Home from school with spare time, the summer offers many children the opportunity to watch more television. While each individual family has its own standards for deciding what’s appropriate for its children to watch, the TV Parental Guidelines is a helpful resource to help parents make informed decisions on which programs are suitable for their children.
What are the TV Parental Guidelines?
Since the late 1990s, virtually all programs that air on television—with the exception of news and sports—are assigned a rating that provides parents information about the content and age-appropriateness of the program. These ratings, called the TV Parental Guidelines, fall into two groups: ratings for programming created specifically for children and ratings for programming intended for general audiences.
The TV Parental Guidelines are designed to be easily recognizable and simple to use. The Guidelines appear in the upper left corner of the TV screen in the first 15 seconds of the program and often reappear after commercial breaks. While most programs on television are rated, television commercials are not and cannot be blocked through parental controls.
Understanding the TV Ratings
How Can the Guidelines be Used with Parental Controls?
Families can use the TV Parental Guidelines simultaneously with parental controls in TV sets and cable and satellite set top boxes to block programs they believe are unsuitable for their children. Parents have the ability to block programs based on both the age-based ratings as well as the content descriptors.
Contacting the TV Monitoring Board
The Monitoring Board is responsible for overseeing the TV Parental Guidelines and for working to ensure uniformity and consistency in the application of the guidelines. Parents can find more information about the ratings and the board at TVGuidelines.org.
Viewers can also contact the board by mail, phone or email with any questions or complaints about TV ratings.
Missi Tessier is the executive secretariat at the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board.
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