Fewer kids than ever are getting into see R-rated movies thanks to stricter enforcement by theater owners, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
In addition, fewer youngsters are being allowed to buy restrictive DVDs, CDs, and video games, the FTC says.
The agency’s findings, reported in Tuesday’s edition of The Hollywood Reporter
, are the result of an undercover operation in which teens, ages 13 to 16, were sent out to theaters and stores to try to make purchases.
Of those youngsters who tried to see R-rated films — which are restricted to those who are 17 or older unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian — only 24 percent were successful last year.
That’s an historic low since the FTC began its surveillance effort in 2000. Three years ago, nearly a third of the kids sent to buy tickets to R-rated films were successful.
The FTC said only 30 percent of the undercover team was able to buy R-rated DVDs, compared to 38 percent in 2010.
This week, only three movies of the Top 10 box-office hits are rated R.
They are: “Spring Breakers,’’ for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use, and violence throughout; “Olympus Has Fallen’,’ for strong violence and language throughout; and “The Call,’’ for violence, disturbing content, and some language.
The FTC findings also revealed that stores stopped nearly 50 percent of youngsters who attempted to buy CDs with a parental advisory sticker on them. In 2010, 64 percent were able to buy them.
The FTC said 13 percent of underage teens were able to buy M-rated, or mature, video games, which are suitable for ages 17 and older. That number is unchanged from 2010.
“Our underage shopper survey shows continued progress in reducing sales,” Charles Harwood, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told the Reporter.
“But retailers can still strengthen their commitment to limit children’s access to products that are rated or labeled as potentially inappropriate for them.”
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