The new system which has recently been proposed by the networks for rating television programs is a step in the right direction. But it fails to provide sufficient information for parents to make informed viewing decisions for their families, according to John Evans, editor and publisher of Preview, a family movie and TV review ministry.
News reports out of Washington say that television industry executives have reached a tentative agreement on a system that is loosely based on the categories used by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to rate movies.
Programs for general audiences will be rated in one of four categories: TV-G (general audiences), TV-PG (parental guidance suggested), TV-14 (parents strongly cautioned), TV-M (mature audiences only). Shows for children will be rated either TV-K (suitable for all children) or TV-K7 (children over age 7).
Evans says this new system will not adequately address concerns of parents who want to choose quality entertainment for their families.
“Our nationwide network of subscribers have already told us that the MPAA ratings are much too general,” says Evans, whose semi-monthly publication reviews movies and TV programs from a family and Christian perspective.
“Parents know that it’s virtually impossible to tell why a PG-rated movie is different from a PG-13, for example, without details about sexual content, violence and offensive language.
“With the proposed rating system for TV, the picture gets even fuzzier,” Evans continues. “How could anyone know why one program is rated TV-PG and another TV-14 without some additional information?”
Evans believes that the television industry is responding to pressure from the Federal Communications Commission and concerned parents, but is trying to reduce the risk of viewers avoiding any TV programs.
“We really need a system that provides specific information about a show’s content, especially since television is so easily accessible” he says. “But the TV executives probably don’t want to tell you that much, because viewers might not watch a particular show.”
Even if the TV industry won’t reveal what objectionable material is in its TV series, Evans says his Preview publication will provide specifics and help resolve the dilemma.