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:

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