Should you allow your child to watch age-restricted movies?

Age restrictions for movies should be taken very seriously by parents and adhered to at all times to ensure the safety of your child.

 Age restrictions for movies exist to prevent children from viewing potentially harmful content.

It’s a Saturday afternoon and your 12-year-old child wants to watch a movie with you. Before you’re able to finish making the popcorn, your child is curled up on the couch, and IT is playing on the small screen. While you are lucky to stop the movie before things get really creepy, for weeks, your child still suffers nightmares of Pennywise the Clown hiding under their bed. Sound familiar?

Why do some movies have age restrictions?

Age restrictions for movies exist to prevent children from viewing potentially harmful content. While parents do have the freedom to choose what their kids do and don’t watch, many are still very aware of the influence inappropriate content can have and its lasting effects.

How long have age restrictions for movies been in place?

Age restrictions placed on movies are nothing new.  In 1968 the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) established a system of movie ratings for parents to use as a guide to determine the appropriateness of a film’s content for children and teenagers. For many years children have been prohibited from going to PG, PG13, and other age-appropriate movies. While the rating system has changed over time, the reasons for placing age restrictions on films have not.

How are movies rated?

Movies are rated according to content. This can include dialogue, violence, nudity, or any other aspect considered questionable for children. Though parents are certainly permitted to monitor what their children watch in the home, kids are not allowed to view certain movies by themselves. Different ratings specify different ages, but the question is one that should be addressed across the board.

Why should children not watch inappropriate movies?

As parents, we know that children are impressionable. They learn quickly and often imitate what they see and hear around them. They listen to what their friends say and often give in to peer pressure. This is why many parents want to shelter their children from certain types of movie, music, and book content as much as possible. Modern times mean kids are learning younger and faster. One reason for this is the lack of importance placed on monitoring what kids are watching both in the cinemas and on television. TV and DVDs have become convenient babysitters. Now more kids stay inside the house and watch movies or play video games than those who actually participate in outside activities.

Parents should always be on high alert

Parents don’t always monitor what type of content is being viewed. This leaves children the freedom to watch movies and shows without regard to rating. Family trips to the cinema also often include children of all ages. The chosen films may range from family-appropriate to adult-rated- this means kids are probably very likely to view content deemed inappropriate. While parents do have the freedom to choose what their kids do and don’t watch, many are still very aware of the influence inappropriate content can have and its lasting effects. Because of this, many parents should closely monitor what their children watch both at home and in the theatre.

What research reveals

While it has not been proven beyond a doubt that specific content directly contributed to certain types of behaviour, particular instances have been linked to movie content where kids will copy something they have seen. This often does not meet with positive results and can have a very negative impact on the children and those around them.

Different movie age restrictions explained

We take a look at the different movie rating systems – and what they mean: A – An all-ages category and means it is suitable for all. PG – This means an all-ages category but cautions sensitive viewers. Children under 13 are only allowed to purchase a ticket with the consent of the parent or caregiver. 7-9 PG – Not suitable for below 7, suitable for 7-9 but parent or caregiver must also be present for the duration of the film, suitable for 10 and older. 10 – Not suitable for below 10. Must be 10 and older. 10-12 PG – Not suitable for below 10, suitable for 10-12 but parent or caregiver must be present for the duration of the film, suitable for 13 and older. 13 – Not suitable for below 13. Must be 13 and older. 16 – Not suitable for below 16. Must be 16 and older. 18 – Not suitable for below 18. Must be 18 and older.