TV Parental Guidelines

Friday, March 13, 1998

The guidelines include six descriptive labels designed to indicate the appropriateness of a television program to children according to age and/or maturity. The guidelines apply to all television programming except for news, sports and unedited movies with Motion Picture Association of America ratings.

The rating icons and associated content symbols will appear for 15 seconds at the beginning of all rated programming.

For programs designed solely for children, the ratings are:

  • TV-Y – All children. Whether animated or live-action, the themes and elements in this program are specifically designed for a very young audience, including children from ages 2 to 6. This program is not expected to frighten younger audiences.
  • TV-Y7 – Directed to older children. It may be more appropriate for children who have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish between make-believe and reality. Themes and elements in this program may include mild fantasy or comedic violence or may frighten children under the age of 7. Programs with more intense or more combative fantasy violence will be designated TV-Y7-FV.

For programs designated for the entire audience, the ratings are:

  • TV-G – General audience. Although this rating does not signify a program designed specifically for children, most parents may let younger children watch this program unattended. It contains little or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or situations.
  • TV-PG – Parental guidance suggested. Many parents may want to watch it with their younger children. The theme itself may call for parental guidance and/or the program contains one or more of the following: moderate violence – V; some sexual situations – S; infrequent coarse language – L; or some suggestive dialogue – D.
  • TV-14 – Parents strongly cautioned. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program contains one or more of the following: intense violence – V; intense sexual situations – S; strong coarse language – L; or intensely suggestive dialogue – D.
  • TV-MA – Mature audience only. This program contains one or more of the following: graphic violence – V; explicit sexual activity – S; or crude indecent language – L.

V-chip specifications
The commission requires all television manufacturers to include v-chip technology on at least half of their product models with a picture screen of 13 inches or larger by July 1, 1999, and on all of their models by Jan. 1, 2000. The commission also requires personal computers with television tuners and 13-inch screens or larger to include the v-chip.
The commission requires the v-chip technology to respond to the TV Parental Guidelines and the MPAA rating system.