Summer is a great time to be with family and friends both indoor and out. Movies offer a wonderful respite from the heat and a couple of hours immersed in another world. Children naturally have a curiosity and interest in things way beyond their years. Isn’t that why it is up to parents to decide what is age appropriate for them, such as what movies they should watch?
The movie rating system was established to give parents guidelines as to what topics in the film may be inappropriate for certain age groups- such as language, sex, nudity, and subject matter. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me that families still bring kids as young as 4, 5, or 6 to PG-13 movies. They are brought in with other families and exposed to two hours of everyone sharing and laughing at all-too-often inappropriate behavior that makes jokes about sexuality, obesity, body image, potty humor, race, and how we interact with others. As adults, we can separate what’s funny and what we know is never allowed in the real world. But how are such young children to understand that difference?
Here they are, included in a group setting of all ages where they are encouraged to participate and laugh about comedy that even Mommy and Daddy are laughing at. They are expected to decipher that it may have been considered funny in the theater, but it is not funny, or appropriate, to laugh at someone else’s expense any other time.
Sometimes I wonder if this is far too much to ask of anyone, let alone children.
Next time, maybe we should think about how often we are exposing our children to situations they are not yet fully able to comprehend. Instead, let’s choose to show them actions, decisions and interactions we want to encourage them to emulate.