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Content Warnings
In short: Become a cartoon.

"The preceding program contained scenes of extreme violence and should not have been viewed by young children."
The Simpsons, "Deep Space Homer"

Warnings given before the airing of a TV show or film, on the box of a video or computer game, on a movie poster, or in a fanfic's summary/header.

In other words, to the right (or wrong) mindset, an invitation to watch.

Usually added due to uproar created by Moral Guardians, who don't seem to realize there is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity and that more than a few viewers will probably try to do the cool thing they shouldn't do, so the warnings frequently have the opposite effect of what they intended. Sometimes works are deliberately made with this in mind when they're Rated M for Money.

On UK videos, the content warnings used to be under the headings Language, Sex, Violence, Other, which (with minor modifications) became the title of a Stereophonics album. It's since been replaced with an optional paragraph of text in the ratings label instead.

The United States has, since 1997, adopted content warnings at the beginnings of all programs in the form of MPAA-inspired letter symbols appearing at the top left corner ("TV-Y" through "TV-MA"), usually supplemented with smaller letters giving details as to why the warning applies. The networks air them on just about everything, no matter how old or new it is. When the rating system was introduced, it was customary to begin shows with bumpers explaining their ratings and the reasons behind them. Everything is rated because TV sets in America have computer chips that can block all content more "mature" than a preset level and assume unrated programming is TV-MA. Everything is visible becuse the ratings and subdivisions are useful even to humans.

See also Media Classifications, Our Lawyers Advised This Trope, Don't Try This at Home, Do Not Attempt. Compare R-Rated Opening.

TV Tropes now employs some itself: See The Google Incident for more information.

Some standard Content Warnings:

  • "This show contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing".
  • "Viewer discretion advised."
  • "Intended for mature audiences only." (Mature takes on a double meaning.)
  • "Contains scenes of a sexual nature." (Namely, explicit, bare-breasted sex on a kitchen table, to give but one example)
  • "This programme contains strong language."
  • "This programme contains language." Or "mild language," even. An example of a program using the "language" variant.
  • "Strong, bloody violence."
  • "Mild peril."
  • "The opinions expressed in this show do not necessarily reflect the views of (the network or production company)"
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus really made fun of this:
    Eric Idle: "There are scenes of violence, people's heads being ripped off and their toe nails being pulled out in slow motion. Then there's a scene where you can see EVERYTHING, but my friend says it's just all in the way he's holding the spear."
    • Also spoofed in the "executive intro" for one of their records:
    "There is little or no offensive material [on this record] apart from four cunts, one clitoris, and a foreskin. And, as they only occur in this opening introduction, you're past them now."
  • "All suspects are innocent until proven guilty (in a court of law)." (For Cop Shows where real people get arrested on screen.)
  • "The following program/report contains flashing images/flash photography."
  • The best warning is probably "Mild Themes" which make a number of appearances in Australian content warnings.
    • There's also "Moderate Themes" (for Batman Begins) and, according to the OFLC, these are actually clearer terms as part of a overhaul of the previous ratings system. The vaguer old term? "Adult Themes". So the only thing that they got right with this is that "Adult Themes" doesn't really make sense. To quote Calvin and Hobbes:
      Calvin: The TV listings say this movie has "adult situations." What are adult situations?
      Hobbes: Probably things like going to work, paying bills and taxes, taking responsibilities...
      Calvin: Wow, they don't kid around when they say "for mature audiences."
  • "Pervasive language" shows up on movies under the MPAA rating sometimes. Think about that for a moment. That phrase literally means that there are words throughout the movie.
  • "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" is used on the cover of music albums. There are no hard and fast rules for what warrants the label and what doesn't; some albums drop f-bombs with no warning at all, while many other artists treat it as a badge of honor to show how "edgy" and "hardcore" they are.
  • And the oft-cited "Imitatable Acts" warning preceding Pro-Wrestling pay-per-views, as well as R ratings to any movie that shows a lot of Kung-Fu action - even if there's nothing else in it that would warrant higher than a PG-13 otherwise.
  • The incredibly vague "thematic elements" content descriptor, which essentially means that "this is a movie where stuff happens". Often used to describe things not covered by any other descriptor which might push a movie's rating past G to PG (such as a plot dealing with "adult" issues like divorce, racism or child abuse without necessarily containing graphic content).
  • Cookbooks—and some books on food that actually have no recipes—have started to bear the warning "The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that require medical supervision."
  • Some shows dealing with ethnic minorities may give out warnings in regards to the portrayal of dead indigenous people (Australian Aborigines consider it taboo to directly mention the dead by name), for example, or the content features the portrayal of a certain race and advising viewer discretion.
  • In Japan, anime broadcasts on TV are usually preceded by a disclaimer along the lines of "When watching [(series title)/TV anime], please make sure the room is well-lit and do not sit too close to the screen." This was originally added in response to Pokémon's infamous "Electric Soldier Porygon" episode, which caused an epidemic of seizures in kids sitting too close to the TV with the lights off or dimmed. The disclaimer (as well as stricter limits on strobe effects) has been industry standard practice ever since.
  • Arcade Games often have a warning sticker somewhere near the monitor to caution people not to play if they have epilepsy, and many video games (both hand-held and console) bear warnings about epilepsy and flashing lights in their instruction manuals.
  • Some CDs (particularly Telarc CDs of classical music) come with warnings about digital sound effects recorded at a very high level, and recommend playback at lower levels to avoid the possibility causing damage to speakers.
  • CD-ROMs with Redbook music tracks carry warnings not to play Track 1 on an audio CD player, since it contains program code rather than music.
  • Some games with extremely hard difficulty modes will ask for confirmation if the player really wishes to try the highest difficulty setting, often along the lines of "for advanced players only" or "play at your own risk". It's not as serious as other examples; it's mostly there to prevent a player from Rage Quitting because they unwittingly chose a Harder Than Hard mode.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Viz Media seems to make a habit of putting unusual content warnings on its English-language M-rated manga.
    • The English version of the Black Lagoon manga has the following content warning:
      Black Lagoon is rated M for Mature and is recommended for mature readers. This volume contains graphic violence, strong language, nudity, adult situations, drinkin', smokin', ass-kickin', law breakin', gun-love, running with scissors and just about everything your mother ever told you not to do.
    • Similarly, Biomega contains "motorcycle violence, mind-blowing cinematic stunts and extreme grizzly bear."
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys, despite being a plain Slice of Life work, has two examples of this.
    • In High School Boys and Mochi Soup, each time when one of the main trio choked on mochi, there is an on-screen advisory, and when Tadakuni became the last of the trio to get chocked on mochi, the on-screen advisory gets annoyed:
    "This might seem annoying, but please eat mochi slowly by carefully chewing small portions."
    • In High School Boys and UFO Catchers, the main trio tried to shake a UFO Catcher machine to get a teddy bear plush which narrowly missed the hole, while the following advisory appears below— and appeared again when Tadakuni's little sister succeeded in shaking it out:
    "Good boys and girls mustn't do this."
  • Later episodes of the anime of Rainbow say "After careful consideration of the times, we feel that intense scenes in this show are important to the story." (The show's violence is rarely gruesome and never exaggerated, but it's often committed by adults against minors.)
  • The second DVD of Last Exile is rated 12 by the BBFC for "a firebreathing scene".
  • The anime adaptation of Minna Atsumare! Falcom Gakuen warns at the end of most episodes for, of all things, out of character moments (in red text, no less!) compared to the video games they hail from.

