Rated R and M for Mature for Tweens?

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I have a serious bone to pick with parents of tweens. I am 33 oops I mean 34 years old and have a son that is in the sixth grade (that’s 11 for those that can’t do the math that quick). I had him when I was the ripe old age of 22. You would think that as a younger mom I would be “cooler” than the other older moms of the kids in his class. Instead, I find that I am one of the VERY few parents in his class that actually seem to parent. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying they are neglecting their children, or that they’re bad parents, but I just don’t get them. Not to mention, when my younger child is a tween, will I be so relaxed I wont care either?

Let me give an example. I believe that movies and video games are rated for a REASON. Color me old-fashioned, but when a movie is rated R, as in restricted to those under the age of 17, I usually listen to the rating and don’t let my 11 year old son see it. You would think that’s the norm, right? WRONG! Turns out the majority of my son’s friends are allowed to watch rated R movies. 300, yep they’ve seen it, District 9, that too, SAW 1-5, yes even those! I’m not crazy overprotective either, its not like I’m making him wait until 13 to see PG-13 movies.

Now let me bring up video games. I am literally shocked that parents don’t seem to get what the M for mature rating means. Lets look at what the Entertainment Software Rating Board defines M to be:

MATURE
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

Why would this be suitable for a pre-teen? Apparently my son is one of the only kids in his class not playing World of Warcraft, Bioshock (in order to view their website you need to put in a birthdate that proves your over 17) and Grand Theft Auto. Lets have a look at Grand Theft Auto:

A document from the UK ratings body, the BBFC (which has given the game an “18” rating) appeared online recently which stated, “the character can pick up prostitutes and pay for three levels of service. What follows is an un-detailed portrayal of masturbation, fellatio, and intercourse. The character can also visit lap-dancing clubs and request a private dance. While the game contains sexualized dancing and the portrayal of sex, there is no sexualized nudity.” So, yes there’s sex, but no you don’t see it.
Courtesy of WhatTheyPlay.com

Are these parents willingly letting their children play these games or are they not doing their research? Do they not understand that video games have moved far past the days of Super Mario Bros and Dig Dug? Am I wrong for not letting my son watch R rated movies? Are we in such a rush to let our children grow up that we just let them watch whatever they want to? Doesn’t anyone else see that we are desensitizing our kids? What’s next? Will we be subscribing to Hustler for them for their 13th birthday?

I would love to hear your thoughts, please comment and let me know if I’m crazy here…

The Photo Addict

7 Responses

  1. Photo Addict, I’m in complete agreement. I’m not a prude by any means, and I don’t think we have to sanitize 100% of what our children see (which would be impossible), but playing a game where you pick up prostitutes and buy lap dances? SERIOUSLY??? Sheesh.

    I’m baffled by these parents either way. Either they aren’t aware of the content of these games and movies, in which case ignorance is no excuse since every parent needs to know what their child is watching/doing. Or they know and they just don’t care, which–what the heck is wrong with them??? I just don’t see how any parent could find this appropriate.

    You know, my own parents weren’t overly strict as I was growing up, but there were definitely limits. Maybe it’s just that there’s so much more available these days.

    Anyone who thinks these are “just a game” should keep in mind that the military and other organizations use video games to TRAIN soldiers, pilots, etc. Why? Because it works! Soldiers learn how to act in real life by practicing in a video game. It’s the same with kids. They’re learning skills through these games, like how to pick up a prostitute or steal cars or shoot a lot of people at the same time. Are those REALLY skills you want your tween to learn? Of course not every kid is going to grow up to do these things, but you can’t ignore the fact that when the child steps away from the video game, they don’t leave the video game behind. that’s not what I want sticking around my child’s brain.

  2. I totally agree! You gotta wonder what these parents are thinking….and if they are thinking at all. I shudder to think of my kids doing and seeing the things I did at the tender age of 12. I wasn’t “allowed” to do or see these things, but I did manage to sneak out periodically and do as I wished. I’m thinking some nice iron bars might go well over my sons’ windows…..

  3. Hmmm Mommica, maybe some parents just think that their kids are going to go out and do it anyway, so won’t even bother forbidding it. I’ve heard that before, but I still think it’s misguided. My son is only one so I don’t have any experience with this.

    What do you think, Photo Addict? Do you operate under the mindset that Photo Tween is going to do what he wants to do regardless of whether or not you disapprove? Do you get that sense from other moms?

  4. I wish I had a real opinion on how I feel about that. I really believe that every child is different. I think Photo tween is such a good kid, he even corrected his friend this morning, telling him we don’t use the word “sucks” in our house. But I can totally seen baby C doing whatever he wants regardless of what I tell him. I just know that even if they do go out and do it, they know that I am not ok with it.

    When I was in Jr. High my mom wouldn’t let me watch the movie Dirty Dancing. So of course the moment I went to my friends house, I asked if we could watch it. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and that my mom disapproved. Looking back at the movie, I didn’t understand fully what was going on, but I see why my mom told me no.

    If we just let them do whatever they want isn’t that the same as condoning the material?

  5. I have a step-teen and have seen these games and movies that he has unlimited access to. It shocks me to my core that utter CRAP he is allowed to have access to, from the time he was younger than your boy(yes, he has seen every single SAW movie. I’ve seen 1 and vowed never again.) I recently instituted a new rule – no violent/crude languaged games when my 2 yr old is awake. And you know what? The 15 yr old is ok with that. *gasp*! They like rules.

    And for anyone that thinks GTA is still ok for a teen – the characters are not GOOD GUYS, they are BAD GUYS. Not only do they steal cars and pick up prostitutes, they shoot at COPS. Is this what you want your teen to learn is acceptable behavior?

  6. My Mom used to take me to rated R movies when I was like 5!! She actually took me to The Exorcist when I was like 4 or 5!! Pretty crazy if you ask me.She was a really young Mom and probably didn’t know any better. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, I am an “OLD ” Mom, and would never do this!! Being older and wiser, I have learned a thing or two and I don’t ever want to be the “cool Mom!” I’ll stick to the rules.

  7. I read this when it was posted and was in total agreement but wanted to come back today to post my rant. What ever happened to please and thank you? I never thought of myself as on old fashioned mom (hey, I’m technically a Gen Y-er, but whose counting) and always thought of myself as a cool, young, progressive mom. But are my kids are the only ones who say please and thank you?! I’m watching a friend of theirs for a few hours and have heard “darn it” and “what the heck” at least half a dozen times” Haven’t heard please and heard “thank you” only once. It sounds so crass. My kids are allowed to use any language they want. The oldest has even gotten away with the “F” Word. She used it appropriately and not maliciously against anyone. I don’t want to give words power – there are no “bad” words. But there are polite words and there are intelligent words. Can we make them a habit? Please? Thank you.

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