What Does TV MA Mean? (Difference R rating)

You have seen “TV MA” on a TV program, serie or movie and wonder what does TV-MA means?

TV-MA is a rating given to a content on TV. It is a rating in the United States. Parental Guidelines determine the TV-MA rating to help parents know the appropriate age target. This type of content is meant to adults only.

What Does TV MA Mean?

TV-MA stands for “TV-Mature Audience”. This is a TV rating assigned to a TV program or movie when the content is suitable for adults only. TV-MA content usually show graphic violence, sex scenes and or coarse language. TV-MA rating means children under 17 can’t see this content.

What age is TV-MA for?

TV-MA is an age-based rating. It means the content is unsuitable for children under 17.

You want to make sure your children won’t watch unsuitable content on TV.

What are Parental Guidelines ratings?

TV Parental Guidelines ratings were created in January 1, 1997. They were created by the FCC (Federal communication television), which is a company dedicated to creating the standards for broadcast television in the United States.

The purpose of the parental guidelines is to help TV viewers and parents know what they are watching or what their children are watching. They know what to expect.

There are 6 ratings + 1 extra rating , which are TV-Y, TV-Y7 (or TV-Y7 FV), TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-MA

Basically, TV shows present ratings before the programming begins, alerting viewers that the content they are about to watch belongs to one category.

There are the 6 ratings with their logos and meaning:

TV-Y (babies + young kids)

TV-Y logo means young. The program is aimed at a very young audience, including children from ages 2 to 6.

TV-Y7 (kids)

TV-Y7 means a program is designed for children age 7 and above.

– Extra rating TV-Y7 FV (kids)

Some programs may add 2 letters “FV” when a TV-Y7 rated content shows “fantasy violence“.

TV-G (everyone)

TV-G means General audience, a program suitable for all ages. This content contains little or no violence, no strong language, and little or no sexual dialogue nor images.

TV-PG (teens)

TV-PG means Parental guidance is recommended. It is often seen on prime time. These programs may be unsuitable for younger children because the content may contain strong language, little sexual content and/or references, moderate violence and/or suggestive dialogue and some sexual content or partial nudity, which may not be suitable for young children.

TV-14 (older teens)

TV-14 means this program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age. Programs with this rating may include indecent language, intense sexual content and violence.

TV-MA (adults)

TV-MA means Mature Audience a program intended to be viewed by adults only and may be unsuitable for children under 17. Programs with this rating may include crude indecent language, explicit sexual activity and graphic violence.

TV Parental Guideline content descriptors

Because each program can show different type of content (violence, language, sex…), or all of them at sonce, content descriptors were added to help describe better the content type with sub-ratings (with letters D,L,S,V).

  • D – Sexual or suggestive dialogue
  • L – Coarse or crude language
  • S – Sexual situations
  • V – Violence

Some content could only show one letter while others could show all 4 letters and be much stronger content.

How to Prevent Children From Watching TV-MA Content?

As a parent, there are several ways to prevent or block content to children.

You can block TV-MA access with various ways:

  • from your smart TV
  • from you internet provider
  • from streaming apps /profiles
  • or removing their bedroom smart TV

First, you can look for your smart TV brand parental control to find how to block the access to TV-MA content. For example, Samsung explains how to block programs by rating on their TVs.

You will find the same for your TV brand, just google it.

Your internet provider makes it possible for you to block TV-MA content access.

Eventually you can also use a TV-MA parental control app or software to prevent your child from watching content.

Finally, you can remove their bedroom small smart TV.

How to Prevent Children From Watching TV-MA Content on streaming apps?

Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, HBO max and Prime video also offer the ability to restrict access based on their rating. You can even block TV-MA content to a specific profile and not for the rest of the family.

Most TVs makes it possible to require a password to access certain apps. However, you can also restrict access within each app.

With Netflix, you can set parental controls for individual profiles. So if you don’t want your children to watch TV-MA content, you can set up his profile to block TV-MA content automatically.

Ratings on Netflix

As you probably know, each streaming app has its own rating and the rating can differ from a country to an other.

Hopefully, Netflix uses in the United States and Canada the same rating as the Parental Guidelines ratings. You can set a maturity rating level for a profile on your Netflix account:

  • go to Profile / Parental Controls
  • choose a profile / select Viewing Restrictions
  • set a maturity level

You can also block specific shows and movies for profiles.

More info about Netflix maturity ratings for United Kingdom and Australia.

Difference between TV-MA and R Rating

TV-MA for mature audience is a rating applied to movies and TV shows created by the FCC (Federal communication television) with the rating intended to indicate that a program is suitable for mature audiences only.

TV-MA includes scenes of explicit violence, strong sexual content, strong language, nudity and coarse humor. It is considered unsuitable for children and teenagers. This younger audience should not be exposed to any content rated TV-MA. It is the highest rating.

R for restricted is a film rating level created by the MPA (Motion picture association). It is above PG-13 but below NC-17. PG-13 stands for Parental guidance for children under 13 means some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

NC-17 stands for No children 17 and under with or without adult supervision, typically because of extreme sexual visuals and / or violence. R rated content is almost as strict as the TV-MA rating.

Popular Shows on Netflix that are TV-MA

There are some popular Netflix shows and series that are TV-MA rated. They include heavy cursing, graphic violence and or nudity:

  • House of the Dragon
  • Sandman
  • Better call Saul
  • Game of Thrones
  • Echos
  • Only murders in the building
  • The Boys
  • Black Bird
  • The Walking Dead
  • Westworld
  • The Rehearsal
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Yellowstone
  • Severance
  • The Bear
  • Glow
  • Ugly Delicious
  • Russian Doll
  • Special
  • and many more…

Is TV-MA the same as R on Netflix?

TV-MA content worse than R rated content.

It is the most restricted or censored form of television that airs in the United States. It is designed to control the viewer’s age and can only be viewed by adults over 17 years old.

TV-MA means children 17 or below are not allowed to watch this content even with adult consent.

You typically find this content on cable networks and subscription channels like HBO and others. R rating is almost the equivalent on Netflix but not as strict.

R means Children below 17 can’t watch the show without adult supervision but can do it with an adult.

Which is worse rated R or TV-MA?

TV-MA is the highest rating and the most restricted of all ratings on TV. R rating is almost equivalent or almost the same because it is above PG-13 but below NC-17.

Is TV-MA the same as PG 13?

No, there is a difference. While PG13 is not suitable for children under 13, TV-MA is not suitable for children and teenagers under 17.

Wrapping it up

The TV-MA rating means the content is for “Mature Audience”. This rating helps identify a TV program that contains material that is appropriate for mature audiences only. It is the highest rating.

You can find a TV-MA rating on a TV program if it contains coarse language, violence, or sexual content. You can find TV-MA content on TV, in movies and on video games too.

Parental controls help parents to know if a content is suitable for their children. TV-MA is the highest rating.

TV MA is usually considered equivalent of an R rated movie, although TV MA can be considered a little more restrictive has it is not allowed below age 17 while R rated is also not suitable for children below 17 but tolerated under adult supervision.

The TV-MA rating is shown on the top left TV screen when the content is seen, but it is shown on the rating symbol.

As a parent, you can use parental controls to block access to TV MA content. You can block TV-MA access with various ways:

  • from your smart TV
  • from streaming apps /profiles
  • from you internet provider
  • or removing their bedroom smart TV

You now know everything about TV ratings, its meaning and how to Prevent Children From Watching TV-MA Content.