Cracking the Television Code

The Motion Picture Association of America set forth standards for films.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) set forth standards for films.

The stakes are high, as the battle of the television shows rages on. Dozens of television programs pop-up each season, each with a different rating or parental guideline. But, what do these ratings mean? Whether you have children or not, deciphering these codes are a lot easier than you once may have thought.

The Targeted Audience

From the most kid-friendly shows as Sesame Street, to the most controversial programs such as MTV’s Jersey Shore, it’s important for the right audience to be reached. With this in mind, check out these ratings below:

TV Y: This program is suitable for children of all ages;

TV Y7: The program is directed toward older children. But, specifically for children age seven and above;

TV Y7 FV: The show also is directed with older children in mind. Program content is created for children age seven and above and includes strong fantasy violence;

TV G: This rating means that it is for general audiences. Many guardians would view this program as being suitable for all age groups;

TV PG: A “PG” rating means that parental guidance is suggested. The program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger audiences;

TV 14: Parents are strongly cautioned with this rating. This program contains material that many parents would find unsuitable for children less than 14 years of age;

TV MA: A program with this rating is designed for mature audiences only. Content also is specifically geared toward adults and may be unsuitable for children under 17.

What Movie Ratings Say

Along with some of the ratings from above, movies also can carry an “R,” “PG-13”  or “NC-17” rating. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has set forth standards for films in order to help parents determine if the content is acceptable for viewing.

Monster’s Ball, for example, with famed actress, Halle Berry, is rated “R” or Restricted. This means children under the age of 17, who want to see this movie require the accompanyment of a parent or guardian. According to, an R-rated motion picture contains some adult material.

What content is included in an R-rated movie? This may include adult activity, adult themes, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements.

The Ang Lee directed movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has a “PG-13” rating; meaning that parents are strongly cautioned that some contents may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13. Also according to, a PG-13 rating is a sterner warning to parents to determine whether their children under age 13 should view the motion picture. What’s more a PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in such categories as adult activities, theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language or other elements.

Oddly enough, the movie Showgirls, starring, Elizabeth Berkley, has an “NC-17” rating. No one under the age of 17 and under is admitted to view the film. An NC-17 rated motion picture is one that, many parents would consider to be too adult for their children 17 and under. However, NC-17 does not necessarily mean “pornographic” or “obscene.”

Put simply, the content is suitable for an adult audience. And, an NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and off-limits for viewing by their children.

Reading Content Labels

For good measure, we also must discuss content labels. Content labels consist of V: Violence; S: Sexual situations; L: Coarse language; D: Suggestive dialogue and FV: Fantasy Violence.

To Sum it Up

No matter what genre of television you enjoy viewing, seeing your favorite shows always is something to look forward to. The fact that there are new programs added to the line-up on a frequent basis is an even bigger bonus.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Web Links:;;

-Kimberly Williams

Leave Comment Below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.