Study: Current TV Ratings System is a Failure
What are your kids likely to see when they view TV programming that is rated TV-PG? Oftentimes, they are exposed to violence, explicit content, and profanity without warning. That’s the finding of a study conducted by the Parents Television Council (PTC); the results of the study were released last Wednesday. During the study, the PTC examined the type and amount of explicit content in TV-PG rated shows that aired during primetime within a two-week period in 2011. According to the PTC, its findings were consistent across all networks that provide TV-PG rated programming.
The TV ratings program and the V-Chip were touted by the industry as tools to help parents protect their children from being exposed to content they considered to be harmful, inappropriate, or offensive. But “the findings of today’s report suggest that the industry ‘remedy’ is a failure,” PTC President Tim Winter is quoted as having said.
According to the report, broadcast networks produce and rate their own content. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that such a system is flawed due to the obvious conflict of interest. As stated in PTC’s report, “An accurate and accountable system would steer informed families and many advertisers away from harsh content, costing the networks a material loss in revenue.” And we all know that the networks are not interested in reducing their viewing audience but increasing it.
In my view, much of today’s TV programming is become increasingly trashy. It’s as if the networks believe that the only thing that sells these days is sex, violence, and profanity. I know—it’s all about getting the ratings up and beating out the competition. The end result is that networks continue to push the envelope in terms of what they air, and those parents who want to protect their children from objectionable content on TV have no effective tools to help them do so.
According to the PTC, the TV Ratings Monitoring Board is supposed to provide oversight for the ratings system, but it lacks any accountability or transparency. The PTC is calling on Congress, the FCC, and the television industry to address the failures of the current content ratings system and to replace it with a system that’s accurate, transparent, and accountable to the public. To this end, following the release of its study, the PTC has sent letters to all Members of Congress.
Copyright ©2012 by Frank King. All rights reserved.