tion with the alcohol industry, the music recording industry should work to bar alcohol placement in music videos aimed at underage audiences. Finally, the music recording industry should increase consumer and parental understanding of the improved rating system. In its December 2001 report on the marketing of violent entertainment to children, the FTC found that all of the 55 recordings in their study with explicit lyrical content (pertaining to violence) were targeted to children under the age of 17. With that type of marketing and pressure geared toward young people, parents must take an active role in regulating the images their children receive, and it is up to the industry to provide parents with the necessary information they need to make educated decisions regarding consumption. The recording industry should adopt a more comprehensive rating system, and it should provide literature on the reasons behind the ratings. This information should be made available either within the product packaging or in some other easily accessible area, such as through a telephone hotline or an Internet web site. The point is that parents be better able to access and understand information about the content of products they purchase for their children.
The MPAA has the Ratings Board and the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) has the ESRB, but the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has no separate governing body that rates the content of their industries products. MPAA’s rating board and the IDSA’s ESRB are both governing bodies established by their respective industry associations to provide nonbiased review and ratings of products for the purpose of educating parents. After viewing the content of a game (using video clips) or a movie (in its entirety), the boards make a rating decision on each game or film that is submitted to them; see Box 8-2.
The RIAA’s Parental Advisory Program consists of a set of guidelines that regulate the placement of the parental advisory label on the packaging and marketing of music, but it establishes no authoritative board to review the content of products. Individual record companies and their artists determine whether each individual recording warrants a parental advisory label. Asking record companies to rate their own records is akin to asking studios to rate their own movies. Without an independent review board, any determination of explicit content is probably both unreliable and inconsistent. Furthermore, without a comprehensive ratings system (similar to the one used by the video game industry), the determination of explicit content in records is of little use to parents.
FTC’s recent reports on violence in the entertainment media, described above, recommended that all three industries (movie, music recording, and