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What do you think of children watching PG-13 movies?

June 21st, 2010

I took a break from blogging after covering the 10 Hot Button Parenting Issues. Enjoyed some time off with my kids. Now I’m back for more.

For #11, I’ve come across this Hot Button Topic with many parents I’ve talked to.

Do you allow your children under 13 to watch PG-13 or even rated R movies?

I bet many kids under 13 have seen Iron Man and Iron Man 2, both are rated PG-13.  Saving Private Ryan is highly recommended for the values of heroism and sacrifice exemplified, but it’s rated R – for prolonged graphic war violence and language. I’ve talked to several 5th, 6th, 7th graders, under 13 and definitely under 17, who have seen that movie.

Many parents think nothing of taking their young children to see PG-13 movies, even rated R movies.  If it’s a popular movie with good reviews, especially those with artistic merit, they figured it’s good entertainment. After all, watching something for just 2 hours isn’t going to corrupt anyone, is it?

With advance technology,  the picture on the screen is more than a show;  it is created to be real life. When you are watching a movie in a dark theater, don’t you feel you are transported to another place and time, experiencing what the actors are experiencing? With the increase in 3D technology now, that realism is even more vivid. In fact, the measure of a good movie is the ability to engross you completely for 2 hours.

Movies are not merely entertainment. It involves you, draws you in, and thus affects you in a powerful way, whether positive or negative.

I love VeggieTales movies because I believe they have the power to influence my children with positive values. If that is so, I also have to believe that movies with bad values will have a negative influence on my children.

I think the question to ask is not, “What’s so bad about these movies?” or “Can a 2-hour movie really hurt my children?” Rather, “What exactly are my children being influenced by in this movie?” Once you answer that question, then you can decide whether or not you would want to let your children watch it.

What I do is read movie reviews from family-friendly sites before taking my children to the movies or renting DVDs, such as Plugged In, Crosswalk, and Kids in Mind. I do not categorically rule out a movie based on the rating, and I do not automatically approve a movie that is rated G or PG.  Shrek taught me that a  PG rating does not mean it’s kid-friendly. Sorry, but I didn’t think too much of that movie.

Let me end with saying that parents need to be proactive in whatever issue we are faced with. The culture is not thinking about what’s good for our children. That’ s our job.

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  1. Good point that it is not the rating alone that influences whether a film is appropriate for a child. There are definitely PG movies that would be intense or innapropriate for younger kids, just as there are PG-13 or even R movies that may be appropriate to watch with your child and explain things that are difficult for them.

  2. I have to add however, that I don’t think I’ve seen any rated R movies that I think appropriate for children under 17.


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