The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


December 17, 2013

Editorial: Parents should rate TV shows

A recent study confirmed exactly the opposite of what we all believed.

Violence on TV is more graphic on networks such as NBC, CBS and ABC. It’s tamer on cable’s premium channels, according to the Parents Television Council.

And here we all thought cable was the purveyor of all things prurient.

Scenes of mutilations, rape and shootings received a TV-14 “parents strongly cautioned” rating on network TV. Similar fare on cable received a more stringent rating of TV-MA for mature audiences.

The watchdog group studied 14 series over a four-week period including shows on NBC, CBS, Fox and CW networks. The study did not include ABC. Sorry, “Scandal.”

There were 1,482 acts that it deemed violent on cable and 1,392 on network series. All but one of NBC’s drams were considered ultra-violent yet were rated appropriate for 14-year-old children including “Hannibal” and “Revolution.”

But as we’ve learned, “Grimm” is no children’s fairy tale and “2 Broke Girls” doesn’t give financial advice for youth.

TV ratings are a quirky thing. There are seven generally given out, ranging from TV-Y (all kids can watch) to TV-MA (mature audiences only) Networks don’t want to give shows ratings to the point where no family will watch — it would diminish advertising revenue. Yet families have come to believe that the ratings accurately reflect a recommended guide for viewing.

But it’s clear that TV ratings — movies and music ratings included — are subjective. Viewers expect them to be consistent and hold TV execs and programmers accountable. But any parent knows better. It is up to every parent to sit down and watch a show with their children before allowing the child to watch TV alone.

Considerate, caring and and involved parents are the best TV rating system.

In summary TV rating systems are quirky. Parents can be the best rating system for youth.

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