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Health & Parenting

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Parents Rate the Media Rating System

Study Shows Many Parents Want to See Improvements in TV and Movie Rating Systems

Parental Decision-Making

Researchers say opinions differed widely depending on whether participants identified as frequent or infrequent churchgoers.

For example, 15% of infrequent churchgoers indicated they would always filter out sexy commercials, and 6% found these commercials inappropriate for all ages.

But 39% of frequent churchgoers indicated they would filter out sexy commercials, and 21% found them inappropriate for all viewers.

Researchers reached a number of key conclusions. For example, they say that:

  • Parents want detailed content ratings along with age-based ratings.
  • Ratings only are effective if they can help parents make decisions, but current systems vary and can be confusing
  • Different demographics variables, such as church attendance and personal values, may be related to perceptions of age appropriateness for different kinds of content.
  • It would be impossible to have age-based ratings that would be deemed suitable by all demographic groups; content-based ratings may be preferable to age-based ratings.

"Clearly defined and available content descriptors provide the most information and they allow parents to make their own decisions about age appropriateness," the researchers write.

"Our studies revealed that parents not only want changes to the ratings, but that they would support the creation of a universal system," the researchers write. "Given that we are well on the way to digital 'convergence,' where one can watch movies, television shows, or video games all on the same device, it seems that the time may be right to begin seriously considering taking this next step to improve media ratings."

The research is published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

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