Bored now that there so many fewer trusts to bust, the Federal Trade Commission got together with a bunch of its teen friends and tried sneaking into some R-rated movies, only to discover that theaters are way less cool about that than they used to be. As it has in years past and probably while telling its mom it was going to see Oz The Great And Powerful, the FTC got a bunch of kids aged 13 to 16 and had them attempt to buy R-rated movie tickets without an accompanying parent. In the 2010 study, 33 percent of those undercover teens got in. But last year, those numbers hit a “historic low” of just 24 percent—a 9-percent drop in theater coolness that theatre owners see as a victory for the ratings system and their enforcement policies, because they still have no idea you can just buy a ticket for Oz and then sneak into Spring Breakers later.
For teens who haven’t yet figured out that strategy, the relative good news is that they still have a greater chance of getting into an R-rated movie than buying a violent video game, so maybe give it a shot. The same study found that only 13 percent of their underage “mystery shoppers” were able to buy M-rated video games—a number unchanged from 2010, and an affirmation that most guys who sell video games have a deep, seething hatred for teenagers. And while 64 percent of underage kids were able to purchase CDs with explicit lyric warnings last time around, in 2012 more than half of them were turned away, after clerks saw a teenager attempting to purchase a CD in the year 2012 and became suspicious. The FTC’s monitoring program has thus ensured that no kid under the age of 17 will see or hear adult content until they use their computers or phones.