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Moms Talk Q&A: Movie Night

How do you know which movies are OK for your child to watch?

We're starting to see the trailers for the big summer movies coming out this year.

But when it comes to letting your child see a film that may have some adult content, how do you decide what to let them watch? When are they old enough for a rated-R movie? Is it more a question of maturity than age?

These are the questions the Woodbury Patch Moms Council will discuss this week. As always, we encourage you to add your comments in the section below the story.

Carla McGough April 06, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Some movies aimed at kids have violent content that can be upsetting for some but not all. You really need to know what your child can handle and what you are comfortable with when deciding what movies to let him see. My son has read all the Harry Potter books and seen all the movies however, I know there are some parents who do not allow their kids to see the movies yet. There are websites that help parents by reviewing movies and highlighting potential issues. Do your homework and be prepared to discuss what you and your child see.
Nancy April 06, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Our daughters have been pretty good at selecting movies that are comfortable for their tastes and age. They don't care for movies that have a lot of violent content & might have a 'realness' about it. Harry Potter has violence in it, but they know it's just a movie and not real. As far as the sexual content, when they were little they would cover their faces if anyone was innocently kissing in a movie. Now that they are teenagers, they aren't covering their faces as much during the kissing scenes. If we know a movie is on the upper edge of R, we would tell them that it isn't a movie that they can watch or enjoy & they will be a-ok with that.
Tonya Holt | Primrose School of Woodbury April 06, 2011 at 08:58 PM
I believe that research is a critical component for any medium. Of course, we watch the trailers, look it up online, and often use parenting magazings i.e. Scholsatic's Parent and Child, Disney's Family Fun, for reviews. And we always make sure we've seen the movie first, or at the least with our child in case of any questions. Also, checking in with other moms and dads who's values are similar to our own has been incredibly useful. For example, the new "Rango" ... targeted at children, but from what I can gather, the lizard smokes throughout the movie ... knowing this ahead of time, has given us the option to see it or not! It also gives me the option to use this as a teaching moment with our children. Often times, questionable content doesn't even have to be seen to use as a conversation starter. We read the reviews of this movie in particular, and had a discussion about why that may be questionable ...it was a good conversation with our children about appropriate behavior, choices, and more.
Kim Wolfe April 06, 2011 at 09:17 PM
I echo the comments of the moms. The tricky part in picking a movie for my family is that I have 3 kids at different stages; high school, middle school and elementary. My oldest can watch selected R movies as he is in high school, but my husband or I usually sit with him. My middle schooler is mature enough to watch some R movies, but the rating usually turns her off before we hit play....I guess she is mature enough to know that she is not ready for that.
Kris Janisch April 07, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Have you ever let your kids see a movie only to find out that they shouldn't have been watching it? What was it and what did you do? I can remember my folks shutting off a movie or two.
Carla McGough April 07, 2011 at 12:05 AM
I did catch my 9 year old son watching a History Channel special on the events of 9/11. The entire show was actual footage from that day and I felt it was way too intense for him to watch so I made him turn it off. I talked to him about that day and what happened, I was just uncomfortable with the footage, it's a great special, I just wasn't ready for my son to watch it.
Kris Janisch April 07, 2011 at 12:08 AM
That makes sense. Do schools talk with young kids about the terrorist attacks during the anniversary each year?
Nancy April 07, 2011 at 01:10 AM
Oh yeah, there have been times when the girls were younger & the movie that we are watching was heating up. Whether it's a Mom thing or what, since I wasn't in control of the remote, I would produce a fake cough & if that didn't get attention, asking 'who wants popcorn?' Got the movie stopped, follow by 'a look'. Distractions restuling in'hey look at the time' or bypassing the part, resolved the issue. I can just hear our daughters when they are older..'do you remember mom start coughing during some shows... now I understand'...similar to Kris' memory.
Tonya Holt | Primrose School of Woodbury April 07, 2011 at 01:17 AM
I can't comment on the 9-11 question. But I have told my kids they can't watch what I consider "tween" t.v. My kids are on the younger side - and I feel much of the content on Disney and Nick deals with dating, kissing, boy/girl relationships, etc. I never understood why my parents wouldn't let me watch certain shows as a child -- and now, the disrespect I hear in the tonality of some shows, and the lack of adult supervision is shocking to me. (What goes around - right?!) ... We've begun borrowing series of Little House on the Prairie, and Punky Brewster 'p) Our kids love them!
Kim April 07, 2011 at 04:48 AM
My kids are still young enough that it's not really an issue, however I can already tell with my son that violence will be the issue he has to checked on. There are many fears about bees, tornados, ghosts, at our house. He already grasps the concept that there is language that is appropriate for adults in some circumstances that is not appropriate for his life. As far as news coverage, we are just starting to have him watch the news and ask us questions about what he sees.
lynn betzold April 10, 2011 at 04:27 AM
Heck! It was a horror movie commercial that came on during prime family time tv that was the last straw for us as a family. Turned the tube off entirely! We play wii and borrow dvds. Kids play so much more imaginatively now! ...and have little to no nightmares!

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