Present-day kids can access Television, the Internet, and other entertainment sources. While these sources can be informative and helpful in a child’s growth, many are still inappropriate for such young and tender minds. Television ratings play a vital role in such cases by guiding the parents to pick content that can suit their child’s age, innocence, and mental/ emotional growth. Television is a vast landscape; however, not all TV shows are kids’ friendly.
Television content is categorized into various labels, including TV-MA, TV-Y, TV-Y7 FV, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, and more. These ratings denote the suitability of the Television content and its intended audience. They serve as guides for viewers, parents, and guardians to make informed decisions regarding appropriate content. But what do TV-MA, TV-PG, and more such ratings signify? Join us as we decode the Television Ratings that are commonly labeled in a pair of Alphabets and Numbers. Whether you are an adult looking for shows tailored to your preference or a parent concerned about the content your child consumes on TV, this article will guide you in the journey.
What are Television Content Ratings?
Television content ratings are standardized guidelines meant to inform viewers about the suitability of a TV show or program for different age groups. The TV Rating System aims to offer an idea about the appropriateness of any content played on Television. The appropriateness is concerned in terms of language, Violence, sexual content, and more such age/ emotional behavior sensitivity. The most common Television Content Ratings are TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA. Such ratings are meant to help viewers, especially parents and guardians, choose content suitable for their child’s age, emotional growth, and mental well-being.
Television Content Ratings, also known as TV Parental Guidelines, was first put forward on December 19, 1996. However, it was January 1, 1997, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) brought it into effect. Content ratings are typically applied to most television series, television films, and edited broadcasts.
Television Content Ratings and Their Meaning
Since there are multiple Television Content Ratings, we have classified them under two categories: Child-Specific Ratings and Standard Ratings.
Television programs categorized as TV-Y are intended for children of all ages. Any TV program presented under the TV-Y category may have themes and elements designed specially for the young audience (2 to 7 years). These programs are meant to entertain the kids, channel shows like Disney Junior, Nick Jr, Cartoonito and PBS Kids usually come under this program rating.
Television programs categorized as TV-Y7 are intended for children aged 7 and above. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), such programs are for kids who are at the age of differentiating between reality and make-believe. TV programs under this category may contain thematic elements, including comedic Violence and mild fantasy.
Television programs categorized as TV-Y7-FV are similar to TV-Y7 but with fantasy violence. Programs under this category may contain more intense or more combative fantasy violence. These TV programs are appropriate for kids 7 and above. Anyway, we recommend watching this rating program only under parental guidance.
Television Programs categorized under the TV-G rating are intended suitable for all types of audiences, including children and adults. Although TV-G Television content doesn’t specifically categorize children (as TV-Y or TV-Y7), parents can choose whether their kids can watch the same or not. However, most parents and guardians often consider programs under the YV-G rating appropriate for younger children to watch without supervision.
TV Programs that fall under the TV-G rating usually have a little or no Violence, mild/ casual language, and contain some sort of minimal (less offensive) sexual dialogue/situations. The rating ‘G’ signifies General, and so is all the content that falls under it. It is equal to the “G” rating for movies and the “E” rating for video games. In fact, TV-G is also the only standard rating that serves as an “E/I” (Educational/Informational) rating also. It is meant to highlight the potential educational value of the content for viewers.
Television Programs categorized under the TV-PG category are intended for adults. Content that falls within this rating indicates unsuitability for younger children under the age of 14. Although it does not restrict children from watching/ viewing, parents must want kids to watch TV-PG content within their presence and guidance. “PG” expansion in TV-PG stands for Parents Guidance/ Parents and Guardians.
TV content under the TV-PG category may contain coarse language, some sexual content, suggestive dialogue, or moderate Violence occasionally. This TV content rating is equivalent to E10+ in Video games and PG rating in Movies. The program’s theme itself may warrant parental guidance. The rating also alerts parents/guardians that the content may require explanation or discussion with kids depending upon their maturity level and judgment.
Television Programs categorized under the TV-14 category are intended for adults and children above 14 years (under supervision). The Television content under this rating is considered unsuitable for children below the age of 14 due to violent content and sexual references. In fact, for Children aged 14 or above, parents must exercise caution and greater attention while viewing such content.
TV-14 Television content may contain intensely suggestive dialogue, sexual encounters/ situations (intense), coarse language and intense Violence. TV-14 content rating is equivalent to ESRB’s T rating in video games and MPA’s PG-13 rating in Movies. The rating serves as a warning to parents about potentially mature content that may require additional discussion or supervision. The content may be more suitable for sensible teenagers, young and older adults.
Television Programs categorized under the TV-MA category are intended only for children above 17 and adults. The TV programs sourced under this rating are designed to keep the matured audience in focus. It is not suitable for children under 17 for several reasons and indicates content for mature audiences. TV-MA programs are not appropriate for younger audiences, and parents/guardians must keep their young ones from following them.
The Television content rating TV-MA is used to broadcast television programs featured on certain cable channels (both basic and premium) as well as streaming networks. It is rarely used for programs on networks or local television stations due to FCC restrictions on program content. TV-MA Television content rating is equivalent to ESRB’s M rating for Video Games and MPA’s R rating for Movies. TV-MA programs may include crude indecent language, explicit sexual activity, and Graphic Violence.
PLEASE NOTE: We strongly advise parents to keep their children’s eyes and interests away from watching TV-MA content. Content categorized as TV-MA can badly affect a child’s character.
In addition to the above details, some TV programs might also carry one or more Content descriptors. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), selective thematic elements may contain one or more of the following sub-ratings, and this calls for parental guidance.
The content descriptors commonly seen with the main ratings are as follows:
- D – It signifies Sexual or suggestive dialogue. D is often associated with TV-PG and TV-14 ratings, usually for sexual reference but not meant to be used with the TV-MA rating.
- L – It signifies Coarse or crude language and is often associated with TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA ratings. L alphabet with any rating may indicate that the program may include vulgar slang, racial and ethnic slurs, profanity, and more.
- S – It signifies Sexual situations and is often associated with the TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA ratings. S alphabet with any rating may indicate that the program may include visual innuendo and intercourse.
- V – it signifies Violence and is often associated with the TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA ratings.
Where do Television Content Ratings appear on the screen?
Television Content Ratings are meant to appear on the screen at the start of any show/ program. It usually appears during the opening credits or the initial moments of the broadcast. For the most part, the Television Content Ratings appears (on the left-hand side of the screen in the form of a large icon) remain for the first 15 seconds of every rated program lasting a half-hour or less. The exact placement and style of the ratings sometimes may also depend upon the network or platform.
Note: A disclaimer about the show’s objectionable content and the TV rating may be voluntarily displayed before almost all programs. So please be sure to read the disclaimer keenly and give your kids permission to watch the show.
This was all about the Television Content Ratings and their significance. We hope the information above will help you make an informed choice when letting your kids enjoy TV entertainment.