What is the Meaning of Viewer Discretion Advised

What is the Meaning of Viewer Discretion Advised

What is the Meaning of Viewer Discretion Advised | What does it Mean?

Viewer description is mostly advised in a phrase you have, undoubtedly, herald or seen in the movies or television, but what does it mean? In this article, we will discuss the exact meaning of viewer. 

Viewer discretion is advised meaning

Viewer discretion is advised for content warning that proceeds potentially sensitive content, advising viewers to use their voluntary decision-making or discretion to decide whether they should watch it. It begins as a response to the public’s concerns about the harmful effects of television on society and viewers.

The primary intent of “Viewer discretion is advised “is to protect the children against the distressing content; a parent should develop media-literate children and encourage non-media activities to ensure that the type of content coming into the home does not have an outsized influence on their kids.

This guide will help you explain what viewer discretion means and how it has been applied, traditionally in TV and movies and recently, on the internet. We will explore its impact and its limitations as well. We will also explain what you can do to raise media-literate children as parents.

Detailed meaning of “Viewer Discretion is Advised”

Viewer Discretion is Advised,” sometimes has shortened to “View Discretion Advised,” a verbal and written disclaimer that will precede potentially sensitive content. However, it does warn the viewers upfront that sometimes may follow text, allowing them to either prepare themselves o to decide to disengage altogether.

The Oxford Dictionary defines that discretion as to the freedom or the power that one should do in a particular situation. In other words, discretion can also be defined as the choice to continue to read, watch or listen to the content that follows or disengage and turn it off.

You have to be pretty sure to keep the resources like The Oxford English Dictionary and Style Guide close by and Drayer’s English Clarity close by — they will help you discover more and more definitions and their meanings. You can easily be able to find both on Amazon.

The warning was born out of the need to inform the consumers of the mass media and to protect those most vulnerable, children, namely. The main intent was to offer a degree of media awareness and media literacy to help them navigate and filter the content on the television and even in the movies.


In 1983, the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA, established the very first rating system for the movies. However, a rating system for TV would soon emerge, resulting from the growing public concerns in the 1990s about the graphic violence, sexual content, and strong profanity in television programs.

Warnings were given to the viewer’s discretion coincided with the development of a television content rating system known as TV parental guidelines. The violence in television has been of particular concern since, despite the frequent arguments for the contrary, research from numerous studies conducted over several decades shows a robust correlation between TV violence and increased social violence.

Is “Viewer Discretion Advised” Advisable 

With comparatively little research on the impact and effects of viewer discretion warnings and the ambiguous outcomes on that one tiny, many have used this as grounds for the debate about its usage and whether it intends to protect the children is being met.

One of the studies which are done by Brad J. Bushman of the Institute for Social Research pointed out that the warning labels may often have troublesome side effects. For example, warning labels may increase the desire to watch violent programs rather than restrict them.

Most television programs with a “viewer discretion are advised” warning that might attract more viewers, and many other broadcast and cable networks are well aware that this may be the case.

The point does emphasize one of the most important of all, the parent’s discretion in keeping their children away from the potentially more harmful content. Despite the criticism about the clarity and the transparency of parental guidelines, few people still argue that they should not exist. On the contrary, most people agree that some degree of parental guidance is still required for the children to ensure their safety and well-being.

Be Aware of Triggers

As the parents, it is imperative to be aware of one of the bigger pictures. Although viewer discretion was originally limited to television and movies, the warnings now may appear prominently on the internet, especially on social media.

Content Warnings versus Trigger Warnings 

Navigating online media is much more difficult for adults, let alone children. Apart from the content warnings, you might have to find the trigger warnings online. If you actually have not, not to worry, this section will briefly explain what they are.

Although most people still use the terms “content warning,” such as “viewer discretion is advised,” and “trigger warning” interchangeably, there is a big difference. A content warning, or a disclaimer, is a very broad warning that flags something that might upset someone or make them feel a little bad without referring to a very traumatic experience.

A trigger warning is a particular variety of content warning for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders. It may intend to prevent the people who have experienced trauma from being exposed to something that might be a physical or a mental reaction.

What you can do as Parents

The media landscape is very different from what many of the parents grew up around, so it can be overwhelming at times. However, the presence of the media is so pervasive that it will eliminate the fact that there are much more TV sets available in America than there are toilets.

In 1969, children began regularly watching TV at about age four. In contrast, today, children may begin interacting with digital media as young as four months.

Final Words 

In this article, we have explained the meaning of the Viewer description advised. We recommend you do some research of your own to get the best results.