17. Media Rating System

A mandatory, standardized rating system should be applied to all media (books, magazines, Internet sites, movies, videos, games, even stores/shops, etc.). Such a rating system should include categories of offenses, such as violence, foul language, explicit sexual content, etc. Each product should then state on its label how many instances of each of these categories are included in the product. For example, if foul language is used 20 times throughout a movies or song, that product should have the symbol for foul language (or the phrase “foul language”) written on the packaging or label with the number 20 right next to it. The same should be true for each of the other categories. The number of seconds of nudity or explicit sexual content should likewise be clearly stated.

All media packages (like DVD, etc.) should be required to carry ratings for its entire content, either one comprehensive rating or, perhaps, a rating for various sections. For example, it is common practice for movies shown in theaters to contain one rating while that same movie on a DVD may require a different rating due to additional material. Also, many DVDs often contain extra footage, like commentaries, trailers, alternate endings, deleted scenes, etc.) that may often contain material (usually spicier material) that would make the whole DVD earn a different rating (usually, a more restricted rating). Currently, many such DVDs carry an ‘unrated’ rating. This practice should be prohibited.

An internet database listing every single media product that has ever been released (movies, TV shows, books, etc.) should be constructed and made available to the public, free of charge. This database would be searchable using these media rating criteria. For example, if somebody wants to find a movie with only 10 or fewer curse words in it, they could go to the movie’s section of the database and submit this requirement. The database would then return a complete listing of movies that only meet this requirement. People who only want to search through G rated movies could do so very easily. The same could be done for books, magazines, websites, etc.

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