Thoreau Quote

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Film censorship - getting it wrong

I've always thought of myself as quite conscientious when it comes to deciding whether or not to let my children watch a particular film or TV show or play a particular game. I'm not sure if I would say I'm strict (although the kids might disagree!) it's just that I've tried to make sure that they're not exposed to too much, too soon, before they have the maturity to handle it.

I think I may have taken the decision making process to extremes sometimes, insisting on watching films myself first. Oh, those lost hours! Still, '8 Mile' (a 15 film which required viewing to see if my 13 year old could watch it) was surprisingly good.

Anyhow, we went as a family to the cinema a couple of days ago. Family activities aren't especially easy to arrange now, the age gaps seem huge and it's more difficult to find things that everyone wants to do. Cinema is normally a pretty safe bet (after the extensive discussions and disagreements over which film, of course), apart from the fact that although the three eldest are now teenagers (help me!!), the youngest is still only 10 so any movie rated 12A requires a decision as to whether it's suitable.

I'm sure many of you with more than one child won't be surprised to hear that my level of conscientiousness, just like my parenting as a whole, has become, umm, shall we say become somewhat more relaxed over the years. That's not to say that I don't care now. It's more that I'm not so obsessive about it. I'm also aware that the family my current ten year old lives in, as the youngest of four, bears little resemblance to the family my eldest lived in when he was ten, despite the family members being the same. It's just birth order. Whilst T at that age was a member of a primary-school-and-younger aged family, A is being raised in a family of 'grown ups' and even with my attempts to extend her childhood as long as possible, it is bound to have an effect.

So because of this, and also I think partly because it's who she is, A is quite mature in what she can handle in terms of films. As she is approaching 11, I usually feel that a 12 rated film will be fine, so this time, it being a snap decision to go to the cinema, I didn't really pause to question it. I'd seen a trailer for the film we were seeing so it can't have jumped out at me as including anything to be wary of.

Unfortunately, it appears that this time I'd got it wrong and, although not distraught, A was a bit upset by parts of it. I was kicking myself for not researching more thoroughly in advance, but decided the best course of action was to acknowledge her feelings and open it all up by having us all talk about what we thought of the film. Getting it out helped and it even turned into a bit of a learning opportunity, as we discussed the responsibilities of the ratings committee. B and J were of the opinion that it should have been a 15, which ironically would have meant that J wouldn't have been able to see it either! I said I'd dock myself five Parent Points which the cheeky blighters agreed with and explained that these kind of decisions aren't always easy. They appeared to nod with understanding, so you never know, they might even take a 'No' decision without arguing in the future. I live in hope!

How do you choose which films your children can see? Is it easier or harder as they get older? Do you ever get it wrong?


  1. Just curious but which film was it?

  2. So sorry I haven't replied to you. Had some personal issues over the last couple of months which have interfered with my abilities to do other stuff, as evidenced by the lack of posts here!

    The film was Chronicle. The trailer made it sound like an OK hero type movie, but it was darker than expected. Have ceased beating myself up about it now, and A seems to have forgotten all about it.

    I have been more vigilant about movies since though, and the older children seem more aware of the issue, so I guess that means good lessons learned all around!

    Thanks for commenting :)



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