The U.S.-based Parents Television Council has made a complaint to MTV after former child star Miley Cyrus's raunchy performance at the Video Music Awards.

"This much is absolutely clear: MTV marketed adults-only material to children while falsely manipulating the content rating to make parents think the content was safe for their children," said PTC director of public policy Dan Isett. "How is this image of former child star Miley Cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds?"

The former star of Disney's Hannah Montana stole the show on Sunday in infamous fashion, bumping and grinding alternately with R&B singer Robin Thicke and a foam finger while dressed in a nude-coloured latex bikini.

The PTC also took issue with Lady Gaga's performance at the beginning of the show, and the airing of commercials for condoms and R-rated movies.

"Viacom has a set of corporate broadcast standards that were obviously broken in this case for financial gain," said PTC advisory board member Paul Porter, adding, "Heads should roll at MTV."

Cyrus seemed undaunted by the wave of criticism, at least publicly. On Monday she tweeted, "Smilers! My VMA performance had 306.000 tweets per minute. That's more than the blackout or Superbowl!"

Cyrus's fourth album Bangerz hits stores in October. Her father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, sits on the PTC's advisory board.