    Networks 
  • Back in 1999, when Animax Latin America was still called Locomotion, the series would start with a content warning featuring Playmobil-like figures doing a slapstick version of what the warning was about. Shortly before the name change, the figures were replaced with actual footage from anime series (for example, Neon Genesis Evangelion for violence or Agent Aika for sexual content) representing the warning.
  • In a serious variant, shows on Australian television which feature deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders feature warnings that the shows "may contain the image and voice recordings of people who are now dead", in order to respect the traditional cultural beliefs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, wherein discussion of the deceased is a taboo. Gotta be sensitive of the natives, man. This occurs significantly more frequently on the public broadcasters, The ABC and SBS, than it does on any of the commercial broadcasters, to the point where it's practically unheard of on the commercial channels' part. Make of that what you will.
  • For a short time, BBC America ran a warning suggesting that viewers unfamiliar with the accents of the United Kingdom would be well advised to turn on Closed Captioning.
  • One network in Canada's content warning (possibly CTV?) states that the following program "may" contain offensive content. It also "may" contain extended scenes of toddlers hugging puppies. It rarely does.
  • YTV's Bionix anime(/Canadian-Content-we-need-to-please-the-CRTC/Invader Zim) block has the exact same warning throughout, even when they are showing shows that really aren't that violent. That said, the more violent shows usually get modified warnings.
    • Usually, your standard shounen anime and so on have the warning, "This program contains mature themes and is intended for an older youth audience. Viewer discretion is advised." There are several cases where "older youth audience" is changed to "older teen audience" (for things like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note)... sandwiched between two "older youth audience" shows.
  • In the early days of the UK's Channel 4, programmes of a sexual nature were marked with a 'red triangle'. Dropped after realising that this essentially marked out the good bits for everyone to find.
  • Similarly, for many years Mexican TV networks would superimpose a capital "A" (for "adultos") in the corner of the screen on more mature shows.
  • The Canadian Global Television Network used to precede religious programming with, "The opinions expressed in the following program are those of the participants, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Television Network".
  • ABC Family runs one of the "the opinions expressed in this program do not reflect those of ABC Family" variety before The 700 Club, as part of its efforts to divorce itself and its image from the program's leanings.
  • Canada's Teletoon network runs content warnings during the Teletoon At Night block, featuring a snarky announcer reading them. Initially, the announcer was extra snarky, punctuating content warnings with lines such as "If you're under 14, then why are you even awake?", though they toned him down later.
  • E! Entertainment Television notifies the viewer that "the following program contains brief flashing images that may be harmful to viewers with photo-sensitive epilepsy."
  • Fox puts customized "Viewer Discretion Is Advised" warnings (with the different shows' logos) on almost all of its shows, especially the dramas (even those with lighter content like Touch or Terra Nova). This is especially noticeable because none of the other major networks do this nearly so often.
    • Sister channel FX does the same sort of thing, which is understandable given that all of their shows are rated TV-MA.
  • While it is very rare, if NBC feels the need to preface its shows with such a warning, it does so with a blood-red splash-screen and the deep-voiced NBC announcer reading the caption, "Due to violent content, viewer discretion advised." If it is especially violent (for example, every episode of Hannibal), a tiny "Viewer Discretion Advised" caption pops up on the bottom of the screen at the start of each and every act.

