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Parental Control - TV Rating System

For parents who want to monitor the programs their children watch, the TV rating system comes into play, rating shows from TV Y for young kids to TV M for mature audiences only. This complete guide should help.

parental control

With the increase of sex and violence on television, or as George Carlin likes to delicately put it, "Sax and Violins", parents have to be more careful than ever about what they allow their children to watch. But how do they do that? Unless they've got some kind of guide or know every movie that's ever come out there is just no way they can possibly know if a movie or program is suitable for their child.

The TV rating system to the rescue.

Essentially, the TV rating system is a system put in place that evaluates a programs sex and violence content and rates the program accordingly. This rating is then displayed, usually at the left hand corner of your TV screen. This way, when you turn a program on you will immediately know if it is something you want your child to watch. How? Well, the ratings are pretty well defined, though there are some gray areas.

Let's cover the basic ratings so you have an idea of what to expect.

TV Y - This is the lowest, or least offensive rating. A program with a TV Y rating is deemed to be appropriate for children of all ages. This can be either animated or live action. The themes of these programs are usually also geared to a very young audience between the ages of 2 and 6. This program should in no way frighten a young child.

TV Y7 - This program is usually designed for children age 7 and older. Usually this type of program is geared to children who can differentiate between make believe and reality. There may be some mild fantasy themes or comedic violence. It might be possible for children under 7 to be scared by these shows. If a show has a great deal of fantasy violence then it may be given a qualifier to this rating and be designated TV Y7 FV.

TV G - This program is for people of all ages. It is not specifically intended for young children but should be okay for them to watch. These are usually your family oriented shows that rarely if ever contain themes that may be inappropriate for children.

TV PG - This program may contain material that is not suitable for young children like mild violence or suggestions of sex. Parents may want to watch these shows with their children to answer any questions they may have about it. These programs occasionally will also have some suggestive language. TV PG shows will usually have a qualifier attached to them as well such as V for mild violence, L for language or S for sexual situations.

TV 14 - This program is for children over the age of 14. Parents are strongly cautioned to watch these shows with their kids. These programs usually have either intense violence, strong sexual situations, strong language or very suggestive dialogue.

TV MA - These programs are intended for mature audiences only. These are usually not for children under 17 and usually contain either graphic violence, explicit sex, or very crude language. Qualifiers will be attached to these as well so the parent knows what is contained. But most likely it won't matter as they probably won't want their kids to watch these shows anyway.

With the above guidelines, parents should have no trouble monitoring what they want their children to watch.


V-Chips Allow Parents To Control Children's TV Programming At Home

While parents want to protect their children from offensive or inappropriate TV programming, many don't know that the tools they need may already be right in their living room.

V-Chips Allow Parents To Control Children's TV Programming At Home

While parents want to protect their children from offensive or inappropriate TV programming, many don't know that the tools they need may already be right in their living room. Every TV 13-inches and larger built since 2000 contains a V-chip, which can block individual channels or programs depending on content. This technology lets parents, not broadcasters, determine what is appropriate for their children to see and hear on TV.

Most television shows now include a rating, as established by the broadcasting industry. The rating icon is displayed in the upper left hand corner at the start of the program and succeeding hours if the program is longer than one hour. This rating also is encoded into the programs, so the V-chip technology can read the encoded information and block shows according to parental presets. Using the remote control, parents can program the V-chip to block certain shows based on their ratings. Because programs are rated by episode, ratings may vary from week to week and be blocked accordingly.

To use the V-chip, follow the directions using the TV's on-screen menu. Each brand and model may have somewhat different procedures, but none is difficult. There also are written instructions in the owner's manual. The V-chip is activated by using a password or code. Any change requires the user to know the code, therefore children will not be able to change the settings.

Although cable and satellite set-top boxes have their own parental controls, each TV has its own so it's possible to block programs or channels even if the TV signal is received over the air. The V-chip also can be used to block uncut and unedited movies that run on premium channels using the MPAA rating system.


Should TV Bring Back Room 222?

Every profession could use a good TV show to help it flourish in tough times. With No Child Left Behind, maybe teachers need one more than ever.

I've heard most of the arguments on why this happens: pay, working conditions, job satisfaction, bureaucracy, lost tenure, ad infinitum. If you're reading this story, I'm sure you have too.

I know that students decided to become teachers for reasons other than money, and they didn't begin their working life expecting the other ...

Education, TV, Room 222, Boston Public, No Child Left Behind, teachers, public school

Every profession could use a good TV show to help it flourish in tough times. With No Child Left Behind, maybe teachers need one more than ever.

I've heard most of the arguments on why this happens: pay, working conditions, job satisfaction, bureaucracy, lost tenure, ad infinitum. If you're reading this story, I'm sure you have too.

I know that students decided to become teachers for reasons other than money, and they didn't begin their working life expecting the other negatives. They must have inspired by something, maybe a teacher who took a personal interest, or turned them on to learning. Or, maybe it was attraction of having summers off.

I can say one thing, for sure. Teachers were rarely "made" because of Hollywood; film and television producers have done little in recent years to portray teaching in an honest and positive light. They've certainly done a lot for the images of law enforcement, crime scene investigation and medicine, but not K-12 education.

If you are in your thirties or forties, what movies and TV shows about teachers come to mind?

