Advertisement

How do I decide what movie ratings are right for my child?

Michele Borba
Psychology

Here are some tips to help you decide whether a movie has the right rating for your child.

Stay on top of the ratings game. Be familiar with the movie advisory ratings, but don’t rely on them. Ratings can be deceiving. Here is a quick review of the four ratings developed by the MPAA and just how language is portrayed in each category:

•    G No cursing, but some crude language is fine if it’s considered to be an everyday expression.
•    PG Minimal profanity, but not the F-word or other harsh, sex-related movies
•    PG-13 The F-word can be used only once—but not at all if it’s used in a sexual context—unless a two-thirds majority of the raters think it’s okay because of how the word is used
•    R-Hard language. Should be off-limits if you’re eliminating profanity.

Set clear family guidelines. Whatever you decide is appropriate for your family, pass on your rating standards to your child as well as babysitters, relatives and parents of your child’s close friends. Setting clear rules ahead of time (for instance: “No PG-13 movies until you turn 13”) will reduce some of those later battles between you and your kid.

Turn to Family-Friendly Web Sites. A number of sites post reviews, kid ratings, age by age guidelines, parent advice, and even film trailers for parents. A few to consider are: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/, http://www.Kids-in-Mind.com and of course my personal favorite, http://ivillage.com.  A word to the wise: be sure to read the “About Us” section on the site so you understand the site’s philosophy, political and religious affiliation (if any) so the advice mirrors your standards and values.

See the movie if in doubt. Learn as much as you can about the movie before permitting your child to attend. Read those reviews; speak to friends and even the theatre manager.

Accompany your child. If you’re still uncertain then go to the movie with your child. You can then at least either cover your child’s ears or make a quick exit with kid in tow when an objectionable scene pops up.

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

More About this Book

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

Today show's Michele Borba's cures for difficult childhood behaviors In this down-to-earth guide, parenting expert Michele Borba offers advice for dealing with children's difficult behavior and hot...

Continue Learning about Parenting

Parental Negativity Can Cause Childhood Obesity
Parental Negativity Can Cause Childhood Obesity
President Richard Nixon’s VP, Spiro Agnew, called investigative journalists “nattering nabobs of negativism.” But it was the VP who showed up in the n...
Read More
How can I help my child cope with back-to-school anxiety?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
The best way to help your child cope with back-to-school anxiety is by being available to listen to ...
More Answers
The Scoop on Baby Poop: 5 Hues and What They Mean
The Scoop on Baby Poop: 5 Hues and What They MeanThe Scoop on Baby Poop: 5 Hues and What They MeanThe Scoop on Baby Poop: 5 Hues and What They MeanThe Scoop on Baby Poop: 5 Hues and What They Mean
Here’s what’s common, what’s not—and when to call the doc.
Start Slideshow
Why Should My Child Eat Healthy Fats?
Why Should My Child Eat Healthy Fats?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.