Television Ratings Guide
The Content Labels
One or more letters may be added to the basic rating to indicate that a show contains higher levels of violence, sex, adult language or suggestive dialogue:

V - violence
S - sexual situations
L - coarse or crude indecent language
D - suggestive dialogue (usually means talk about sex)
FV - fantasy violence

All Children
This program is designed to be appropriate for all children. Whether animated or live action, the themes and elements in this program are specifically designed for a very young audience, including children from ages 2-6. This program is not expected to frighten younger children.

What you need to know: Not all TV-Y shows are violence-free. Some shows with cartoon violence are rated TV-Y, such as the "Road Runner" cartoons. There is no content rating to let you know if a TV-Y show contains violence.

Directed to Older Children
This program is designed for children age 7 and above. It may be more appropriate for children who have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish between make-believe and reality. Themes and elements in this program may include mild fantasy or comedic violence, or may frighten children under the age of 7. Therefore, parents may wish to consider the suitability of this program for their very young children.

What you need to know: TV-Y7 shows that contain a lot of fantasy violence are supposed to be labeled with the "FV" rating. But even some TV-Y7 shows without the FV label may contain fantasy or comedic violence that could be of concern to some parents, although it is usually much milder than in those shows with the FV rating.
Directed to Older Children-Fantasy Violence
For those programs where fantasy violence may be more intense or more combative than other programs in the TV-Y7 category, such programs will be designated TV-Y7-FV.

What you need to know: A TV-Y7-FV rating indicates a program that may contain some of all of the following characteristics: violence as a prevalent feature of the program; fighting presented in an exciting-even thrilling-way; villains and superheros valued for their combat abilities; violent acts glorified; and violence depicted as an acceptable and even effective solution to a problem. Fantasy violence may be part of an animated cartoon, a live-action show, or a program that combines both animation and live-action.

G-RatingGeneral Audience
Most parents would find this program appropriate for all ages. Although this rating does not signify a program designed specifically for children, most parents may let younger children watch this program unattended. It contains little or no violence, no strong language, and little or no sexual dialogue or situations.

What you need to know: Most TV-G shows don't contain any sex, violence, or adult language at all. Those that do have such content are usually mild. There are no content ratings used on TV-G shows to let you know if they do contain such content.

PG-RatingParental Guidance Suggested
This program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. The theme itself may call for parental guidance and/or the program contains one or more of the following: moderate violence (V), some sexual situations (S), infrequent coarse language (L), or some suggestive dialogue (D).

What you need to know: Many TV-PG shows do contain moderate levels of sexual dialogue or violence, and not all of them are labeled with the content ratings. TV-PG shows with higher levels of sex, violence or adult language are usually labeled with content labels.

TV-14 RatingParents Strongly Cautioned
This program contains some material that parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program contains one or more of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), strong coarse language (L), or intensely suggestive dialogue (D).

What you need to know: Most TV-14 shows contain sex, violence or adult language. Not all of those shows are labeled with the content descriptors. TV-14 shows with the highest levels of sex, violence or adult language are usually labeled with the content ratings. A TV-14 rating without content labels may also indicate a program with a mature theme.

Mature Audience Only
This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17. This program contains one or more of the following: graphic violence (V), explicit sexual activity (S), or crude indecent language (L).

What you need to know: Very few shows are labeled TV-MA.

(Language taken directly from The V-Chip Education Project's "Parents Guide to the TV Ratings and V-Chip")


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"The age-based ratings system for television is a failure. There is no inter-network consistency in the ratings. Worse, there is not even intra-network consistency. In short, the age-based system, which the television industry promised would help inform and assist parents in choosing appropriate shows for their children, is making such a determination more confusing than ever before.
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But the ratings system, even with its expanded, "improved" content version, continues to fail. In practice, the ratings remain meaningless.
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"Before the system took effect, some-including Parents Television Council Founder and President, Brent Bozell-publicly predicted that the ratings system would backfire. Specifically, producers would insert edgier content into their shows and justify insertions by pointing out that attached ratings warned the audience it was coming. Did that happen? Is prime time raunchier than before the ratings system was adopted? PTC analysts found that it is more offensive than ever.
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"A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that content descriptors are not being used on the vast majority of general audience shows containing sex, violence, or adult language. Children's programs also contain a significant amount of violence, most of which is not indicated by a FV content descriptor. Read More…