The 3 national studies reported here were designed to find out how satisfied parents are with media rating systems, how regularly they use them, and what types of information they ideally would like to have.
Parents (n = 745, study 1; n = 768, study 2; n = 769, study 3) were surveyed nationally by independent research firms. Studies 1 and 2 were conducted by Harris Interactive, and study 3 was conducted by Research Now. All of them were cross-sectional national surveys.
Parents desire ratings for many types of media, but they do not think the existing ratings accurately provide the information they want. They would prefer ratings to provide detailed content information. In general, parents tend to agree on the types and descriptors of content about which they would like to know. They do not, however, agree on the ages for which different content aspects are appropriate. Parents would support the creation of a universal rating system that could be applied to multiple types of media.
Ratings can be effective only if they are useful for parents. This set of studies reveals that improvements in media ratings are needed to make them valuable for parents.