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  1. #1

    Default How do you deal with ratings/appropriate content in books/movies/video games?

    I know parents who strictly abide by the film industry standard of no PG-13 until their child is 13.
    I know parents who take six year olds to R rated films, and parents who don't allow PG-13 until their kids are 16.
    I know parents who preview everything their child wants to read, watch and listen to..... and those who let their child try read anything they choose themselves from the library.
    I know parents who won't allow MA 14 video games in the house, and those who are comfortable letting their young kids play them.
    Same with music...etc.

    What's your personal philosophy about letting your kids be exposed to edgier culture? Where do you draw your lines? Do you have any lines? Or do you think full access is best, because at least you can talk about things and discuss issues/consequences/etc. when everything is out in the open?

    Are you more bothered by violence or sex? Neither? Both? Why?

    Are there any books/films/music/games that you absolutely will not allow ever?
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Arrived Avalon's Avatar
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    For movies, I will often check the parent's guide on IMDB. It gives detailed information on how much nudity, violence, coarse language, frightening/intense scenes, etc... takes places in the movie. I'm not terribly concerned about sex, nudity, or coarse language. I am more concerned about adult themes, and how scary/intense the movie is.

    My husband is the gamer in the family and I defer to his authority on video games. Usually, "cartoon violence" is not a concern, but graphic depictions of real violence involving people are no-no's. Plants vs Zombies is fine, and Grand Theft Auto is not, for instance.

    I did make my daughter wait until she was 12 to read the Hunger Games. Mostly, I don't worry about what she's reading. Then again, she hasn't picked out anything at the library that I would worry about. I do have a quick look at what she's picked, mostly out of curiosity, not that I would necessarily prevent her from reading it. I have pre-read a few books just to check. I definitely wouldn't hand her Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, or 50 Shades of Grey. Sexual violence and torture are probably the only things that I actively try to keep out of her world.

  4. #3

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    We're still at a stage where we preview; and we're pretty cautious. There are even some commonly-read books for children (e.g. Wimpy Kid) that we've steered DD away from because we don't like the cynicism, language and strange family dynamics depicted. I imagine we would become less controlling about her reading as time goes on. (Part of the problem we face is that her reading fluency has outpaced her age. It's becoming a bit of a challenge to find books with the right length and complexity that aren't aimed at older kids.)

    We watch a movie once a week. It's always tame. I'd preview anything scary, violent, etc. when the time comes.

    As I write this, it sounds like we're some sort of fundamentalist family or the like; but enough of the edgier parts of culture seep in from the edges, that I don't regret in the least maintaining our little oasis of idealism as long as possible.
    DD age 9, Grade 4ish

    Eclectic. We do music, math English, history/geography/culture, Russian and science. Lots and lots of reading. I blog at suzukiexperience.com

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  5. #4

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    We definitely actively screen. Fortunately, DD dislikes movies for the most part (not sure why), so we don't often battle that. Like MNDad, things like Wimpy Kid get passed over. I do want to preserve the innocence of youth as long as possible. There is so much crap out there. Some is overt, but more often it is the "Roseanne" type sarcasm/humor that has so pervasively infiltrated our culture that we view it as normal. I'm not so Pollyanna that I think we should be back to Leave it to Beaver. But I just don't like the way kids speak to each other and adults these days, and I think they get it straight from movies, TV, internet, and books.

    Besides, I'm the sarcastic smart-ass in our house. I don't want competition.
    Working mom homeschooling DD (10) who is working on a 4th-6th grade level and keeps me hopping! SimpleMoney is my new venture. www.simplemoneypro.com

  6. #5

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    I have always vetted all forms of media for DS. Now he's 15, I don't vet quite so closely, but if he really wants to see/read/play something that I would prefer him to not see/read/play, he knows he has to give me good reason as to why. From age nine to 13, he had to give a PowerPoint presentation to convince me of his reasons why he should be allowed to try something to which I otherwise would give a resounding NO. Nowadays, the reins are loosened but he has to promise to be responsible with something of which I disapprove. For instance, in June last year I gave him conditions under which his stepfather and I would approve his having GTA 5, a game he'd been wanting for a while. If he met the conditions by the beginning of December, he could get the game.

    He *did* meet the conditions, so he was allowed the game.

    I still do not like the game, not one teeny bit, but he has so far proved to us that he can be responsible with it (such as refusing to join in missions his online buddies design that he finds distasteful). For this game, as for any movie, TV show or book, if he starts showing an attitude change that can be traced back to said movie, TV show or book, then things have to be scaled back.

