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TV Parental Guidelines and MPAA Ratings


The TV ratings system, or TV Parental Guidelines, are modeled after the ratings provided by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

With the exception of Sports and News programs all television programs are rated, including those directed specifically to young children.

On Screen Display

A program’s rating displays in the upper left-hand corner of the television screen for 15 seconds at the beginning of the program. The ratings are also printed in some newspapers and other program guides.

TV Parental Guidelines and the V-Chip

The TV Parental Guidelines can be used in conjunction with the V-Chip ( built into most TVs) to allow parents to block programs. Additionally, Cox Receivers are also equipped with blocking and locking features. The V-chip is available in most TV sets with screens 13" or larger. The settings are password protected and can be changed at any time.

Rating IconDescription
Image of TV Y rating

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.

Image of TV Y 7 rating

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 violence 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.

Image of TV Y 7 F V rating

Directed to Older Children - Fantasy Violence. For those programs where fantasy violence may be more intense or more combative than other programs in this category, such programs will be designated TV-Y7-FV.

Image of TV G rating

General Audience. Most parents would find this program suitable 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.

Image of TV PG rating

Parental Guidance Suggested. This program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. Many parents may want to watch it with their 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)
  • Some suggestive dialogue (D)
TV 14 rating

Parents Strongly Cautioned. This program contains some material that many 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)
  • Intensely suggestive dialogue (D)
TV M A rating

Mature Audiences 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)
  • Crude indecent language (L)

Contact TV Parental Guidelines

You can contact TV Parental Guidelines by mail at the following address.

TV Parental Guidelines
Post Office Box 14097
Washington, DC 20004

MPAA Ratings

The movie rating system is a voluntary system sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners to provide parents with advance information on films.

Rating IconDescription
Image of General Audiences rating

General Audiences. All ages admitted. This signifies that the film rated contains nothing most parents will consider offensive for even their youngest children to see or hear. Nudity, sex scenes, and scenes of drug use are absent; violence is minimal; snippets of dialogue may go beyond polite conversation but do not go beyond common everyday expressions.

Image of Parental Guidance Suggested rating

Parental Guidance Suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. This signifies that the film rated may contain some material parents might not like to expose to their young children - material that will clearly need to be examined or inquired about before children are allowed to attend the film. Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.

Image of Parents Strongly Cautioned rating

Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. This signifies that the film rated may be inappropriate for pre-teens. Parents should be especially careful about letting their younger children attend. Rough or persistent violence is absent, sexually-oriented nudity is generally absent, some scenes of drug use may be seen, and one use of the harsher sexually derived words may be heard.

Image of Restricted rating

Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian (age varies in some locations). This signifies that the rating board has concluded that the film rated contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their children to see it. An R may be assigned due to, among other things, a film's use of language, theme, violence, sex or its portrayal of drug use.

Image of No One Under 17 and Under Permitted rating

No One 17 and Under Admitted. This signifies that the rating board believes that most American parents would feel that the film is patently adult and that children age 17 and under should not be admitted to it. The film may contain explicit sex scenes, an accumulation of sexually-oriented language, or scenes of excessive violence. The NC-17 designation does not, however, signify that the rated film is obscene or pornographic.

Rating X. Initially, it meant the same thing as NC-17, except that it was not trademarked. Any film could rate itself X, without submission to the MPAA. X rapidly grew to indicate hard core sex films. A few years ago, the MPAA replaced X with NC-17, to answer critics who claimed that the stigma of the X rating was preventing legitimate adult films from being made.

Contact MPAA

You can contact MPAA by mail at the following address.

The Classification and Rating Administration
15503 Ventura Boulevard
Encino, CA 91436

Rating Resources

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