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TV Ratings: A Guide for Parents

While family is the most important influence in a child's life, media in all its forms, including TV, computers, and other screens, are not far behind. Because media can influence how children think, feel, and behave, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents to help their children form healthy media use habits early on.

TV Parental Guidelines

The TV Parental Guidelines (see chart below) rating system was created to help parents choose programs that are suitable for children. The ratings are usually included in local TV listings. Remember that ratings are not used for news programs, which may not be suitable for young children.

All TVs 13 inches or larger made in the United States after 2000 are required by federal law to have a V-chip. The V-chip allows parents to block programs based on ratings or times or to block specific shows.

For more information, go to the FCC Parents' Place Web site at

Rating Guideline​ Program description
TV-Y​ ​All children ​Appropriate for all children. Not expected to frighten younger children.
TV-Y7 ​Directed to Older Children ​For children 7 years and older. Themes and elements may include mild fantasy or comedic violence or may frighten children younger than 7.
TV-Y7-FV ​Directed to Older Children—Fantasy Violence ​Same as TV-Y7, but programs may be more intense than TV-Y7.
TV-G ​General Audience ​​Most parents may find this program suitable for all ages. Contains little or no violence, no strong language, and little or no sexual dialogue or situations.
TV-PG ​Parental Guidance Suggested ​​Parents may find material unsuitable for younger children. 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 may find some material unsuitable for children younger than 14. 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 ​​Designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children younger than 17. Contains one or more of the following: graphic violence (V), explicit sexual activity (S), or crude indecent language (L).


Last Updated
Media and Your Family: Television and Other Screens (Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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