The Weight (or lack thereof) Movie Ratings

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I’ll never forget how excited was when my parents began letting me see PG-13 movies. It isn’t as though I couldn’t get into them before …my parents just told me not to. If restrictions are only actually exacted for rated R and NC-17 movies how much censoring do we actually have? Would you want your 3rd grader watching PG-13?

Movie ratings provide parents with advance information about the content of movies to help them determine what movies are appropriate for their children at any age. After all,

parents are best suited to knowing each of their children’s individual

sensitivities and sensibilities to pick movies for them. Ratings are assigned by a board of parents who consider factors such as violence, sex, language and drug use, then assign a rating they believe the majority of American parents would give a movie.

Ratings do not determine if a movie is good or bad but rather to aid other parents in deciding whether or not a movie is suitable for a certain age group. Movies do not have to be submitted for rating, however when have you ever watched an unrated movie that you didn’t secretly know would deserve an adult age group rating?

So, how do ratings and censorship transfer over to TV? As media continues to grow and advance censorship continues to become more difficult. Sure there are some options like Parental Controls images-1enabled by Comcast, but how well do these systems work. According to  Raiford Guins in his essay Edited Clean Version: Technology and the Culture of Control, there are always ways to get around these. The example used is Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake in the Super Bowl Half Time Show when Jackson’s breast is exposed on national TV. Although a frat house would love this, sports events are for everyone including families with young children.

Ever since this event companies have been trying to come up with better ways to filter TV and media content. One way is through time delay, meaning something can be cut and edited before it is aired. But, who wants to watch a sports event when it isn’t live?

As we gain more and more access to media there is less control. Less control over content, viewership, and how one can enable a way to keep certain eyes and ears from seeing content they shouldn’t be seeing.

-J

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