(6th in a Series about Media Violence)
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!”
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, and the appropriate viewing age is not listed correctly.
Our E-Series and studies have clearly shown that the ratings system is flawed and highly inaccurate. The tools the networks promised to parents do not work. This is not by accident or incompetence. Do you know who assigns the age and content ratings to TV programs? The same networks that show them!
Major Conflict of Interest
YES, it is true, the networks rate their own shows. This is the proverbial case of the fox guarding the hen-house. Here’s why.
- Companies that pay the networks to air their commercials want the maximum number of viewers to see their commercials.
- The more viewers the network can promise, the more the advertisers pay.
- The younger the age ratings, the more younger people (the most desirable group of viewers for advertisers) watch the show.
- In fact, most companies will not even buy advertising on Mature Audiences Only (TV-MA) television programming.
- Therefore, the networks are highly motivated to “under-rate” their programming.
Results of Networks Ratings their own Program
The result is networks purposely rate shows “TV-14,” appropriate for 14 year olds even though the programs contain graphic violence– which includes child molestation, rape, mutilation/disfigurement, dismemberment, graphic killings and/or injuries by gunfire and stabbings, torture, and cannibalism– totally inappropriate for young teens.
UP NEXT: The First Steps to Improve the Ratings System
In the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Congress required the TV ratings system and created a TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board to supposedly “oversee” the rating system. Like the ratings themselves, this organization is a total sham. It is obvious that this board has NOT done its job. This board needs to be exposed and the TV ratings system be fixed.
This will be discussed in our final report.
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