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • "Contains irresponsible behaviour" — Mr Beans Holiday UK poster
  • The video and DVD releases of Dogma start with a disclaimer that states that the movie is a work of comedy and not intended to be taken seriously or offend, before going off into a long meandering rant about the platypus intended to represent that God does, in fact, have a sense of humor even if some viewers don't. What else could explain the platypus, really?
    • He then makes a disclaimer apologizing to all lovers of platypuses.
  • The BBFC caution that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets contains "Fantasy Spiders". Well, it's a real fear... as is seen, of course, with Ron in both the film and the book. It tends to amuse because BBFC warnings are rarely so specific.
    • Another highly specific content warning: Aliens in the Attic contains misuse of fireworks. Of course, children playing with fireworks has been a major safety concern for decades.
  • "The Environmental Protection Agency wishes to strenuously object to its depiction in this film. We are a competent, well-meaning government bureaucracy, and if we were ever granted any real power we would never, ever abuse it, we promise. — Russ Cargill, Acting Head" — from the beginning of The Simpsons Movie DVD.
  • The Fight Club DVD has another warning after the copyright notices that only flashes up for a second. If you freeze it, it tells you you're wasting your life freeze-framing DVDs to read it.
  • The first two The Lord of the Rings DVDs were rated PG-13 for "violence and scary images."
    A capsule review for Fellowship of the Ring cautioned that it contained "epic battles, scary monsters, body-piercing swords, and smoking."
  • The Australian OFLC just loves to give with examples here. The Incredibles is rated PG for Medium Level Violence, Mature Themes, and Low Level Coarse Language, whereas The Godfather is rated R18+ for just Medium Level Violence. For real fun, compare video games with movies; the MA15+ rating has more ridiculous examples than you would believe. (Note that, now that Australia finally has an 18+ rating for video games, the MA category is a lot less ridiculous. It used to be the highest rating possible for games.)
    • From the Gantz box set:
    "R18+: Strong animated violence, Strong animated sex scenes, High level theme, Strong coarse language"
  • The DVD case for xXx warns that it's rated PG-13 for, among other things, "Non-Stop Action Sequences". So, how much did the producers pay the MPAA to insert those first two words?
  • If anyone wants conclusive proof that the MPAA are being paid off, The Simpsons Movie was rated PG-13 for "Irreverent humor throughout." The producers and marketers likely wanted the inclusion of Bart's willie to stay a secret.
  • Team America has the ever-amusing MPAA warning of "graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language - all involving puppets". The BBFC's warning is similar.
  • After the credits of Cannibal! The Musical, there is a message reading "Due to the graphic nature of this film, it should not have been watched by small children".
  • More MPAA evidence: On The Powerpuff Girls Movie, they warn of "non-stop frenetic animated action".
  • At the end of the theatrical release of Borat, before the MPAA rating card at the end, the film announces its approval from the Kazakh board of censors ("Just antisemitic enough," as noted by the title character on his The Daily Show appearance.)
  • James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein (1931) begins with a "friendly warning" by actor Edward Van Sloan that is classic.
    We are about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation — life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even...horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to...uh, well, we warned you.
  • One of the reasons Twister was given a PG-13 by the MPAA was "intense depiction of very bad weather".
  • Public Enemies has "Gangster Violence" as a descriptor.
  • The film North was rated PG for "a few words".
  • Prior to airing the infamous nuclear war film Threads, at least two broadcasters aired extended disclaimers telling viewers that the film is incredibly disturbing, but that the decision to air it was ultimately made due to the importance of its message.
  • Superbad is rated R for: "Pervasive crude and sexual content, strong language, drinking, some drug use, and a fantasy/comic violent image—all involving teens."
  • Happy Feet 2, at least in Australia, gets possible the single stupidest content warning of all time: "Very mild sense of threat". Umm... isn't that the bare minimum requirement of a plot?! The film is still rated G. (Most G-rated films don't even get content warnings)
  • Disney added a disclaimer on old VHS boxes of Return to Oz, warning about the frightening content.
  • Original posters for the 1971 film The Andromeda Strain carried this warning: "Rated G but may be too intense for younger children."
  • One of the reasons Naked Lunch is rated R by the MPAA is "bizarre eroticism".
  • The Three Stooges has an epilogue following the movie by the Farelly Brothers showing how the tools used by the stooges in the film were made out of rubber and the pokes in the eye just barely missed the eye poking the eye lid below, and that children who saw the film should not attempt any of the stooges' antics themselves.

    Literature 
  • The Spitting Image parody of Margaret Thatcher's memoirs bore a sticker on the front that said "WARNING! This book carries a salacious warning on the front that is an OBSCENE attempt to sell more copies".
  • Older Than Print: Geoffrey Chaucer uses a content warning in the "Miller's Prologue" from The Canterbury Tales.
  • Dave Barry's novel Big Trouble comes with a warning at the beginning saying that the book contains bad words and is not for children. His next novel, Tricky Business, had a similar warning in a larger typeface, because apparently not enough readers of Big Trouble got the warning.
  • Terry Pratchett's Nation has a couple of Author's Notes at the back where he explains some of the science used-with 'Don't try this at home' warnings. He then subverts it with his final note:
    Thinking
    This book contains some. Whether you try it at home is up to you.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • The first page of Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi’s recounting of the Manson Family murders (he was the prosecutor), is blank save for the statement "The story you are about to read will SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU."
  • In the book Someone is Eating the Sun which is about various farm animals reacting to a solar eclipse, it shows them looking straight at the sun during the eclipse, at the beginning of the book, it warns people not to do this.

