Motion Picture Association (MPA): American Parents’ views of Movie Ratings

PSB Insights worked with the MPA to develop a comprehensive, quantitative view of U.S. parents’ perceptions, attitudes, and expectations regarding movie content and the film rating system. In addition to survey interviews with 1,500 parents of children aged 5-16, PSB used advanced analytics to uncover how parents view and utilize the rating system and identified specific content concerns and how they are associated with different rating levels.

Full report is available here.​

Key Findings:
The research found that American parents overwhelmingly believe the Motion Picture Association’s film ratings are accurate and that they help them make better movie choices for their families:

  • 86% of American parents are familiar with the ratings, and 77% are familiar with the rating descriptors.
  • 91% find both the ratings and rating descriptors helpful.
  • 84% believe the ratings are accurate, and 86% find the rating descriptors accurate.
  • 81% felt that the movies they had seen in the past year had the appropriate rating.
  • Parents in the South Atlantic (89%), Midwest/West North Central (86%), and the West/Pacific (85%) find the ratings most accurate.
  • 95% of American parents look up information on the ratings when considering a movie for their child to see.

The research delved further into parents’ specific content concerns, utilizing advanced analytics to assign a precise statistical ‘weight’ to each instance of a particular type of concerning content, across a range of genre contexts. This analysis found that parents are most concerned with graphic sexual content, nudity, sexual assault, use of hard drugs, suicide and use of the “N-word” appearing in movies their children might see. These content types are the most likely to be considered completely inappropriate for PG-13 movies. Parents are more divided when it comes to onscreen depictions of violence in PG-13 movies, where the type of violence depicted (e.g. sword/knife violence vs. gun violence), the relative degree of graphicality, and the quantity/frequency of violence play an important role in determining the appropriate rating.​

Coverage Includes:
Fox News: Parents warn movie ratings system giving out too many PGs, PG-13s to films with excessive violence, profanity

For more information, please contact Sonny Sidhu at [email protected]

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