Why the TV MA rating is worse than R

In the evenings, the whole family sits around the TV to watch a new Hulu or Netflix series and instead sees a “TV MA” pop-up. Naturally, they would like to know what it says.

Broadcast and cable channels present viewers with various ratings to determine if their content is appropriate for a specific age group. They serve to ensure that parents determine what their children can watch.

The meaning of the term “TV MA”

This value is deciphered as “Only for an adult audience.” It states that the program is not intended for teenagers under 17 years of age.

Most likely, there is the obscene language here, there are scenes of an intimate nature or acts of cruelty. An example is the “Game of Thrones”, marked by TV MA.

TV ratings for parental control

In recent years, American content has become increasingly liberated and often contains scenes of violence. Therefore, most parents begin to worry.

TV ratings for parental control

In 1996, the country’s Congress proposed that television management assign ratings to programs. They would allow parents to form an impression of what is acceptable for their children.

Ten days later, a voluntary measurement began to draw up television recommendations. Program distributors began to provide results to viewers even before the show began to warn about the content of the content. The following are the characteristics that affect such an indicator.


This criterion is suitable for anyone, even the smallest child.


Viewing the program is allowed only from the age of 7. He needs special preparedness, which will allow children to understand the reality of the events taking place.

The “FV” symbol indicates that the program is based on fantasy content that does not exclude some violence. Usually, it is associated with an action-packed narrative.


The series is intended for all ages, although its content is not too interesting for a child. Usually, there is no violence and other non-childish scenes.


The show is able to include content that is not too suitable for those who are not yet 7. Usually, there is obscene language, sex scenes, or fights.


This movie is based on content that parents would not recommend for children under 14 to watch. It contains obscenities, swearing, intimate scenes, and acts of cruelty.


This content is intended for adults only and is not suitable for those under 17. Typically, it contains profanity, sexually explicit scenes, and violence.

Content Descriptor TV Parental Guideline

As mentioned in each of the previous sections, several main categories influence the creation of the rating: explicit scenes, vocabulary, and acts of violence.

TV Parental Guideline

The presence of each of them forms the final transmission characteristic. It sometimes contains a large number of frivolous dialogues and scenes, but there is no violence or it is not too pronounced. Therefore, the TV MA rating is provided to her.

Commonly used descriptors are:

  • D – intimate or related dialogue;
  • L – presence of non-normative expressions;
  • S – scenes of a sexual nature;
  • B – cruelty.

Different families have different approaches to raising children. Therefore, the information provided here will allow parents to more consciously approach the choice of daily viewing for their child.

In addition to the generally recognized scenes that are not intended for kids, adults may have their own educational settings. For example, they are able to turn a blind eye to sexual conversations or dialogues that are too difficult to understand but are categorically opposed to their child seeing an overly explicit scene. Then they’d better choose the “D” descriptor.

TV-MA vs. R

At first glance, the TV-MA and R ratings are very similar. But it is necessary to analyze the grounds for their characteristics.

The first type of content is for adults only and is not suitable for children under the age of 17. Programs with this indicator most often include rude repulsive words, intimate scenes, and acts of cruelty.

R allows young people to watch the program if allowed by their parents and accompanied by them. Such a series is most often based on a plot intended only for an adult audience. Often, obscene words are mentioned there, nudity is present, and plots related to drugs and other non-childish options can be shown.

TV-MA shows

In fact, R and TV-MA differ in that the former is part of the film rating system and the latter is part of the radio and television system.

It is also important that the second is considered the most limiting factor for viewing, and the first is significantly inferior to it by a similar criterion.

When ranking the show, the strictest parameter is called “NC-17”. It means that no one under the age of 17 is allowed to watch this film, even if accompanied by an adult.

As a result, TV-MA rated shows most often contain R and NC-17 content. Therefore, it was already mentioned earlier that TV MA programs in general correspond to series with the R symbol, but are somewhat inferior to it.

Preventing children from watching the MA show

Now any modern TV is equipped with a parental control system. Much here depends on the model and manufacturer of the equipment.

Many use to use services such as “Samsung TV Parental Control” or “YouTube”.

It is required to list the most famous brands of household appliances and their recommendations for this type of system:

  1. “LG”.
  2. “Samsung”.
  3. “Sony”.
  4. “TCL TV”.
  5. “Vizio TV”.

There are currently three ways in which parental controls can be used to prevent children from watching TV MA movies from cable, digital, and terrestrial broadcasts, the Smart TV app store, or the apps themselves.

Preventing children from watching the MA show

Before there were smart TVs, parents were constantly worried about the content of TV channels. Now it’s easy to just block TV-MA cable content.

Smart devices such as Roku and Firestick are provided with dozens and hundreds of different applications. They are loaded directly into the TV, and then choose the desired content.

This convenience means a very large volume of transmissions and many additional ways to view TV MA content.

The updated Parental Control does a great job of doing this. The vast majority of hardware helps block the app store, which will require a password to access. You can also set a ban on downloading new applications.

But the main and most significant advantage is the restriction of use within any platform, such as Netflix. It is also possible to set parental controls on individual profiles.

Therefore, if the child is only 15 years old and his parents do not want him to watch TV-MA programs, they just need to set up his account so that the corresponding series is immediately blocked.