    Live Action TV 
  • 24: Had a content warning for graphic violence, but hilariously in the first two seasons this was only used four times. This was pithily pointed out by one writer who stated, "Because the other episodes didn't have any violence in them, did they?"
  • The '90s Are All That: Has this notice at the start of the block:
    The following block may not be suitable for people who did not grow up on '90s Nick.
  • All in the Family: The disclaimer that came before the first episode (followed by the sound of a toilet flushing):
    "The program you are about to see is All In The Family. It seeks to throw a humorous spotlight on our frailties, prejudices, and concerns. By making them a source of laughter we hope to show, in a mature fashion, just how absurd they are."
  • Angel normally didn't have warnings, but the season five episode "Hell Bound" involving serial killer Pavayne notably had one due to the unsettling torture scenes in the ep.
  • Animal Cops episodes always have a viewer discretion warning at the beginning, which is probably justified, given the abuse seen in some cases.
  • Betty White's Off Their Rockers:
    • Had this hilarious warning in the first season:
    "The following contains senior citizens pranking real unsuspecting young people. If you find this offensive...too bad."
    • And in the second season:
    "The following contains graphic images of seniors pranking innocent youngsters. None of the names or identifying characteristics have been changed to protect the innocent, because their reactions are just too dang funny..."
  • Both parts of The Blacklist episode "Anslo Garrick" aired with warnings about the violent content.
  • Brain Games: "Parents should not watch this except at their children's discretion".
  • Brainiac:
    • Particularly dangerous experiments (or anything involving microwaves) are preceded by Richard Hammond popping up and saying "Do not try this at home." Then, a few seconds later, popping up again: "No, really. Don't."
    • Maybe he should do these warnings whenever he's on Top Gear too: Do not drive like this at home.
      • Or in the immediate vicinity of your home, for that matter.
    • When Vic Reeves took over on Brainiac, he changed it to the more thoughtful "Do not try this at home...or indeed anywhere else."
  • The Daily Show:
    • Read out before episodes of this show in the UK:
    The show you are about to see is a News Parody. Its stories are not fact checked. Its reporters are not journalists. And its opinions are not fully thought through.
    • That is shown before any international broadcast. In the US we get no such warning... probably because (in the words of Jon Stewart) its lead-in is "puppets making prank phone calls" (this was back when Crank Yankers came on after The Daily Show. Now, it's preceded by the The Colbert Report).
    • In the UK, the disclaimer is because any show presenting itself as a news broadcast is legally required to meet certain standards of impartiality, political moderation, and truthfulness. This may be true in other non-US markets as well.
  • A Different World: Had the following warning for 2 episodes: "Tonight's episode deals with a subject that is sensitive in nature. Viewer discretion is advised." One was for Freddie's Date Rape Averted episode and the other was for the one where Tisha Campbell's character disclosed that she had AIDS.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The DVD of Series 5, Volume 1 warns that it contains "smoking scenes." Yes. Winston. Flippin'. Churchill.
    • "The Web of Fear" was originally broadcast with a warning from the Doctor, in character, talking to children at home to warn them that the Yeti is returning and that they're scarier than last time, so 'if Mummy and Daddy are scared, you just get them to hold your hand'. While the episode is unusually scary, this was also the child-friendly equivalent of Rated M for Money, since the Yeti were very popular monsters at the time. Only the audio has survived, but you can watch a fanmade reconstruction here.
  • The Hogan Family: The second-season episode "Bad Timing," where a frank discussion between David (Jason Bateman) and his girlfriend involves the use of the word "condom." The episode — one of the first DomComs to address safe sex — had a parential guidance discretion read before the episode, and again during commericals for birth-control products and safe-sex PSAs. (And yes, David and his girlfriend decided to "wait.")
  • Jurassic Fight Club: This other The History Channel show:
    "The following is a graphic depiction of a violent prehistoric battle. Viewer discretion is advised."
  • Little House on the Prairie: Several episodes dealing with racism were not shy about using the word "nigger", and each of them had a discretionary message alerting viewers beforehand that characters were going to use the word. Michael Landon's excellent-as-always scripts reflected the harsh realities of the 1800s, where men who hated African-Americans regularly used the word in reference to them.
  • Look Around You: The DVD is rated 12 for, among other things, "dangerous experiments". While its experiments are of course completely nonsensical, some (such as fishing an egg out of boiling water with your bare hands, or connecting a big chunk of metal to the mains) would be legitimately dangerous if attempted in real life, and "dangerous if attempted in real life" has always been a massive red flag for the BBFC.
  • The Muppet Show: One skit opened with Kermit warning the audience, "some scenes may not be suitable for adults".
  • Mythbusters:
    • Both parodies and plays this trope straight. At several intervals before and during the show, members of the Mythbusters team will appear and warn viewers not to try any of their experiments at home. However, they will also playfully put up a screen saying WARNING: SCIENCE CONTENT! before some of the more detailed explanations.
    • Adam Savage has stated he hates the disclaimers, because there are a lot of things he does want people to try at home.
      • Poking fun at the ubiquitous content warnings, Adam Savage's Twitter handle is @donttrythis.
  • Pulp Sport: At the beginning of the penultimate season of this New Zealand comedy sketch show, this content warning appeared.
  • Quatermass II: "Before we begin the fourth episode of Quatermass II we'd like to say that in our opinion it is not suitable for children, or those of you who may have a nervous disposition." — retraux content warnings, 1955 style.
  • Red Dwarf: The episode Polymorph has a 'built-in' content warning at the beginning of the episode.
  • Revolution: The episode "The Stand" (which had lots of blood, gore, and graphic war scenes) used the menacing red splash-screen described above under NBC. (Curiously, no episode since then has used the warning, not even "Children of Men", which also featured heavy war violence.)
  • Scare Tactics: "You know how some shows say 'don't try this at home'? Well, this is one of those." You have to hear it in Tracy Morgan's voice to get the full effect, though.
  • Square One: This PBS kids show partly spoofed this at the beginning of its "Angle Dance" music video, which actually does have mildly suggestive lyrics:
    The following song includes graphic descriptions of obtuse and acute angles. Viewers who might be offended by this subject matter should not view this program.
  • Steve Coogan: Parodied by him on one of his DVDs which warned that the show contained bad language, almost all of it in the warning itself.
  • Toku: Most shows like these in Japan would have the a disclaimer along the lines of "Please make sure the room is well-lit and do not sit too close to the TV" shown on the bottom of the screen in the beginning of every episode (as the bright lighting may give viewers seizures). The Tomica Hero duology (Tomica Hero Rescue Force and Tomica Hero Rescue Fire) has a variation, by having the Good guys say the said Content Warning in a separate scene before the show's opening theme.
  • Too Cute!: This Animal Planet show, which is basically just footage of newborn puppies and kittens with a narrator, has a warning at the beginning:
    The following program contains material that is just too cute. Viewer discretion is advised.
  • Top Gear: Parodied, which has a sign warning live audiences that they don't have potentially seizure-inducing strobe lights, because they ran out of budget.
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship: Shortly before each UFC broadcast on FOX, a rather boastful disclaimer airs reading "The following might be the most exciting live sporting event in the history of television, and it's our duty to say: VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED."
  • Weird Warfare: Spoofed by this The History Channel show, which has a warning before each segment that describes the bizarre military concepts it will explore: "The following program features a Hitler sex change and exploding pancakes. Viewer discretion is advised."
  • Wonder Showzen:
    • Though the theme song claimed it to be a "kid's show, kid's show. Oh, Good Lord, it's a kid's show," viewers were warned in no uncertain terms by a disclaimer shown in the beginning and after commercials:
    WARNING
    WONDER SHOWZEN CONTAINS OFFENSIVE, DESPICABLE CONTENT THAT IS TOO CONTROVERSIAL AND TOO AWESOME FOR ACTUAL CHILDREN. THE STARK, UGLY, PROFOUND TRUTHS WONDER SHOWZEN EXPOSES MAY BE SOUL CRUSHING TO THE WEAK OF SPIRIT. IF YOU ALLOW A CHILD TO WATCH THIS SHOW, YOU ARE A BAD PARENT OR GUARDIAN.
  • When Spooks aired in the United States on PBS as MI-5 it came with a warning for "content some viewers may find objectionable".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE's programs in the late '90s Attitude Era often had a content warning about violence and sexual situations — delivered by one of the resident Divas, who would vamp it up through the entire announcement. Sunny had the hottest way of saying, "Viewer discretion is advised"...
  • On WWE DVDs, all of the trailers before the main menu are skippable — except for the mildly graphic one that shows the end result of any number of in-ring injuries, with the stern request to "Please DO NOT try this at home".
  • Considering his double murder-suicide, Chris Benoit matches on the WWE Network are preceded by the following: "The following program is presented in its original form. It may contain some content that does not reflect WWE's corporate views and may not be suitable for all viewers. WWE characters are fictitious and do not reflect the personal lives of the actors portraying them. Viewer discretion is advised."

