Movie Ratings: What You Should Know About Them
So, your 12-year-old daughter wants to go with her friends to see the newest movie out and EVERYONE is going! You’re not sure it’s appropriate for your child to watch. What is a parent to do?
I start by looking at the rating that has been applied to the movie. In fact, my children know that when they ask to go see a movie they have to tell me who is in it, what it is about and the rating at the time they ask if they can go.
We all know that each movie receives a rating when it is released, but do you understand what the Letter Rating implies?
The movie rating system has been around since the late sixities. The purpose of the system is to let those attending movies know ahead of time if there is content which may be offensive or inappropriate.
The current ratings, and their meanings, are posted below. Take a few minutes to look over the ratings so you are prepared to answer if a movie is appropriate for your children.
G-rated Movies are those which are considered to be non-offensive. Parents can expect a movie with this rating to be free of sexual content, nudity and drug or alcohol use. There may be mild language and violence. Many people think these movies are meant for children but that isn’t necessarily always true. Be prepared to discuss things which are questionable with your children so they know where you stand on the movie. Violence, even in a cartoon setting can be upsetting to younger children.
PG-rated Movies may have some offensive content. “Some“ being the operative word and the degree is at the discretion of the movie producer. Parents might want to watch the movie for themselves before allowing their young children to watch it. Movies with this rating may have some profanity, more graphic violence or brief nudity. When you watch the movie before your child sees it, you’ll be prepared to address anything you’re concerned about.
PG-13 rated Movies are nearing the R rating but haven’t reached that level yet. PG-13 movies may include longer scenes of nudity or violence. Sexual expletives (the F-word and others) may be used as long as it’s not in a sexual circumstance. This rating often confuses parents more than other ratings because the offensive material may be used in ways that it isn’t clear. Watch the film before your child sees it or with your child so you can discuss it afterwards.
NC-17 rated Movies are ‘too adult’ for anyone younger than 17 years of age. Movies with this rating may (may? count on it!) contain sexual content and/or graphic violence which should only be viewed by adults. Parents often thing that NC-17 movies imply pornography but that is not necessarily always true. Parents would want to keep all children younger than 17 from seeing these movies.
R-rated Movies contain adult content which is not under any circumstance appropriate for young moviegoers. The only thing keeping this level of rating from being X is because there isn’t enough that the rating board would deem as sexually explicit. The movies given this rating will most likely have strong language and adult conversations, drug or alcohol use, mature themes or activities, extended violent behavior and sexually-oriented nudity.
The bottom line is that all motion pictures are given a rating. This does not mean you can blindly trust that your child will not be exposed to something that would warrant at least a discussion before or after the movie. The rating is applied to the movie based on the overall film instead of on particular part. So if the majority of the movie is not offensive – the movie will receive a lower rating. However, you may find that there is enough to be concerned about in just one or two scenes that they would prefer to keep their child from watching it.
Perfect example is the post by Katrina of It’s A Weghorn Life.. I’ve Scarred My Child with Disney!
Here is a free printable of the Movie Ratings that you can slip in your wallet or on your activity wall to have handy when the crew asks about going to see a movie.
I would stress doing a little homework on the movies your children want to see. Look around on different movie review sites to see how they are rated. Read the posted reviews from other parents. You can always watch the movie before you give your child the go-ahead to see it. Despite the fact that movies are given a rating which should help you decide if a movie is okay for your child to watch, it is always better to trust your own instincts before you say yes.
Here are a couple of sites that not only share the ratings of movies, but the thoughts and concerns of movie goers and other parents. Not a bad idea to take a look if you are not familiar with the movie in question.
If you are on Twitter, make sure to follow Film Ratings and receive updates as the ratings and reasons are posted.
Being involved in the lives of your children is where the responsibility falls. The Movie Ratings are just guidelines to help you decide what may be appropriate or not for your family.
How about your house? Do you have guidelines for what movies or types of movies that your children can view at different ages? I would love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section.