Playgroup Discussion: Do You Follow Movie Rating Guidelines?

Thursday, Sep 17, 2009 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (18)

movietheater.jpgMy husband’s birthday was two weeks ago and his awesome sister watched the kids so we could go to a movie. Because it was his day, he chose District 9. If it were mine, we would have seen Julia & Julia, but I sacrificed.
We were sitting down eating popcorn when a woman and two boys entered. The boys were around 10- and 8-years-old. District 9 is Rated R, which the Motion Picture Association of America explains as “Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian due to the adult themes of hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, and drug abuse.”
The boys did have an adult with them, but should she have brought boys that age to see a movie where a man eats prawn-like aliens?

I’m pretty conservative when it comes to what movies I allow my girls to watch. My 5-year-old has just recently been allowed to see some PG rated movies. We do a lot of research first to make sure the movie will be appropriate for her. One website I like is Kids in Mind. It breaks down everything about a movie and allows a parent to decide if they feel comfortable letting their child see it.
What do you think? Do you follow movie ratings or do you feel that you can decide on your own what is appropriate for your child?
Photo by A God’s Child


  1. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  September 17, 2009 @ 11:38 am

    An adult brought the kids.
    What’s the problem?
    It might not be what you (or I) would do, but I don’t like to comment on every parenting decision others make.
    Some kids watch insanely violent shows and play insanely violent video games.
    And some argue that as long as kids have an outlet for violence (and internet porn), that they are LESS likely to engage.
    In fact, teenagers are now less violent and teen pregnancy is been on the decline for years (though it recently was up year to date). These number coincide with the explosion (!) of violent video games and internet porn.
    So here, if the adult– who knows the kid better than we do, believes s/he can handle it, who are we to judge?
    (Understanding that the prof is the most judgmental person around….)

  2. POSTED BY Kristen Kemp  |  September 17, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

    I wouldn’t bring my kids at ages 9 or 10. But I do think my parents took me to some stuff like that. I went to see the first Alien movie, for example. Who knows why or how other parents make these decisions?
    It drives me crazy that sexuality and violence get lumped under the same R-rating. But that’s a whole other story.

  3. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  September 17, 2009 @ 12:12 pm

    I’ll admit it, I’m judging. The movie had tons of violence, an image of a man having intercourse with an alien, and bad language.
    My parents were very loose with me and what I could watch. Sure, I turned out okay, but when I think back at what I was watching as a kid now that I’m a parent, I realize how bad it was.

  4. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  September 17, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

    Movie ratings are a starting point but I need to know more about subject matter so thanks for the link Georgette.
    PG does seem to be the new G, but we haven’t adopted that perspective and we won’t. We tend to avoid PG films as a rule so the trend just means my kids go to fewer movies.

  5. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  September 17, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    Kristen, I too saw Alien when I was about that age and I tell ya it scared the poop out of me. The image of the alien coming out of the guys stomach bothered me for a long, long time.

  6. POSTED BY mtclibn42  |  September 17, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    If I am not mistaken, ‘Ponyo’ is rated G.
    I understand the dilemma. I have a 5 year old and most of the films that are marketed to her are rated PG, and I am not comfortable with that.

  7. POSTED BY Generically named Mike  |  September 17, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

    What the Prof said, plus bear this in mind:
    Most “G” rated movies from the 70s – 80s (including most “classic” Disney cartoons from this same period and before) would receive a PG rating by today’s standards. “Snow White”, for example, contains scary moments and/or violence. (Link to Wiki’s guide to ratings.)
    Interestingly enough, many “R” rated films from that same time period would probably only get a “PG-13” if they were released today.
    This is mainly because the “PG” rating wasn’t introduced until the mid 1970s and “PG-13” in the mid 1980s.
    Another factor on both ends of the spectrum has to do with what is generally accepted by society. On the “G” end of the scale, many parents are more protective of their children than our parents were of us (especially when it comes to things like movies & TV) and on the “R” side of things, it probably has to do with the mass desensitizing of society in the internet age.

