Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What does the PG in PG-13 mean?

This morning on a box of sugary kids' cereal, I noticed an ad for Spider-Man 3. It got me thinking: why do PG-13 movies get advertised to little kids? I mean, it's one thing to have ads on television, but when they put toys in Happy Meals or cereal, which you know no self-respecting 13 year old is going to admit to eating, they have to know who the target audience is.

And that got me thinking that they wouldn't waste money on advertising and promotion if they knew it wouldn't pay off. Which means that there are parents who let their six-to-twelve year olds go see these movies. And I just don't get that. My oldest son will be 11 in July, and even though I would love to share some of my favorite movies with him, I don't. Movies like the first Spider-Man, while fun, are also very scary, and have a fair amount of violence. Even my beloved Pirates is just too intense for him (though in its favor there is no bad language).

I know that a lot of the movies I watched as a child and teenager were rated PG, when today they'd probably be PG-13. But I was forbidden to see R movies, even on video. And that is as it should be. Why are people so anxious for their kids to grow up? I knew someone a few years ago who let her five-year-old watch the Indiana Jones movies and Harry Potter movies. My son still hasn't seen those.

Maybe I'm just over-protective. I won't argue that I'm not. But I think that the world could benefit from a lot more over-protectiveness and a lot less 8-year-olds watching people kill each other.


  1. I agree. Why expose children to needless violence at such a young age.

    I did let my children watch Spiderman (it scared them when Willem Defoe's character turned into the Green Goblin). I regretted it afterwards because we ended up sleeping with them that night.

    Now I am extra careful. There are plenty of decent movies for kids - like "How to Eat Fried Worms" that we will stick to from now on.

  2. Karmyn - Yeah, I loved Spider-Man and considered showing it to them, but the Green Goblin, and in particular his death, just seemed too scary to me. Now, the second one had a lot less scariness and a lot more coolness, so hopefully the third will be like that.

  3. I am selective on the movies man child sees but when it comes to the superhero stuff I usually let him see it. It really isn't any more violent than the cartoons these days. I loved superhero comics as a kid (and still do)

  4. I think it FEELS like OVER-protectiveness because everyone else is doing it, watching it. Hello! It's NOT. It's not what YOU call it. It's not what I call it. It's not what THEY call it. It IS what GOD calls it. And HE has alot to say about what HE KNOWS is BEST for US !
    Then there's this. Do I want my six year old daughter to play with a hooker-looking "doll" that comes with her own plastic, pretend birth control pills because ALL her friends do??? I'm sickened by the designers and manufacturers who target little kids with this stuff.
    Yeah, and I do get tired of feeling like a stick-in-the-mud too. But I'm going to hang in there !