Ratings and Parental Controls

With an increasing number of TV channels and programs coming into our homes each day, it can be hard for parents to monitor what their children are watching.
Many parents are concerned about their young children watching programs with content that's more suitable for older children or adults.

TV Ratings

In 1996, the television industry created the TV Parental Guidelines — a voluntary rating system designed to give parents information about the content of television programs. This system provides parents with information about the content and age-appropriateness of television programs. These ratings can be used in conjunction with the V-Chip blocking device contained in many television sets, and with the parental controls in cable set-top boxes, to filter out unwanted programs.


Movie Ratings

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) created the film rating system currently used in the United States, the voluntary MPAA film rating system went into effect is 1968. Since 1968, the system has been updated multiple times to include a range of rating options based off of violence, language, substance abuse, nudity and sexual content. Currently there are five rating options or a film may contain the label of Not Rated or Unrated if the film was not submitted for a rating. If a film has not yet been rated the label "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" is used in trailer and television commercials.


The V Chip - Parental Control by Ratings System

If you don't have a set-top box, your TV set may provide control features. All television sets 13-inches or larger manufactured after January 2000, and some sets sold after July 1, 1999, contain technology called the V-Chip. The V-Chip technology utilizes the industry's TV ratings system to block programs that may be of concern. If you bought your television in 2000 or later, it is likely to have a V-Chip. This device electronically reads a signal embedded in the programming and enables parents to choose the programs that they deem appropriate for their family.

The V-Chip can block by ratings which are both age and content-based. You may be familiar with the icons that appear at the beginning of television programs in the lower right-hand corner of the TV screen for the first 15 seconds of the program.

The V-Chip works differently from set to set, depending on the manufacturer. The set-up process for your V-chip can be found in the on-screen menu options or in the set's instruction manual. It is controlled through your TV set's remote.

common sense media

Comcast has partnered with Common Sense Media to integrate comprehensive ratings for content on XFINITY TV. The Parent Guide comes preloaded in many content listings. Just click on the link and get a quick assessment of the content related to Positive Messages, Violence, Sex, Language, Consumerism, Drinking & Drugs. For more information go to Common Sense Media.


Want a quick movie rating? Check out filmratings.com where you can enter a Movie Title and get the movie rating, as well as reasoning behind the rating.