Movie, TV and YouTube Ratings Guide for Parents

As parents, we are always trying to make informed and thoughtful decisions for the wellbeing of our children. We worry about what they eat, drink, read, study, and how they spend their free time. The list is endless. That’s why we welcome tools to make informed decisions especially when it comes to the television programming, movies and YouTube videos that our “digital age” children watch. Here is a quick guide to help you make the right determination for the age and maturity level of your growing child.


Film Ratings:

Film ratings are determined by the Motion Picture Association of America Rating Board. Its members are not associated with the movie industry, and no one has the authority or power to influence the Board’s decision on films.


  • Rating G – This film does not contain any offensive language or themes. While some language may not be viewed as polite by all audience members, it is frequently found in everyday use. There are no situations included that are inappropriate for children. Violence is minimal. And it incorporates no sex scenes, nudity or drug use.


  • Rating PG – This rating, as indicated by the title, requires Parental Guidance in choosing this film. Contents of this film could include profanity, some violence and brief nudity. However, the presence of these elements is not intense. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated film.


  • Rating PG-13 – Parents are strongly cautioned to consider this movie. In a PG-13 film, there is more violence, nudity, sensuality and inappropriate language or other contents than in a PG film, but these elements are not explicit enough to require a restricted R rating. Any drug use content will initially require at least a PG-13 rating.


  • Rating R – This level of rating indicates Restricted and may include strong language, violence, nudity, drug abuse, other elements and/or a combination of these elements.


Television Ratings

This rating system is a little more complex and is explained through the use of a code box usually at the top corner of the first few minutes of a show. The box indicates what age is appropriate, what the content may include, and whether the content includes sex, adult language, or suggestive dialogue.


YouTube Ratings

While millions of  free videos are added at regular intervals parents also have some level of control on this front as well. Google advises that, “You can only apply YouTube content ratings to paid content. To restrict free videos with mature content, use the Age-Restriction feature.”

A YouTube content rating labels the mature content in a video in several categories. Each category has three options that indicate the level of mature content:

  1. The first option (which is also the default) indicates no mature content in the category
  2. The middle option indicates mild mature content
  3. The third option indicates mature content that should be restricted to viewers 18 and older