Is my 6-year-old ready for the likes of Jack Sparrow?
Is my 6-year-old ready for the likes of Jack Sparrow?

The kid wants to see PG-13 movies

Most of the time, I am turned off by the PG-13 rating, because usually I want the director / producer / actors to take it to the limit with "adult content." However, lately, my thoughts about PG-13 movies have been in reference to my son, who is only 6, but already wants to watch a slew of films with this rating.

At the top of his must-see list is "Pirates of the Caribbean," followed by "Iron Man" and the Transformers movie. I am still pushing "Cars" and "WALL-E," and he still loves both of these films, but other kids in his class have seen "big kid movies," and naturally he wants to check them out, too.

Really, this is a microcosm of a bigger issue. Whether the subject is movies or video games or curfews, there will often be a divide between our family's rules and the values of other families. In the case of PG-13 movies, I don't want my kid to be left out of popular culture milestones, but I don't want to expose him to too much too soon, either.

I think I need to consider each film individually, and think about what I really don't want him to see until he is older. I probably need to pre-watch these films, too. Luckily, I find Johnny Depp delicious, so pre-watching the "Pirates" films is not a problem. In fact, I can't believe I haven't already seen these.

I told my son he would probably have to wait a few years to see a couple of these films, and he asked me at what exact age would be acceptable. I threw out 10 or 11 as a ballpark age, but this made him pout and say, "I'm not going to wait that long! I'm going to see them when I'm 16!"

His number and age confusion only furthers my hunch that he is not ready for some of the content in these flicks. But if anyone has any cut-and-dried thoughts about a 6-year-old seeing PG-13 movies, I'm all ears.

Talkbacks

Twaddle | Feb. 11, 2009 at 1:29 p.m. (report)

34515 I remember the first "R" rated movie I saw... can't remember the title, but I later re- watched it again, unedited on network TV. The criteria they use for rating films is not an objective thing, really. It leaves out context and maturity level of the viewer. There is a lot on TV that I cringe at, even for my 14 yo, but I think that if you watch it with him, to trouble shoot any questions or misunderstanding, it can be ok.
I am lucky not to have had to deal with this issue, yet with my youngest.

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viewfromnyave | Feb. 2, 2009 at 9:13 a.m. (report)

34571 Bah, kids are usually only scared of things when we let them know it's scary. They're resiliant little people Relying on the subjective ratings of the MPAA is pretty silly anyway. I say, if a kid is old enough to seperate real from fake, then let them watch.

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kbeanz | Feb. 1, 2009 at 2:36 p.m. (report)

WHY does your child want to see those movies? Because it's what he's seeing everyone else do? Or because he's truly interested in those kinds of stories?

If it's that he's feeling left out and wants to be a "big kid," that might not be the right reason. A better reason might be that he's interested in pirates, or mechanical things, or likes fantastical stories.

It really does depend on the kid, and I would definitely pre-watch the movies in any case. Some films push the envelope to the farthest point of a certain rating, other films get the rating because of some passing moment that barely crosses the threshold of a standard. Some movies might use a harsh word and get the rating, others might actually be dark and violent through much of the movie. So it's up to you to screen them, with your kid's personality in mind.

My son saw Mars Attacks when he was eight, and it bothered him for several years. Other movies he was just fine with.

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JKranky | Feb. 1, 2009 at 11:11 a.m. (report)

It depends on the movie. We don't like violence. But some of the movies you mention have action and fighting, but no blood or views of anyone getting killed. Star Wars has more violence, blood and extended fighting and war scenes than Transformers or Iron Man.

It depends on the child. Does your child truly think violence is wrong? Our child will censor himself and tell us it is too scarey or that a certain character is being bad. But it is hard to guess. For example, he is still having bad thoughts about The Ghost and Mister Chicken (the scarey organ that plays itself), but was able to deal with Iron Man with no signs of increased aggression.

And it is sort of fun seeing a 5 year old nodding his head to Black Sabbath's Iron Man.

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wfbgal | Jan. 31, 2009 at 10:40 p.m. (report)

35172 My opinion is, that 6 is a little to far to the PG 13 age limit and agree that 10 or 11 is a bit closer. I do think, that watching something on the TV vs the BIG SCREEN might make something a little less scary for kids.

That being said, my son is 11, almost 13 and he has seen some PG 13 movies; he has a friend who is 13 and is allowed to watch rated R movies. This kid also has a collection of knives and the parents have a very hard time saying no to this child. Probably the reason why I don't let them hang out at his house anymore.

A 6 year old watching PG 13, is the equilvant of this 13 year old watching rated R movies - in my mind at least and if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?

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