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FTC Consumer Alert

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FTC Accepting Complaints About Violent Entertainment Marketed to Kids

Consumers who have complaints about violence in movies, music, and electronic games - including video games - that are marketed to children can tell it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency.

The FTC is accepting complaints about the advertising, marketing, or sale of violent entertainment products to children either online at www.ftc.gov (select media violence in the line marked "Subject of Your Complaint"), or by telephone, through the agency's toll-free consumer helpline at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). More information about the ratings is at www.ftc.gov/ratings.

The agency is tracking complaints based on:

  • Content. You believe the content of the ad for an entertainment product is inappropriate or unacceptable for children.
  • Placement. You believe an ad for a video game, film, or recording is running at a time or in a place you think is directed to children. For example, you might complain about an ad in a children's magazine for an R-rated movie.
  • Ratings. You believe that the rating for a movie, video game, or recording is not an accurate reflection of the content it contains.
  • Cross-Marketing. You believe that a company is cross-marketing a violent entertainment product to a young audience. This might include marketing action figures from an R-rated movie to small children, or marketing a video game based on an R-rated movie to kids.
  • Products Sold to Children. You believe a child was sold, rented, or otherwise allowed to view an entertainment product, despite a rating that it may not be appropriate for children. This might include complaints about retail outlets that allow under-age children to buy music or games that are rated or labeled for an older audience, or theaters that allow under-age children to buy tickets to an R-rated film without a parent or guardian.

For Complaints About the Content of Television Programming: Consumers who have complaints about the content of television programming should direct them to the Federal Communications Commission at www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

July 2004
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