The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) provides ratings for the majority of commercially released films. The MPAA system is based largely on estimates of what types of film content may be offensive to most parents. We identify four assumptions that underlie the current rating system and show how these assumptions are inconsistent with social science research regarding the impact of media portrayals on young viewers. Finally, we offer an alternative scheme based on what is harmful to children rather than what is offensive to parents.
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