    Music 
  • PARENTAL ADVISORY stickers were the controversial brainchild of Tipper (Mrs. Al) Gore and her Christian Right-based Parents Music Resource Center after Tipper caught one of her daughters listening to a Prince album that mentioned the word "masturbation". Some older tropers may remember the 1985 Senate Labor and Commerce Committee hearings. Frank Zappa, Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister and John Denver testified about their responsibilities as musicians and the fact that the stickers, a seemingly innocuous tool enabling choice, were a form of censorship. The stickers were immediately parodied, including by satirist Jello Biafra, whose spoken word album High Priest of Harmful Matter gives you the history and origins in hilarious detail.
  • A sticker on the cover of some Guns N' Roses albums reads "This album contains language which some listeners may find objectionable. They can F?!* OFF and buy something from the New Age section."
  • From the back cover of Liquid Tension Experiment's first album:
    Caution: "Three Minute Warning" is not for the musically faint-hearted, impatient, or critics of extreme self-indulgence. If you fall into any of the above categories, please hit the stop button on your CD player after track #8.
  • Queens of the Stone Age's "Era Vulgaris" has a sticker that reads: "Rental Advisory: Freedom Not for Purchase".
  • The cover for the P.D.Q Bach album Oedipus Tex & Other Choral Calamities bears this humorous sticker:
    Warning! Contains "Classical Rap"
    Pathetic Advisory: Inane Lyrics
  • Metallica's Master of Puppets
    "The only track you probably won't want to play is "Damage, Inc." due to the multiple use of the infamous "F" word. Otherwise, there aren't any "Shits", "Fucks", "Pisses", "Cunts", "Motherfuckers" or "Cocksuckers" anywhere on this record."
  • In the music video for "Inside the Fire" by Disturbed, just before the video starts the lead singer warns the audience that the following song contains themes of suicide, advertising the national suicide prevention hotline as well. He probably did this by choice (since he appears to have done this in his house).
  • Capitol Steps recordings: "Warning: this CD contains parodies!"
  • The Offspring uses it on it's Ixnay on the Hombre album. See the Quotes Wiki.
  • Mindless Self Indulgence had an inversion. The radio-friendly version of Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy had a sticker with the following disclaimer: "This recording has been carefully wiped clean and has absolutely no filthy words like FUCK so that you can play it at your radio facility. Now hurry the fuck up and play the fucking thing." Also, all vowels in the song titles on the back cover were *'d out.
  • Steel Panther, an Affectionate Parody of the hair metal genre, has two warning stickers on its album Feel The Steel. The one on the front is a standard Parental Advisory label, while the one on the back has this to say:
    "The CD/LP you are about to listen to contains parodies that feature foul language, adult content, satanic imagery and depictions of sexually deviant fantasies that may offend the religious right, the unreligious left, fat girls, skinny girls, metrosexuals, animal lovers, animal haters, hippies, skinheads, the current presidential administration and people with ears. The record label and its parent companies do not endorse or support the opinions of Steel Panther. They just think they f—king rock."
  • Iggy Pop's American Caesar bears the sticker "Parental Advisory: THIS IS AN IGGY POP RECORD."
  • The cover of Running Wild's Under Jolly Roger features a sticker that warns about loud effects that might damage the stereo, which refers to the cannonfire in the opening track.
  • While the uncensored version of Bloodhound Gang's "Hooray For Boobies" carried a sticker warning about "Extremely Offensive Material," the notoriously bastardized edited version (retitled "Hooray") revises this to the odd "WARNING: Extremely Funny Material." Very few of the tracks are meant to be laugh-out-loud funny, just cleverly written; and others ("Along Comes Mary" in particular) aren't meant to be funny at all. The only big laugh-out-loud moment, really, is the hidden track - which, of course, is butchered.
  • Elvis Costello, an artist who even in the early 1980s was known for Genre Adultery, infamously placed a parody warning sticker on the front of his 1981 Almost Blue album reading ""WARNING: This album contains country & western music and may cause offence to narrow minded listeners."

