You may be surprised to learn that the movie ratings given to current movies were originally designed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 1968. The current rating system we use was created in response to a self-assessment previous. system of censorship that was created in 1922, known as the hays code, when the mpaa was founded and directed by william hays. The Hays Code was developed to ensure the absence of “offensive material” and to prevent government interference in the making of films.
The current grading system we have in the US is voluntary and requires a fee for material to go through the grading process. The rating process is handled by the ratings and ratings administration (cara) through a ratings board made up of a group of independent parents who are charged with rating films that “provide parents with clear and concise information about the content of a film, in order to help them determine if a film is suitable for their children”, according to a brochure from face
During the rating process, the rating board considers things like language, gender, violence, drug use, and other situations that might be of concern to most parents. the ratings board tries to reflect what they think most other parents would give the film in the ratings.
Ratings are not designed to indicate whether movies are appropriate or inappropriate, they are simply a way of saying what type of content is included in the movie to give parents the opportunity to make informed decisions about what they are allowed to watch. to his children. . when looking for grades, look at the three parts included in a grade.
- the letter grade (g, pg, pg-13, r, or nc-17): indicates the level of content.
- the definition of grade: usually listed at the bottom box of the rating itself and gives a more detailed explanation of what that rating means. some statements may include, “some materials may be inappropriate for children under 13” or “some materials may not be suitable for children.”
- rating descriptors are generally placed to the right of the grade letter. this is always unique to each movie, but provides more detail on why the movie received a certain rating. some statements may include “extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence and frightening imagery” or “for sequences of strong violence, full language and some sexuality/nudity” or “mild language and some crude humor”.
what do movie ratings mean? Take a look at the information that cara offers below.
g: General audiences, all ages admitted. contains nothing on themes, language, nudity, sex, violence, or other matters that, in the opinion of the classification board, would offend viewers. parents whose minor children watch the film. It’s important to note that a “g” rating does not automatically make the film a children’s film or is an endorsement of the children’s film.
pg: Parental guidance suggested, some material may not be suitable for children. Parents should further investigate the film. there may be some content such as language, violence, or brief nudity, but they are not so intense as to suggest more than guidance. remember, content will vary with each movie, so check the specific rating of the movie you’re researching.
pg-13: Parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13. This rating is a stronger warning to parents that the content contained within may not be appropriate for children under the age of 13 (pre-teen ages). this may include stronger language, extended violence or sexual situations, and drug use. remember, content will vary with each movie, so check the specific rating of the movie you’re researching.
r: Restricted, children under 17 require an accompanying adult parent or guardian. This rating means the movie contains mature material, such as adult activity, harsh language, violence intense graphics, drug abuse and nudity. Most theaters have their own policies regarding R-rated movies and some include checking the IDs of those who appear to be under 17 to purchase tickets, allowing only parents to purchase tickets, and accompanying those under 17 to the movie, or simply indicate that you must be an adult guardian (not necessarily a parent) and that guardian has to buy the tickets and accompany those under 17 at all times. Check with your theater about policies and other parents about what you’ll allow your kids to watch.
nc-17: No one under 17 allowed. These movies are too adult for kids. the rating does not mean that they are obscene or pornographic, but rather that the content is only appropriate for adult audiences.
Michigan State University Extension suggests doing the following when checking movie ratings.
- critically review movie ratings. start with the movie rating, but look at all parts of the rating. see the definitions and descriptions. use these ratings as a guide for watching movies as a family.
- communicate your expectations. once you’ve decided as a family what ratings are acceptable, discuss it with your children, your friends and other adults they might watch movies with so everyone knows what’s allowed when it comes to ratings.
- talk about the movie. helps children to process what they have just seen if they can talk about it with a trusted adult. Talk about positive content that you want to model for your children. talk about negative content and how it conflicts with what your family believes or values.
- Look at the content first. Just like using technology or apps, it’s important that children Parents watch movies before their kids watch them, especially when watching pg or pg-13 movies. Watching the movie before your child lets you see firsthand what content is included and helps you develop a plan for how to talk about it with your child.
- Be open. many children will watch movies that their parents don’t want them to see; however, it’s important to encourage kids to talk to you about what they’re watching so you can help them process the content they’ve seen and answer questions.
- Check out viewer reviews. Sometimes the actual rating of the movie does not give a complete picture. Many movies will have viewer reviews that you can read online that provide more details about the content and what is included in the movie.
For more resources related to movie ratings, check out these websites:
- the ratings & Rating Management (Face)
- Common Sense Media Essentials Movie Guide
- American Academy of Pediatrics Communication Toolkit for Kids and Media
- pbs, children of parents and media
To learn about the positive impact children and families experience from MSU’s outreach programs, read our 2016 Impact Report. Additional Impact Reports are available for download, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4 -h and the msu extension had a positive impact on people and communities in 2016, from the michigan 4-h website.