Today the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board delivered key findings of a recent survey conducted on the TV Parental Guidelines to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  More than 90 percent of parents say they are aware of the TV Parental Guidelines Ratings System, while over two-thirds say they use the ratings to manage their family TV viewing, according to this new study conducted on behalf of the Monitoring Board.  The high visibility of the TV ratings and significant usage by parents demonstrate that the ratings system is providing a valuable resource to millions of U.S. families, representatives of the Monitoring Board said.

Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates conducted two Internet-based surveys.  The first was a national survey of 1,001 parents of children 2 through 17 years old, conducted November 15 to 22, 2011.  The second was a national survey of 500 teens, ages 13 to 17, conducted December 4 to 18, 2011.  The samples for each survey are proportional to available census data for geographic region, gender, race and age. It assessed awareness, use and satisfaction with the guidelines.

Fifteen years ago, the television industry pledged to provide parents and caregivers with the essential information they need to help supervise television viewing in their homes.  According to representatives of the Monitoring Board, this new research shows that parents have come to rely on the TV ratings system as a key tool in helping them monitor the shows their kids watch.

Among the top-line findings in the survey:

  • 93 percent of parents and 82 percent of teens said they are aware of the TV ratings system
  • 88 percent of parents and 81 percent of teens said they are aware that parental ratings for television programs appear on screen at the start of shows on broadcast and cable television
  • 69 percent of parents view the TV ratings system favorably
  • 68 percent of parents say they use the TV ratings system; the level of use peaks at 77 percent among parents of children who are 6 to 10 years old
  • 69 percent of parents with a high school or less-than-high-school education, and 70 percent of parents with college experience less than the degree level, have used the TV ratings system
  • 91 percent of African American parents, and 84 percent of Hispanic parents, said they find the TV ratings system helpful; and 77 percent of African American parents and 72 percent of Hispanic parents have used the TV ratings system to help make viewing decisions for their families 
  • 88 percent of parents were aware that the TV ratings system provides guidance based on the age of the child, and 82 percent of parents were aware that the TV ratings system provides information about the content of a program using letters (e.g., L for coarse language, V for violence, etc.)
  • 67 percent of parents that subscribe to multichannel video services from a cable or satellite company are aware that their provider offers parental controls
  • 36 percent of parents use either a V-Chip or cable/satellite-provided parental controls

The survey also indicated that many parents personally supervise television viewing in the home.  Among the parents who report never having used parental controls, more than two-thirds of them said it was because “an adult is usually nearby when [their] children watch TV.”

Furhter information on key findings by the researchers is linked below.