    Radio 
  • One episode of the third radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy finishes with the warning: "The preceding program contains scenes of extreme violence which may be disturbing to some viewers. Time travellers of a nervous disposition may wish to consider listening to something else for the previous half-hour."
    • Hitchhikers offered a straight example when the episode featuring the destruction of the Guide offices was broadcast on Radio 4 shortly after 9/11.
  • Another straight example, this time from The Archers: An episode where Owen raped Kathy was preceded by such a warning, and immediately followed by a number to call if you are raped.
  • The '40s horror series Lights Out routinely opened with one of these:
    "Lights Out brings you stories of the supernatural and the supernormal, dramatizing the fantasies and mysteries of the unknown. We tell you this frankly, so if you wish to avoid the excitement and tension of these imaginative plays, we urge you calmly - but sincerely - to turn off your radio now."
  • Comically exaggerated in an episode of Hello Cheeky.
    "Is it suitable for children?
    "It's not even suitable for people!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • The box for Chez Geek, as well as its spinoffs, contains the tongue-in-cheek warning "For adult audiences only. Actual maturity not required."
  • Book of Vile Darkness, a splatbook devoted to evil-aligned abilities, got a mature content warning that was somewhat out-of-proportion to the level of sex and violence actually present in it. Then Book of Exalted Deeds, a good-themed splatbook, got one too! (According to the designers, this was because you need to be mature in order to not be tempted to abuse the overpowered abilities present in both books.) Worth noting, however, is that the latter book contained things like saints, martyrs, and a feat that gave the character stigmata, and thus could conceivably offend certain groups.
  • All Palladium Books products feature some form of warning on their first page (most infamously ''Riftss WARNING: Violence and the supernatural), along with a blurb about "parental discretion" and the company and writers not condoning magic, drug use or violence in Real Life.

    Theatre 
  • Avenue Q has warnings such as "PARENTAL ADVISORY: 60% adult situations and 40% foam rubber" and "Not appropriate for children due to language and adult content such as full puppet nudity".
  • Jersey Boys has this disclaimer: "This musical contains smoke, loud gunshots, strobe lights, and authentic, offensive Jersey vocabulary".

    Video Games 
  • Games which allow players to send each other content were given the ESRB warning: "Game Experience May Change During Online Play". This is even true for certain games outside the ESRB's region. It was later replaced by "Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB", maybe for that reason.
    • There is a similar one also for Music games with downloadable songs: "Music Downloads Not Rated by the ESRB".
  • "Some parts of this game may be considered violent or cruel", from the Silent Hill series, usually shown over a picture of the protagonist beating the snot out of a monster. (These warnings are not included in the HD re-releases)
    • Please note that beating the snot out of monsters is rarely the most disturbing, violent, or cruel things about the games.
    • Silent Hill Origins has a screen which says that parts of the game may be "disturbing". The idea that someone could buy a video game with fearsomeness plastered all over the back cover without knowing that it could disturbing is disturbing in and of itself.
    • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories starts with a warning that the game uses psychological profiling to gather information about the player, that the game world changes in response to the player's choices to make it more personally terrifying, and concludes that the game plays you as much as you play it.
  • Eversion contains the following: "Not indicated for children or those of a nervous disposition." on the screen right before the title screen... right underneath an H.P. Lovecraft quote. The warning is quite appropriate, particularly the latter group. Those who do not heed the warning WILL become slightly paranoid because of the game.
  • Modern Warfare 2 goes beyond having a content warning, and actually allows you to skip the 'No Russian' level, which, it warns, might be considered offensive. Given the fact that the level allows you to participate in a simulated terrorist attack, striding through an airport and gunning down civilians, the warning is definitely justified.
  • Devil May Cry always opens with a warning about the violence in the game. Which Dante then destroys.
  • Despite being entirely bloodless, its violence being near-entirely slapstick (the most disturbing scene in the game is Gene losing his arm - which, to be fair, actually is pretty creepy), God Hand gets a violence warning in the USA (over a picture of Gene nailing someone in the crotch). The reason? The "Head Slicer" God Reel.
  • Europa Universalis III has "alcohol and tobacco references" (i.e. the presence of wine and tobacco as tradable goods) contributing to its 12+ rating, alongside (very) "mild violence" consisting of sprites bloodlessly shooting at each other.
  • Soul Bubbles has an amusing one, warning the player of the absence of orcs, wizards, soldiers, etc, and assures that "everything will be hunky-dory". Which indeed it is.
  • Subverted in StepMania with one of the announcer packs (more exactly this one). When showing the usual "don't play this in a small room" warning, the girl will sometimes say "Who reads this crap anyway?"
  • Star Soldier R has a Content Warning for, of all things, its gameplay length. When you go to buy it in the Wii Shop Channel, you are given a warning (in red text, no less!) that the game only offers 2-minute, 5-minute, and "Quick Shot" modes, and the purpose of the game is to score attack the former two modes. Presumably, this is to warn people that it isn't a "full" game; it's their own fault if they buy the game and then later complain that It's Short, so It Sucks .
  • Tecmo's Deception offers us this little blurb on the back of the jewel case:
    "WARNING: This game contains satanic references and may be inappropriate for some individuals."
  • Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side on the Sega CD, besides the normal ESRB rating, came with a custom Sega rating known as "Deep Water", denoting a definitively adult-themed game. The "Deep Water" label was also used for the Sega Saturn port of Duke Nukem 3D and a Genesis game called X-Perts, but after that it died out.
  • The Jet Set Radio series features this example:
    "Graffiti is art. However, graffiti as an act of vandalism is a crime. Every state/province has vandalism laws that apply to graffiti, and local entities such as cities and counties have anti-graffiti ordinances. Violation of these laws can result in a fine, probation and a jail sentence. SEGA, this document, and its author do not condone the act of real life vandalism in any form."
  • The classic warning from Resident Evil: "This game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore". Strong language was added in Resident Evil 4.
  • Most over the top Mature (M)-rated games have a laundry list on the back of the box. No More Heroes, for example, lists: Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, and Strong Language. All understated, of course.
  • Vegetable Game opens with an ominous screen which cryptically states: "WARNING — Do not play Vegetable Game."
  • In Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, Meijin Takahashi (famous for Adventure Island) will warn players personally to not play the game in a dark lit room (for those who do not know, the reason most Japanese shows have these content warnings was because of a certain Porygon episode.
  • Typing Of The Dead actually integrates the Content Warning into the game, by making it one of the paragraphs the player has to type during the boss fight with Strength.
    Warning: This game contains depictions of gore and violence. If you are of 17 years or younger, please play with your eyes closed.
  • In Cookie Clicker, the flavor text for the One Mind upgrade gives you red warning text, and attempting to purchase it gives you a dialog box warning you of potentially unexpected and undesirable results and asking if you really want to purchase it. Because if you click OK, you trigger the Grandmapocalypse.
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day includes a warning on the game's box (and it also has the ESRB rating of M much bigger than normal), on the Instruction Booklet, and at the start of the game. But it's all justified because of the strong language, sexual references, gory violence, use of alcohol and tobacco, Toilet Humor, and the in-game elements of war, survival horror and bank theft. All while showing a kid-friendly art style.
  • Outlast gives us this message when you start the game:
    Outlast contains intense violence, gore, graphic sexual content, and strong language. Please enjoy.
  • The Irritating Maze warns that "persons with cardiac disorder and/or pregnancy" should not attempt to play the game, though it doesn't give players actual electric shocks like the Game Show it was based on.
  • Mushihimesama asks the player for confirmation with an ominous red "DANGER" screen if they attempt to play Ultra Mode. Its sequel Mushihimesama Futari does the same.
    "Are you prepared to battle sheer despair?" (NO) (BRING IT)
  • DoDonPachi Daifukkatsu Black Label comes with descriptions of Bomb Style, Power Style, and Strong Style on the Style select screen. Strong Style's description is juxtaposed with a difficulty warning every few seconds:
    "DANGER — This style is customized for advanced players. Proceed only if you have prepared yourself."
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden has "/!\\WARNING/!\\ May be erotic for child" spin onto the screen at the start of the Dating Sim minigame (see the start of this video). The minigame contains absolutely nothing erotic beyond a full-screen image of Cyberdwarf and Ivory Latta kissing (not show in the linked video).

