Friday, December 2, 2011

TV Show Ratings: What Parents Should Know

Households are now capable of receiving hundreds of different channels with the advent of cable and satellite TV. This is an overwhelming number of television shows for concerned parents to monitor. How could they possibly filter out inappropriate viewing for their young children while still being able to watch the more mature shows they enjoy after they’ve gone to bed? In 1997 TV Parental Guidelines were implemented to help parents filter out television programs they don’t want their children to watch.

Here are 10 good reasons parents want TV show ratings.
  1. Helpful tool – Even though these TV ratings are less than perfect, they are a helpful tool for parents to use. By examining what the different ratings are and what they stand for, parents have a starting point to work from when determining which shows they will allow their children to watch.
  2. Watchdogs – The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board are the ones determining how the various shows are rated. This means there is a panel of watchdogs reviewing these programs for the parents. The panel consists of experts from the television industry and public interest advocates and are available to receive complaints from concerned parents who may not agree with their ratings.
  3. Volume of shows – The sheer volume of shows available on television make it impossible for parents to review them all. The ratings system helps to sort through a multitude of programs by age group. For instance, any show with a rating of TV-MA means that it is intended to mature audiences only and not appropriate for children.
  4. At a glance – Once parents are familiar with the various ratings, they can tell at a glance whether the show should be safe for young children to watch or may need further review.  The ratings appear in the upper left-hand corner of the TV screen at the beginning of the program and again after each commercial break.
  5. Saves time – The TV show ratings system saves precious time for busy parents. As mentioned before, nobody wants to take the time to review the massive number of shows available. The ratings are visible at a glance and whole groups of shows can be blocked using the V-Chip technology built into most television sets.
  6. V-Chip – Since the year 2000 television sets have been equipped with what is called V-Chip technology to help parents filter out programming they feel is inappropriate for their children. The V-Chip receives and understands the different ratings and on screen programs can be used to block whichever ratings parents choose.
  7. Can’t always be there – Since parents can’t always be there when their children are watching TV, blocking adult programming gives them some control even when they’re not at home. Although the system isn’t perfect, it can be improved with monitoring and adjustments.
  8. Can be used for discipline – Parents can even use the TV show ratings as a form of discipline. The various ratings can be used for either punishment or rewards. Parents can block violent shows for kids who get into a fight or unblock them as a reward for staying out of trouble.
  9. Flexibility – The seven different ratings and the five different content labels give parents a wide range of flexibility when determining which shows may or may not be appropriate. Each family has different values and concerns. What may be considered taboo for some parents could be ok with others, so these ratings take that into account.
  10. Peace of mind – Parents who are diligent about using the TV parental guidelines can have more peace of mind about what their kids are watching even when they’re not being supervised.
Many television and movie producers use violence, explicit sex and foul language to compete with each other. Parents need to have some form of control to limit the amount of this content their children are exposed to. Very young children are simply not capable of making good distinctions between what is real and fantasy on TV. Although some kids may not be happy about how their parents are using the ratings system to control their television viewing, it’s a valuable tool for families to use.

Source:  Cable TV Providers

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