Reform?
The TV Content Ratings System is failing America’s children. The TV ratings (TV-G, PG, 14, and MA) were designed to accurately inform parents about the content of television programming, and help parents decide what is appropriate for their children. But this system clearly does not work, and the PTC is leading the way to fix it!
In a study recently released, the PTC found that, for more than 20 years, the TV content ratings system has been consistently inadequate for the purpose of protecting children from graphic sex, violence, and profanity on television for the following reasons:
- Regularly-scheduled series rated G (appropriate for all audiences) have been eliminated from prime time.
- There are fewer programs on prime-time broadcast television rated TV-PG.
- There are fewer differences between the content of programs rated TV-PG and those rated TV-14.
- Graphic content on television is increasing in both amount and intensity.
- Every hour of content on broadcast television is rated as appropriate for a 14-year-old child, or even younger ages. Despite containing explicit content, no continuing program on broadcast television is rated TV-MA, appropriate for mature audiences only.
How is the Content Rating System Broken?
Whenever the public expresses concern about the excessive graphic violence on television, the TV industry's argument is the same: it's the parent's job to keep violence and other dangerous content away from their kids. "Use the V-Chip! Look at the ratings!"
The TV networks claim that they provide families with tools, like TV ratings and the V-Chip, that help parents protect their children from harmful or unwanted programming. But over 20 years of PTC studies, as well as parents, mental health professionals, national surveys, and scientific research all say these tools are NOT effective in protecting children.
Conflict of Interest
One major problem is that the TV content ratings system is basically run by the TV networks — the same businesses that profit from showing explicit content to kids. it is supposed to be regulating: The same companies create TV shows, rate the shows, and run the board which oversees the ratings process. This is a conflict of interest which would never be tolerated in any other regulatory body.
Parental Controls Don't Work if the Content Ratings Are Wrong!
The problem is this: using parental controls such as the V-Chip is worthless if the ratings are not accurate, not consistent, missing, and the appropriate viewing age is not listed correctly.