Viewers Media Argumentative Persuasive EssaysTV Ratings Benefit Viewers

Four Sources Cited What we and our children are watching on TV has become a concern to many. Some feel like there should be something to help decide what they think is appropriate and what is not. So in today’s world TV ratings are a must. TV ratings might just be one of the best ways to control what is coming into our homes. With TV ratings we won’t have to research every show that our children want to see. We only have to look in the corner of the TV to see what the program might contain, and then if we don’t approve we can tell that child that he or she must change the channel. This could be a way of controlling the violence, language, sex, ect., that our children are seeing and hearing. But we have to realize that there are people out there who make a living off of TV and that this might not be the best solution for these people.

In 1996 congress passed a law about putting ratings, or as they called it codes, on TV programs. Congress told the TV industry that had to make them up or they would make them up for them and there would be no changing them. The ratings system introduced letter codes that were designed to alert parents to programs that may contain sex, violence, language or suggest an appropriate age for the viewing of that program. These kind of codes might be something like a “V” for violence, an “L” for languages, an “S” for sexual content, and some familiar signs, like PG, for parental guidance, that are used on movies today. Now that it has been a couple of years congress has been trying to come up with other ways to help control what is coming into the home through the TV. (Disconsiglio 14.)

The republicans were the ones who wanted to promote less violence on TV, so different groups of people got together and help put them in office. Then while the republicans were in office the people who helped them get there wanted the favor back. These people started to tell the people in congress that if they didn’t start to do anything about the TV problem then they tell voters in the next election that the republicans don’t really care about the future generation and what they are watching on TV. (Disconsiglio 14.) One of the ways that they are trying to show that they are interested is through the “V” chip.

This little chip will be placed inside of a TV set and when a show comes on that is violent the chip will read the rating and turn off the show. You will be able to turn this chip on and off through a numerical code on the remote control. That way, while parents are at work they don’t have to worry about their kids watching violent shows with out them knowing it. (Jones 4.) Later on they’re hoping to install other commands on the chip so that parents can stop more than just violence.

I believe that the TV station owners feel like they will be hurt financially by ratings. Some of their concerns might be: what to air, when to air it, how much of something they should air, how people are going to respond to them and the stations, and how much extra is this going to cost.

Since people are starting to depend a lot on TV ratings, I believe that TV station owners are starting to take into consideration what they should put on the air and what they shouldn’t. If one station happens to show more TV shows that are PG-14 than another station, then the station showing higher rated shows might lose ratings because parents don’t think that these shows are appropriate for their children to watch. This is a big concern for TV station owners because they need to find a happy medium between family programming and adult programming. TV stations don’t want to show too much of one and not enough of the other because you can lose viewers that way.

Something else that might bring burden to the TV station manager’s mind is what kind of movies or mini-series they will be able to show on their station. They all want to put the best shows on and have the most viewers. That way they will be making more money. A lot of the time the station owners will pick the movies and mini-series by who is in them or by who is directing them. If people know that Sandra Bullock is in a movie that a TV station is going to air there might be a lot of people who will watch because she is one of the rising stars of today. Another example is if people know that Steven Spielberg directed the movie that is going to be on that night there might be a lot of people who will tune in. Now if the movie that Spielberg directed got a “V” rating and he thinks that it’s not that violent then he might take it away from the TV station and put it on cable TV or make a movie out of it. This will cause the TV station to lose a lot of money and a lot of viewers.

Another reason that station owners might be a little miffed about the idea of TV ratings is that some advertisers might not want to be on that station because they show too much violence, language, sex, ect., and don’t want their product associated with something that shows that. They want people to think that they put their products on a station that is looking out for our nations future. So TV stations could lose the money of advertisers that way.

We know that money is a big issue that businesses have to worry about, and that includes TV stations. Like any company or business the goal is to make money. So when the station owners found out that they have to put these little symbols in the corners of the TV, there was going to be some extra cost involved with that. They had to hire special people who know how to make these signs and put them on the TV. Not only that, but the station might have had to hire a panel or a ratings expert to judge the TV shows and give them the ratings that they need so that they can be put on the air. These kinds of things add to the pay roll and the cost of labor.

One problem that could arise from panels and ratings experts is that these people could be people who are out to rid the world of violence, language, and so on. So when they see a show that has only a little violence in it they could give it a stronger rating than it deserves. That way less people will watch that show and maybe this will send a signal to the director to make shows less violent.

Now as we have seen these are all good reasons that we should not enforce TV ratings. We now realize that there are some major concerns out there and that they need to be seen so that we can get the total picture. But if we start to look at all of the good things that they have brought to us you might start to think differently.

Everywhere you go today you hear something to the effect of that the world is a lot more violent than it was 20 years ago. I believe this to be true because as times change so will people’s thinking. For example, when my Mom was little you couldn’t use the words like suck because they were almost as bad as swear word. Well, now people use these kinds of words left and right. So, maybe, if violent acts are worse now than they were 20 years ago then that means that TV is able to air things now that they weren’t able to before. Another example is shows that are rated PG-13 now are shows that would have been rated R 20 years ago.

Since we are now starting to be a little more cautious in what we are showing our children parents feel that they have the right to know what is in the shows that their kids are watching. TV ratings are a good way that parents can just look at the TV when a show comes on and tell if it is the kind of show that they want their children to see. But if parents really want to get involved with their kids they should maybe sit down with them and watch a show, or even look in something like the TV guide and read about the show. That way they can get a better description of the TV show. (Plummer 36.)

As TV station owners start to get use to the idea of ratings they’re starting to figure out when they can show things and when they can’t. For example: if TV stations start to show some of the more adult rated shows later at night and not during the day time they can still show all of the same shows. This way they won’t be showing them at time when little kids will be able to watch them. So little kids won’t be watching things that are inappropriate, but the parents might be able to watch things that are more on their level.

Being able to have the ratings system will be a benefit to families that only have one parent or to families that have to have both parents work. With the ratings appearing in the corner the parents won’t have to research everything that their kids are watching. They can just judge the show by the ratings and know right off what it is going to contain. This will take a lot of stress off of these parents and will let them concentrate more on taking care of their family. (Valenti 21.)

Something else that is good about TV ratings is that people can now sit down as a family, turn on the TV, decide what to watch by just looking in the corner of the TV set. This way people can decide if something might be too violent, have to much language, or sex. This may even help them to actually turn off the TV and go and do something else.

Now that we have been able to see both sides of the issue we are able to see that there is a good reason for us to have TV ratings. They help out families whose parents don’t have a lot of time to spend watching TV, researching shows, or calling people up to find out what a show is like. They can help reduce the violence, language, sex that our kids are able to see. They help us know what we are bringing into our homes every night. TV station owners don’t have anything to fear if they are able to know what shows are appropriate to show and at what times. If they do this then they will be able to get the ratings that they want without having to worry about all of the extra cost.

Disconsiglio, John. “The rating game: a behind-the-scenes look at the fierce lobbying battle in Washington that created the new TV ratings.” Scholastic Update 21 Feb. 1997: 14.
Jones, Lynda. “Violence censor chip.” Science World 3 May 1996: 4.
Plummer, Jamie. “TV ratings.” Consumers’ Research Magazine March 1997: 36.
Valenti, Jack. “One small but useful step forward: TV program ratings.” Vital Speeches 15 Oct. 1996: 21.