    So far, he's being mature about everything and not questioning my occasional queries on x, y and z.

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  7. #6

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    We actively screen too. Books-wise, I will admit to being a huge snob and really only allowed "literature" until she could hold her own (she's one of those late readers) but now she gets more freedom to choose and thankfully she doesn't choose crap. Movies: we've always enjoyed movie time as a family and always consider her when choosing. For example, we all really loved seeing Boyhood on Thurs night but knew it would have language and sad situations and bad teenage decisions...but seeing it and pausing it and answering her questions when they came up was great. (She'll be 11 at the end of this month but she's fairly immature/not pre-teen angsty if that helps) Video games...grr. We're still holding the purse strings but her friends like what I would consider to be "older" games. That day will come but it's the one area I don't have much confidence in monitoring.

    I will say though homeschooling has allowed us to filter nearly EVERYTHING yay

    If she's uncomfortable with anything she's read or seen, though, she still feels like she can ask us our opinion or for help. I want to hold on to that as long as possible!

  8. #7

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    We filter and adjust what we let our kids watch.
    Diary of Wimpy Kid got so many appalled reviews from other parents I know that we just skipped it entirely. Just because something is *made* for kids doesnt mean its appropriate. DS watched Lord of the Rings with us when he was 5 or 6 with us, and we were perfectly willing to stop the films at any point where it was too intense for him. Harry Potter was darker and more violent than I liked for him - we watched the series at home.
    Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica - not til hes all grown up.
    Other than that, though, we just dont watch things inappropriate to mixed audiences.
    It helps also that we have Tivo, so all shows on the tv have been pre-approved - there is no accidental watching of icky cartoon station or broadcast trash. Wild Kratts, Word Girl, and science shows are pretty much all he can watch.
    Im also with Avalons husband for video games - cartoonish violence is okay, realistic violence and sexual violence is not. No Grand Theft Auto here, although Serious Sam - where a *hero* travels back through time and kills monsters (FPS) in ancient egyptian or mesoamerican temples is what DS9 is playing now.

    I can understand parents setting strict rules about what their kids see - way more so than the parents that just let their kids see any movie, play any game, read any book.

    No, I would not let my son read Clan of the Cave Bear. Or Fifty Shades of Grey.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

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  9. #8

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    I ought to add it's a huge grey area for most parents, right? What is suitable for one kid might not be for another, even if they are the same age. Another homeschooling mum I know has a teen DS's age. He's extremely intelligent, takes part in G&T classes for MENSA kids and has a very mature approach to most things. Trouble is, he will not watch, read or play anything where death is a theme. So his parents have to ensure that there is little violence and death in whatever he is exposed to, otherwise he gets very upset. DS, on the other hand, has no issue with death being a theme, and has been able to separate fantasy from reality from an early age.

    Sex, however, is the opposite for DS and this other teen. The other kid is very matter-of-fact about it, whether it's in a book, or part of a TV show/movie. DS, OTOH, hates anything to do with the mention or viewing of sexual scenes. He's a real prude LOL.

    So when something is R because of violence or language, DS is fine watching it, and I am fine with him watching it. However, if the R is largely because of sex, he won't even consider it.

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  10. #9
    Senior Member Enlightened BatDad's Avatar
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    Like many of you, we also screen, but the ratings are just a guideline. We only have one TV in the house, and my 9yo has a good self monitor where he will simply find something else to do if we did not catch something before we watched it. His reading is about half fiction, and when he chooses books, I honestly just give them a quick glance.

    For games, there are the set of games that are simply not allowed in the house. Like movies, he knows when there are times I want a game to myself, and he is off to something else.

    What we have to monitor more so are the comic books. We have developed our comic interest together, but I quickly realized that "comic" does not mean "child can read." I have a set of books that he does not get to read until teenage years. So I will scan or read many of his books, and I even direct him toward characters that are more suitable for a 9yo.

    I'm sure my 3yo will be different, but my 9yo doesn't even like to see the kiss in Frozen.
    Last edited by BatDad; 01-03-2015 at 12:40 PM.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Arrived Avalon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspiecat View Post
    From age nine to 13, he had to give a PowerPoint presentation to convince me of his reasons why he should be allowed to try something to which I otherwise would give a resounding NO.

    Aspie
    I LOVE the Powerpoint presentation. I'm impressed that he actually did it. My daughter was after me for an Instagram account for a long time. I told her that all she had to do was write a short report explaining what it is, how it works, and what she wanted to use it for. I never got my report, and she still doesn't have Instagram.

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How do you deal with ratings/appropriate content in books/movies/video games?