When I was a preteen I watched many R rated movies. Somehow I turned out ok. BUT, I believe this is only by the grace of God and through my relationship with Jesus Christ. Without these things I don’t know where I would have ended up.
So, are R rated movies ok for my preteen?
In Luke 6:45 Jesus said, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” In other words, GARBAGE IN – GARBAGE OUT. To help us answer this question, let’s take a look at the ratings and what they mean.
G – All Audiences
“A G-rated motion picture contains nothing in theme, language, nudity, sex, violence or other matters that, in the view of the Rating Board, would offend parents whose younger children view the motion picture.” (emphasis added)
Well, I don’t know about you, but I can be fairly certain that my views of what is appropriate and not are probably quite different from those of the “Rating Board.” Just cause something isn’t offensive, “in the view of the Rating Board.” Doesn’t mean that I want my kids to watch it.
As a general rule I allow all of my kids to watch G rated movies without previewing them myself, but I would recommend caution even with these movies. As the moral standards of our world decline even these may not be safe.
“Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation but they are normal everyday language.”
“Normal everyday language” for who? I spent 16 years working in an emergency department. I can tell you that all sorts of language including regular use of the F-bomb are “normal everyday language” for many people. This included both patients and staff, men and women, and all ages. This assurance that the language in the movie is “normal everyday language” doesn’t give me much reassurance.
PG – Parental Guidance Suggested
Some material may not be suitable for children
“A PG-rated movie should be investigated by parents before they let their younger children attend…The more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity”
In one step from G to PG we are looking at “more mature themes”. How much more mature can they get in just one step? Depending on the age of the child “some profanity” may be tolerable. With my 11 year old I use these as teaching opportunities. However, my 4 year old doesn’t need to hear it. She does not yet have the self control to hear this type of language and not say it.
I feel the same way about SOME violence. I feel that when it comes to FANTASY VIOLENCE my 11 year old is capable of differentiating that from reality. I don’t think that after watching two fictional robots beat each other up that my son is going to go out and beat anybody up. That being said, I will not allow him to watch movies that contain a more realistic violence such as Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th. Of course, even mild violence is not appropriate for my 4 year old.
PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned
Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
“A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements.”
Ok, I would have to agree that 13 year olds can probably handle more mature themes. They can probably handle a little more violence or language. I still would not let my 13 year old see movies containing realistic violence. BUT, at the age of 13 NO KID needs to see any amount of nudity, sensuality, or adult activities. Hormone filled teenagers don’t need these things. For that matter adults should avoid movies with these things in them.
“Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating.”
Well, that makes me feel much better. At least drug use depicted in a movie could be used as a teaching moment for a preteen.
“More that brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented.”
“Not sexually oriented.” REALLY?!?! For a teenage boy ALL NUDITY IS SEXUALLY ORIENTED. Sex and sexuality is everywhere we look. It is hard enough for a teenager to avoid sexual content in their everyday life. Do them a favor and filter this from the movies they watch.
R – Restricted
Children under 17 require accompanying parent or adult guardian.
“An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements.”
Does this sound like something that you REALLY want to expose your preteen or even your teenager to? Go back and read Jesus words from Luke at the top of this post. Do these things sound like EVIL to you? Guess what, when our kids view such things they are “storing up evil in their hearts.” From this evil stored in their heart they WILL do evil things. When we allow them to view such things we put ourselves, as parents, in a negative balance. We then have to scramble to try to store enough good in their heart so that good comes from it.
So, are R-rated movies alright for my preteen?
NO! Being a kid these days is harder than it ever has been. Biblical values are becoming less and less common and are even being considered BAD by many in our society. Used to be that the values you taught in your home were at least supported in the other places your child would spend time. This is not the case anymore. As Christians much of what we believe is not only no longer popular, it is often considered a negative thing. Schools actually teach the opposite of what we believe, while working hard to keep the Bible out. For these reasons we need to help our kids. Remove as many negative influences as possible. I’m not saying that we lock our kids up and keep them separate from the world. After all we are instructed to be “salt” and light in this world. We can not do that if we don’t interact with this world. However, things like R-rated movies, and even some video games, simply add a layer to all this that is easily avoided and can be harmful to our kids.
I know that taking this stance may make you unpopular with your preteen and almost certainly will with your teenage. But, at the end of the day it is our job to parent them, not be there friend, but that is a whole other post.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this topic.Matt Norman
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