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Am Psychol. 2003 Feb;58(2):130-41.

Media ratings for violence and sex. Implications for policymakers and parents.

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Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, W112 Lagomarcino Hall, Ames, IA 50011-3180, USA.


This article reviews research on the implementation of media-rating systems, parents' use and evaluation of them, and the impact of ratings on children. Although half or more of parents report using media-rating systems, understanding of various components of the systems is low, particularly for television ratings. A meta-analysis of national polls shows that parents overwhelmingly prefer that ratings specify content, rather than giving age recommendations. A second meta-analysis, of experiments testing the effects of ratings on children's interest in programs, shows that ratings indicating restricted or controversial content have a deterrent effect for children under age 8 but that, by age 11 and especially for boys, the ratings show a small enticement effect. This effect occurs for both age-based and content-based ratings. Implications for policymakers and parents are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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