My daughter A will be 13 in May and is in the seventh grade. My son J is 10 and is in the fourth grade. Lately, I’ve been struggling with what’s appropriate when it comes to movies and books.
I work at a Library so normally it’s pretty easy for me to decide if a book is age-appropriate or not. I have access to the best librarians in the state. Both of my children are advanced readers but just because my fourth grader can read at a eighth grade level doesn’t mean I necessarily want him reading eighth grade material. So it’s very convenient to be able to ask a co-worker if the content is appropriate or not. However, both of my children also read very quickly. I didn’t realize my 10-year-old was reading “Hunger Games” until the third day when he was already halfway through the book. This is not a book I would have said yes to. Maybe he knew that… Don’t get me wrong. It’s an excellent book and I definitely suggest it for sixth grade and older. It’s just that it’s a little dark and I wasn’t sure he could handle it. He definitely proved me wrong. He LOVED it, he understood it and he got that it wouldn’t really happen.
So that brings us to the movie, starring one of his favorite actors – Josh Hutcherson, that is going to be released in March… Do I let him see it? I really don’t know what I will do.
Thanks to Victorious on Nickelodeon, my children now want to see “Breakfast Club.” Victorious did a spoof called “Breakfast Bunch.” Honestly, my kids were very confused because they had never seen the rated R movie. I, however, knew immediately what this show for TWEENS was making fun of. Why would a tween show do a spoof on a rated R movie? Now if you are wondering why the “Breakfast Club” is Rated R, let me remind you that it has sexual and drug content and says the F word at least two dozen times. I do not plan on letting the kids see this movie yet but thanks Nickelodeon for the argument!
Now they also want to see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off due to the new commercial. It’s rated PG13 due to foul language and sexual content. My daughter is almost 13… do I let her watch it and not my son? Honestly though, the 10-year-old, who can be very immature in certain aspects, is very mature when it comes to movies. He gets it’s pretend but he also gets most of the content. Do I let either one watch it?
What makes it harder is I know I saw some of these movies at their age. What were my parents thinking? Ha Ha.
I know some of you are laughing at me. I’m aware that some of A’s friends (and probably J’s) have seen Hangover, Pulp Fiction, Role Models and Hall Pass. There is no way I would let my children see any of these movies!! It’s your choice to let your children watch these but my children are not allowed. Does that make me a prude? Am I sheltering my kids? Maybe, but I don’t care. I don’t want them going around quoting Hangover. I would die of embarrassment (yes, I’ve heard 12-year-olds do this).
So how do you decide what movies and books are appropriate for your children?
I feel like this is something you need to decide for yourself but I’ll offer my two cents. I took My wee one to a PG-13 movie when she was 5. It was the last Harry Potter movie. We had a talk before it started that it might be intense and we could leave any time she wanted. She loved it and handled it well. Now, I wouldn’t take to just any PG-13 movie based on this. Yes it has it’s darker moments, but overall it celebrates sacrifice, commitment, friendship and classic good over evil. If the overall message is one I want ingrained in my child I’m willing to tackle the complexities. I don’t think we give kids enough credit. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. So, Harry Potter, yes. Breakfast Club, no. I say take it case by case and ask yourself what the message is they are receiving.
I struggle with this a lot as I feel like it’s a slippery slope. I love the website http://www.pluggedinonline. It gives great movie reviews including spiritual, violent and sexual content. Once you decide the values you want to instill you canto decide fromthe how it breaks a movie down from each of these vantage points. I personally feel we are stealing our children’s childhood by allowing them to view material that they are not capable of processing. We discuss movies with them and they nod their heads but could we be dulling their senses to violence, sexual promiscuity, and just basic respect. As far as letting them see the Hunger Game movie…an adults imagination played out on screen will be so much more intense than a 10 year old reading a book…
promiscuity, violence, respect for humanity etc
I’m with you on this. Ian hasn’t read the Hunger Games yet, and he nor Erin haven’t seen a lot of movies that I know many of their friends may have already watched. I have let them watch a few things that I wouldn’t let them watch with other kids without permission like Spaceballs, Airplane, and some Monty Python skits on You tube because that is just my family’s type of humor. For the most part we’ve been able to keep it pretty PG.
At A’s age though, this might be a good time to start watching the movies with her. Give you a chance to talk about those situations in the context of the movie, but also another chance to talk about how to handle peer pressure, etc.
I use to view them first… but even the cartoon movies have underlying messages… I once walked out of Rug Rats movie with Kids in tow…
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