Welcome Back Kotter (1975-79) was hilarious. Having grown up in New Jersey, I admit that I'm a huge fan, because the show made fun of Brooklyn. But my Hebrew school friends imitated the "Sweathogs," the remedial rowdies in Kotter's class. Even the nerdy girls dreamed of being with Vinnie Barbarino, Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington and Juan Epstein, the Puerto Rican Jew, while the guys shot their hands up, shouting "Ooh! Ooh!" like Arnold Horshack. Like the Sweathogs, my classmates wanted to annoy and bury the teachers, not praise them.

Boston Public (2000-2004) was created by David E. Kelley, who also brought us LA Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, Doogie Howser M.D. and Picket Fences. The latter featured Fyvush Finkle as a doddering attorney. Thanks to Kelley, he later plays Harvey Lipshultz, a doddering widowed social studies teacher. Harvey was not exactly a role model for someone starting a teaching career. Chi McBride played Steven Harper, the fair-minded principal to near perfection, though I could not same the same for his vice principals: Scott Guber (played by Anthony Heald), the authoritarian dork and Ronni Cooke (played by Jeri Ryan, of Borg collective fame in Star Trek Voyager), a lawyer-turned-teacher who directs the school to teach to standardized tests. They were not exactly role models for teachers who aspired to become principals.

Then there are movies such as: The Blackboard Jungle (1955), To Sir, with Love (1967), Class of 1984 (1982), The Principal (1987), Stand and Deliver (1988), Lean on Me and Dead Poets Society (both 1989), Class of 1999 (1990), Dangerous Minds (1995), The Substitute (1996), One Eight Seven (1997), and Freedom Writers (2007). They all revolve around the same theme: an idealistic young teacher struggles to reach their students and unsuccessfully navigates the educational bureaucracy in an urban public school, before stumbling on their own success formula. The ending to any of the movies is the same: the teachers are popular, even loved, and with their students behind them, they teach on.

But that's not real life, that's the entertainment 'biz.

Would a serious television drama that better depicts teachers in real life actually succeed? Could it inspire young people to become teachers?

In other words, what if we brought back Room 222, in re-runs, or updated for today?

Room 222 aired on ABC from September 17, 1969 to January 11, 1974 for 112 episodes. It was centered around an American History class at Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles, taught by Pete Dixon (Lloyd Haynes), an African-American teacher. Other characters featured in the show were guidance counselor Liz McIntyre (Denise Nicholas) as Pete's girlfriend; the principal, Seymour Kaufman (Michael Constantine) and Alice Johnson (Karen Valentine) as a student teacher. In addition, recurring students were featured from episode to episode.

Pete Dixon, the main character, was not much different from the idealistic teachers in the movies, though Haynes' acting made him far more believable. While I remember Karen Valentine's character as being somewhat ditzy, the others appeared genuine and not ridiculously overconfident. They talked amongst each other about how to improve their teaching and best act in loco parentis, without trying too hard to be mom or dad to their students.

Like the movies, Room 222 tried to address contemporary political issues of the 1960’s and 70’s such as homosexuality, war, race relations and woman's rights. The show boiled a lot of content into half an hour. Boston Public needed an hour to deal with three similar themes in a single episode.

But unlike the movies, the teachers didn't always conjure heroics and the students were not always cheering at the end. There were tragedies: the ex-Marine who couldn't play high school baseball after coming home from Vietnam, for example, or more sadly, a bright and promising senior who dies of leukemia. Teachers and the principal showed their warts. Seymour Kaufman was the type of principal that any teacher would like to have for a boss. He was the Sherman Potter (of M*A*S*H fame) of high school principals, minus the Midwestern witticisms.

Did Room 222 succeed?

It almost didn't: weak early ratings almost led ABC to pull the show after the first season, but Room 222 ended up winning the Emmy for Best New Series at season's end. Room 222 was nominated for seven Emmy awards and seven Golden Globes between 1970 and 1971.

More amusing, Lloyd Haynes and Karen Valentine won TV Land Awards as Teacher of the Year and Classic TV Teacher of the Year -- thirty years after Room 222 went off the air!

ABC launched Room 222 in the same year as The Brady Bunch. Their final episodes concluded only two months apart. Yet, while we fondly remember the Brady's through numerous spin-offs and regular re-runs, we do not find Room 222 episodes in syndication today. I guess that comedies are more marketable on the re-run stations during prime time.

Would Room 222 succeed today, in a similar format? I'm not sure. Room 222's story lines showed open discussion and problem solving; the teachers rarely complained about the task of teaching. None of them kvetched about the low pay, or the students they taught. Teachers, like the crusty Mr. Dragan (Ivor Francis) who had traditional teaching styles were frequently portrayed as jaded. Today, the most fervent advocates of No Child Left Behind would laud them as teachers and scholars.

A Room 222 for the 2000's would have its share of hits and misses in political correctness. There may be too much competition for a major network to take the risk. These days, you're more likely to see a well-developed show covering the themes in Room 222 on HBO and their cable kin. They're more comfortable with serious, controversial programming, such as Mad Men, Big Love and The Sopranos.

Maybe the reason we don't have a teacher's docudrama is that parents don't want to hear teachers complain about a tough day at work, after they've had their own bad days at work. Parents do not usually have sympathy for teachers; otherwise, they'd always support school budget proposals.

It's also possible that parents do not want their children to know that their teachers work for a living -— and that teachers consider teaching a job, as opposed to a calling.

That's a natural, but over-protective, impulse.

Parents don't want their kids to grow up to be Sweathogs.


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