Roundtable Discussion – Kids and Movies

22 Mar

My daughter came home from school with a note recently which read:

Your child is invited to a Good Behavior Party Friday; kids will be watching a movie and are encouraged to come in their pjs: pickles and popcorn will be served.

Sounds like a ton of fun, but right away, my blood pressure shoots through the roof.  The school my daughter attends had the parents sign permission slips at the beginning of the year, either allowing your child to watch PG rated movies, or stating parents must be notified prior to viewing a PG rated movie.  The problem for me was that I will not approve ANY PG rated movies for my 5-year-old, and really I want to be notified and approve of the G movies they plan to show her too.

Let’s face it, G and PG movies just are not what they used to be.  I once saw a documentary I would recommend to any parents struggling with the same issue called: “This Film is Not Yet Rated.”

When my friends and I compare notes on what we will allow our children to watch, I understand I land completely on the conservative side of this spectrum.  My kids have seen less than 15 movies total, in their entire lives, which is OK with me.  They have only been to the movie theater to watch documentaries at the museum or Curious George.

So, when my daughter’s teacher tells me the two choices are Horton Hears a Who (G) or Despicable Me (PG), I automatically go to my favorite referencing site: www.commonsensemedia.org.  After reviewing the choices in more detail, I don’t like either, quite frankly.  My biggest objection is the language.  I don’t care for her to hear characters calling each other names like “idiot”, “boob”, and “stupid”.  But, my daughter has great behavior, and should not be punished because her mom is strict about movies.  I tell the teacher I’ll approve of Horton but not Despicable Me.  She says fine, that’s the one she’ll show.

One of the things that troubles me, is that the school picks one movie for kids K-3rd grade to view.  So, those kids are ranging in ages from 5-8.  What’s appropriate for an 8 year old might not be appropriate for a 5 year old.  There are definitely things I would let my 5 year old watch that I wouldn’t let my 3 year old see.

I am really curious to know what other moms think about movie ratings.  Do you let your children watch movies?  What do you base your decision to allow them to watch a particular movie?  The rating?  Whether it looks cute and you yourself want to see it?  Does anyone else have the issue of the kids watching PG movies at school?  If so, how have you handled it?  Please feel free to weigh in!  Sometimes I feel like a complete lunatic.  Perhaps I am!  Let me know what you think!

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One Response to “Roundtable Discussion – Kids and Movies”

  1. Lisa May 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    I am so inconsistent when it comes to the movies I let our 5-year-old son watch. Shame on me!

    No PG-13 for sure. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Hollywood even makes PG for kids–do they really need to be bombared with sexual innuendo and foul language so young? Ugh.

    HOWEVER, I, too, recognize that not all PG films are created equal just as not all kids have the same level of perception and/or interest in the material on the screen. (Something can shoot right over my naive-son’s head…a fact I’m grateful for.)

    I blame a lot of the problems with kids movies on Shrek and its several sequels. Based on the success of those films, moviemakers started really lacing kids flicks with adult-oriented content to lure parents, tweens and teens to the theaters. I wish they’d just let kids movies be kids movies.

    I’m definitely checkintg out http://www.commonsensemedia.org, Lori. Thanks for the tip.

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