My Brain Needs a Rating System!.

AuthorTremblay, Nathalie

September 1, 2020By Nathalie Tremblay

In the past few months, lack of access to my regular activities has "forced" me to make significant behavioural changes to my daily routine. Some people may have taken the opportunity to get in better physical shape or learn a new language. I will be the honest voice and admit that I have mostly increased my consumption of movie and television products - besides baking bread, of course.

Regardless of what people might think, consuming media does not necessarily stop your brain from functioning! In fact, nagging questions kept popping up every time a new movie or a fresh episode would appear on my screen: Who rates this content? Why? How does it work for different platforms? Are there laws about the classification process? These highly existential questions launched a digging expedition to satisfy my own curiosity. My findings can perhaps answer queries you have secretly been harbouring in the back of your mind but were afraid to ask!

A movie rating - or classification - is a public notice that indicates what kind of content you can expect to see. It provides people with the information they need to make informed viewing choices for themselves and their children. This type of content evaluation is about protection rather than censorship.

Rating Systems

The United States does not have laws governing the classification of films. The American film industry voluntarily participates in a rating system created by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). We (Canadian viewers) typically see these indicators as we consume a lot of American entertainment products.

In Canada, there is no federal rating system but there are associations and provincial laws that create them. Classification for home videos is usually based on the Canadian Home Video Rating System (CHVRS). Provincial laws and regulations apply to theatrical classification. Only four provinces have actual classification authorities: British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia. The other provinces and territories have agreements with one of these four boards to use their classification services.

I have just thrown a lot of organizations and acronyms at you, haven't I? Essentially what you need to know is that there are different authorities and agencies for rating films. And each authority or agency has a slightly different way of labelling content.

For example, most places have a 14A rating for films suitable for children over the age of...

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