Profanity, Violence More Prevalent in Kid-Rated Content, Says PTC

LOS ANGELES—There is more profanity and violence in primetime programming presently than there was a decade ago, according to a new research report from the Parents Television Council. Despite the increase in these shows, PTC points out that there have not been changes in the age-based content ratings used by the networks.

For programs rated TV-PG, PTC found that there was 28% more violence and 43.5% profanity in primetime broadcast programs from the 2017 and 2018 TV season than the 2007 and 2008 season. For TV-14 programs, PTC found a more than 150% increase in violence and 62% increase in profanity using the same years.

Other findings from PTC’s report indicate that there are now more TV-14 rated shows than those rated TV-PG, while from 10 years ago the opposite was true. In both time periods, there were no shows that earned a TV-G rating during “sweeps” period on Fox, CW and ABC, while the overall number of TV-G rated shows number five or fewer.

“Simply put, parents cannot possibly rely on a TV content rating system that labels increasingly graphic content as appropriate for children,” said Tim Winter, PTC president.

In May, the FCC released its own report on its review of the current television content rating system, where it said “that sufficient concerns have been expressed” about the accuracy of the ratings, though no official conclusion was reached.

The PTC says that Congress has not effectively acted following this report and is calling on Congress “that the TV content ratings system, and the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board, is overhauled to improve the accuracy, consistence, transparency and public accountability of the TV ratings.

“It is time for the TV content ratings system to reflect the realities of today’s entertainment media technologies and cultural landscape. Bold, positive and comprehensive improvements to a 22-year-old system are needed to bring it to the 21st century.”