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied at the beginning of "Siblings Untitled 01".
    "WARNING! The clip you are about to see is FAKE. All the places, characters, and events are more or less fictitious in their presentation and you are expected to know it never happened. It ain't a biography, people, it's an internet cartoon. Expect nothing but lies. LIES! P.S. You cannot refund time, so if I end up wasting yours, then do us both a favor and get over it. Using levitation! Using levitation! P.S. You cannot refund time, so if I end up wasting yours, then do us both of a favor...then do us both a favor and get over it. Using levitation! Using LEVITATION!...PSYoucannotrefundtimesoifIendupwastingyoursthendousbothafavorandgetoverit Using LEVITATION! LEVITATION! LEVITATION! Using LEVITATION! Ti revo teg dna rovaf a htob su od neht, sruoy gnitsaw pu dne I fi os, emit dnufer tonnac uoy S.P. P.S. You cannot refund time, so if I end up wasting yours, then do us both a favor and get over it. Using levitation! Peeeeeeeee.Eeessssssssss. Yooooouuuuuuu canooooooooott refuuuuuuuuuuuuund tiiiiiiiiiiime soooooo, if Iiiiiiiiiiii eeeeeeennd uuuuuup waaaaaaaaaasting yoooooooooouuuuuuuurs, theeeen doooo uuuusssssss booooooooth a favooooor annnnnnd get ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooveeeeeer iiiiiit."
  • The beginning of AMV Hell 0 (which is made almost entirely of Hentai clips) warns the viewer that the contents should not be viewed by anyone and that they should close their browser window right now.

    Web Comics 
  • "Venus Envy is Rated WEB-14 and probably isn't suitable for younger viewers or those who find the following things offensive: Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Transsexuality, Jews, Slapstick, Mixed-Religion Marriages, Women in the Workplace, Women in Pants, Plot, Girls' Soccer, or Chickens teaching Hard Science. If you find any of the above offensive, please go here."
  • xkcd has the message "Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."
  • Sluggy Freelance has this warning at the start of the "K I T T E N I I" arc:
    The following story contains graphic violence not suitable for anyone. Parental guidance is suggested. Or you can just staple the kid's eyelids shut. That's not suggested, the parental guidance thingy is suggested, but we can't deny that staples are a timesaver.
    • They also had a number of similar labels at the bottom of particularly gory strips during the original "K I T T E N". These started out as fairly straight warning labels and grew increasingly satirical throughout.
  • Referenced and parodied in Least I Could Do, when the main character is asked what he hears when the MythBusters give their famous warning "Don't try what you're about to see at Home." "Ever.". The answer? "Do it. Do it at home." "Do it bigger."
  • I'm Fa-Teen, the NC-14 panda, and this comic is now rated me. How joyous... Notable in this is a side comic, and the main comic, according to the artist (Who makes Ratings Pandas for others to use) is PG. The aformentioned Ratings Pandas can be found here.
  • Brawl in the Family makes sure to warn you, at great length, that its "Nasty" strip contains "excess gore, racism, foul language, public indecency, [and] frightening imagery" before you get to the actual comic. Which it does... in the form of several work-safe VisualPuns.
  • Khaos Komix: "This is an LGBTWTFBBQ comic about "the gays". It comes with all the trigger warnings and nothing is safe for work. This comic may upset you, anger you, or cause you to become hopelessly addicted to my updates."
  • The footer of El Goonish Shive states that it "is a comic about a group of teenagers who face both real life and bizarre, supernatural situations. It is a comedy mixed with drama and is recommended for audiences thirteen and older."

