Marriage, Family, and Society

The Point: MPAA Ratings: Protecting Immorality Since 1968


John Stonestreet

Parents should be doing the rating.

The Motion Picture Association of America’s movie rating scale is turning 50 years old. Many parents rely on the scale as a guide for movies for their families, but the original purpose behind the ratings wasn’t so family-friendly.

As World Magazine recently reported, before there was PG, PG-13, and R, MPAA guidelines forbid certain content. But the guidelines failed to keep filmmakers from cashing in on America’s declining moral standards, and so came the rating scale, which freed movie makers to do what they wanted.

Most Christian parents today would consider an R-rating as a sign of a movie being inappropriate. But thanks to what’s known as “ratings creep,” more and more PG-13 movies contain excessive violence, profanity, and sexual content.

So a quick glance at a movie’s rating isn’t a reliable way to discern the appropriateness of a movie for you or your child. Instead, we have to do our homework.

Because as WORLD suggests, rating scale or no, parental guidance is always suggested.



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