  8. POSTED BY Generically named Mike  |  September 17, 2009 @ 2:02 pm
  9. POSTED BY Kristen Kemp  |  September 17, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    Yes, Alien scared the poo out of me, too. But you bet your hind end I wasn’t missing Poltergeist. You know you saw Poltergeist. I’m pretty sure my older brother took me, though, and not my parents. If a kid is dying to see something, she’ll find a way to see it. Might as well take them then so we parents know. I’ll have to draw the line at today’s horror movies like The Saw. Preteens love that stuff, but I can’t watch it. Just yuck.

  10. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  September 17, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

    The little prof is INTO The Boomarang Network now.
    Lots of Scooby Doo.
    Lots of other shows, like yogi bear(a), feature much violence.
    But are you really going to tell me that Yogi is bad for kids?
    And you know what, I’ve turned on this one, I don’t care as much.
    Georgette said it: “I turned out okay.”
    And most of us did.
    I don’t think cartoon violence leads to more violence. Anymore than having kids listen to Bach will make them musicians.
    Some kids will always be aggressive, regardless of what they watch– something about genes……

  11. POSTED BY CariAnnV  |  September 17, 2009 @ 11:28 pm

    I judge parents all the time and assume I am constantly also under scrutiny.
    “No one under 17” should be a law not a suggestion and any adult who brings anyone under 10 should be arrested. I’d be happy to do the arresting.
    Can I get a Parent Police badge? – I need a badge.

  12. POSTED BY Laura P  |  September 18, 2009 @ 10:00 am

    Seeing a post about movie ratings reminded me of watching “Sixteen Candles” this summer with my kids. I remembered liking the movie, and it’s Rated PG, so I rented it to watch with my 8 year-old son and 11 year-old daughter. Imagine our surprise at the locker room shower scene; naked high school girl, dripping wet, frontal nudity– oh my! No turning back now, we all saw what we saw, and we decided that it must be OK to replay that scene a couple of times, since the movie was Rated PG and all… Anyway, just thought it was interesting to note how much movie ratings have changed over the years.

  13. POSTED BY Generically named Mike  |  September 18, 2009 @ 10:05 am

    If that was sarcasm: BRILLIANT!
    If it wasn’t: I really hope you’re not in The Congress or some other body that can actually affect the change you advocate above.
    We live in enough of a nanny state as it is without people like you telling me I can’t let my hypothetical teenaged child watch movies like “Flags of Our Fathers” after expressing interest in what he learned in History class.

  14. POSTED BY Generically named Mike  |  September 18, 2009 @ 10:09 am

    Sixteen Candles is speciffically cited as one of the movies that lead to the creation of the “PG-13” rating (Gremlins was another, I think).
    Though, from what you described above, I think it would probably get an “R” if released today. Implied sexual activity and nudity: PG-13. Full fruntal or blatant sexual activity: R.

  15. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  September 18, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

    We all know one thing:
    KIDS WILL EXPLODE if they see naked people in a shower.
    Penis: BAM!!!!!
    Breasts(es): POW!!!
    SAVE. THE. CHILDREN. AT. ALL. COSTS!!!!!!!!!!!
    Therefore, every show will be Barney….
    (Just keep telling the kid: there are no bad people in the world and no naked people, either….)
    And just wait till the evilness or nakedness of the world slaps the little one in the head…

  16. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  September 18, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

    Nudity is one thing, sex is another.

  17. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  September 18, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

    Penis IN vagina:

  18. POSTED BY Kristen Kemp  |  September 19, 2009 @ 10:32 am

    I do not mind sexuality–nudity, making out, bampowsockexplode–on TV or in movies. If my kids are there, that’s fine with me. We’ll talk about it. Sex is no big deal. Ripping people’s bodies apart is just kind of different to me, and I don’t know why both are lumped under the same R rating.

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