    Web Original 
  • In Survival of the Fittest, topics containing either extreme violence or graphic sex are expected to be given content warnings. This usually just results in more people reading it.
  • This Chromagic post contains a parody of this at the very start.
  • SF Debris threw one of these into his review of the Voyager episode "Elogim", mainly to warn viewers that he's going to be using a lot of profanity to describe how terrible the episode is.
  • Markiplier's Brutal Doom Let's Play has this at the start of the video. "Warning: this video contains scenes of extreme violence WHICH IS AWESOME!!!" [1]
  • Team Four Star parodies content warnings on their Dragon Ball Abridged bloopers/alternate ideas videos. Most notably, the first one opens with one of the members warning that the video will contain strong language not suitable for minors. He then adds "So if you're under the age of 18 and have never heard the word fuck before... well you have now!"
  • The Cinema Snob opened his review of Gross Out (a movie made to be as disgusting and offensive as humanly possible) by warning the viewer to turn the episode off immediately. He did not give this warning for no good reason.
  • Ben Minnotte warns male viewers with girlfriends on the Oddity Archive episode "American EXXXtacy (and Other C-Band Nastiness)" not to watch it, before noting that his viewers don't have girlfriends and says there will be eye candy to female viewers.

    Western Animation 
  • "All characters and events in this show — even those based on real people — are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated... poorly. The following program contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone." —South Park
  • "Just in case that last disclaimer wasn't enough, this episode contains extreme violence. We would rather run this than cut the violence from the episode because we are American Cowboys." —[adult swim] before really bloody episodes; as stated, it follows a more traditional (and bland) content warning advising that [adult swim] is not for younger viewers.
  • Code Monkeys contains a different gag disclaimer at the beginning of each episode, such as this one from "Super Prison Breakout":
    This Show...
    A) Contains content that may not be suitable for all audiences.
    B) Might use the word (beep) a lot.
    C) Rocks.
    Viewer Discretion is advised.
  • Beavis And Butthead had, not one, but two different Content Warnings during its run; apparently the first one wasn't quite serious enough, so they changed it up a bit without sacrificing the funny:
    • Beavis and Butt-head are not real. They are stupid cartoon people completely made up by this Texas guy who we hardly even know. Beavis and Butt-Head are dumb, crude, ugly, thoughtless, sexist, self-destructive fools. Some of the things they do will cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested...possibly deported. But for some reason the little wiener heads make us laugh.
    • Beavis and Butt-head are not role models. They're not even human; they're cartoons. Some of the things they do could cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested... possibly deported. To put it another way, Don't Try This at Home.
    • As the image at the top of the article shows, they even had to put in content warnings during the episodes "Stewart's House" (the gas stove sniffing one) and "Way Down Mexico Way" (the drug-filled condom swallowing one). Sadly, not even this bold act can save those episodes from being removed from circulation and returned to circulation with edits.
  • The DVDs of Futurama has content and copyright warnings in several languages, including alien script.
    • In the episode where Bender becomes a TV star, a scene of him setting himself on fire was given the disclaimer "Don't try this at home, kids", while Bender himself said "Try this, kids at home!"
    • When Dwight says that watching TV gave them the idea to rob Bender, there's a "Futurama" screen with Bender announcing: "You're watching Futurama, the show that does not promote the cool crime of robbery"
  • Batman Beyond:
    TV announcer: We'd like to warn our viewers that the following footage may be disturbing to young children.
    Young boy: Turn it up!
  • Rob Zombie's The Haunted World of El Superbeasto begins with a very straight faced rendition of the Frankenstein "friendly warning."
  • The Simpsons’ first few "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween Episodes had these. The first one was a direct parody of the Frankenstein warning.
    • An Itchy & Scratchy cartoon had one...after the cartoon ended. The top page quote is also an inversion.
  • In 1997, when the TV ratings were introduced, Nickelodeon put a content warning at the begining of KaBlam!!, as it was the first Nicktoon (and the only show at the time, the others were TV-Y, TV-G, or not rated (game shows, Kids Choice Awards) to be given a TV-Y7 rating (The Ren & Stimpy Show was the first Y7 show, however it was cancelled at the time). It was dropped in season 3, when Nickelodeon didn't feel the need to use it anymore.
    Nickelodeon announcer: Sometimes on KaBlam!!, things go Kablam!, And that's why it's rated Y7 (cue to Henry holding up a (heavy) TV-Y7 logo)
    Narrator: "Warning! The following very special Action League Now special contains scenes of Action Mayhem (AMH), Action Love (ALV), and Action Action (AA). It may be too intense for older viewers. Oh, and did we mention, somebody's naked (NKD) for the whole show?"
  • The Boondocks occasionally features a disclaimer, most notably before its episode focusing on closeted rapper Gangstalicious, assuring its audience that no, Gangstalicious was not based on any real artists, no, not even the one you're thinking of, and we'd really prefer to avoid the requisite hate mail and death threats, thank you.
  • In Total Drama Island and 6teen, when they both first started airing on Cartoon Network they had a warning message before each episode that stated they were rated PG (shows with that rating usually air on Adult Swim). Seeing as both shows only qualify for a heavy TV-Y7 rating (or a TV-G rating at best), the warnings were dropped.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series has some great ones, especially when the narrator (Kevin Michael Richardson) wonders aloud "Is anyone still watching after all that?" or talks about how the first episode is supposedly awful: "Tune in next week for a much better episode! For now, though—courage."
  • Made fun of on Family Guy at the beginning of Homicide: Life on Sesame Street: "This show contains adult content and is brought to you by the letter H."
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "The Monster of Doctor Phineasnferbenstein" opens with one, as a parody of the Frankenstein example above.
  • In Shrek the Third: "Swashbuckling Action".

    Other 
  • The Anime Boston convention has an extended warning segment before the AMV contest with clips from anime series showing what the warning represents, usually humorously. The Fanservice warning featured a clip from Golden Boy and a character in a Stripperiffic costume that had the audience rolling on the floor laughing.


Continuity AnnouncementShow PartsPrecap
Avoid the Dreaded G RatingRated I for IndexG-Rated Drug
But Not Too EvilCensorship TropesCut-and-Paste Translation
Comedy GhettoShow BusinessContractual Purity
Cold IronOlder Than PrintCool Boat
Beavis and Butt-HeadImageSource/Western AnimationDon't Try This at Home

alternative title(s): Viewer Discretion Advised; Content Warning
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