I’m currently raising a tween (she’s 12). There’s a few things I was expecting like the constant talking to her friends (on her ipod and not the phone I imagined when she was born) and the difficulty in getting her to clean her room to name a couple. And while I knew one day the whole PG-13 to rated R question would come up, it’s extremely difficult to decide what to do unless I take it on a case by case basis. There is no one size fits all without being unfair. Also, I failed to realize I was going to have the same problem with TV shows and not just the HBO stuff.
The movie rating system tends to feel that city-wide massacres are okay for PG-13 as long as you don’t show the blood (Avengers, Batman, Transformers). But if it gets too bloody or there’s a boob then it’s rated R. This means decapitated heads flying in the air are okay for 13 year olds, but saying too many cuss words is rated R even if the body count is lower.
Let me go on record saying I think the people who rate movies are either being paid under the table, are idiots, or choose movie ratings based on spinning a wheel. Despite being rated PG-13, there’s no way I was going to deprive my daughter of watching the Marvel movies and a few other questionable choices. So she’s had free reign of PG-13 for years.
She especially loves Hawkeye. She wants to see all the Jeremy Renner movies she can. Unfortunately, Renner makes a shitload of rated R movies. To be fair, because I know that sometimes rated R movies only get the higher rating for dumb reasons, I watch the R movie and decide if it’s okay. Hence she watched Hansel & Gretel, and little else.
Which brings me to TV because, and I didn’t see this coming a mile away, is a lot harder to judge for appropriate content. While a movie I can watch in less than 3 hours, a TV show could take me days even if I was binge watching 12 hours a day. Her friends are watching things like the Walking Dead and Orange is the New Black and I’m left thinking, “but those are even worse than some of the rated R movies”. Less serious shit happens in Usual Suspects than in the Walking Dead.
There’s a few things I’ve said she can watch when she’s 13, Orange is the New Black is one of them and I swear this girl can tell you just how long until her 13th birthday. I had originally thought years ago that at 13 I would give her carte blanche to watch anything that was rated R, but I have since changed my mind.
Now I have no idea what to do. Again, it should always be a case by case basis with what to let your kids watch. Basing it entirely on ratings boards is letting other people tell you what is okay and not okay for your children to watch. Most parents I know rebel at that idea.
The thing is, I don’t want to be overprotective because I’m afraid that’ll just make her naive. As much as I wish a 12 year girl could remain naive for a while longer, I can’t in good conscious hide reality from her. I’m certainly not that naive anymore. No, she’ll probably never face a horde of zombies, but that’s not even half of what the Walking Dead is about. I’m not forcing these things on her. She is interested in these movies and shows. We sit and talk about some of the themes and about the character development.
I really don’t want to be like the ratings board and say violence is no prob as long as no one is having sex or at the very least, as long as no woman is having an orgasm. And maybe I’ve been brainwashed myself because I have a very hard time deciding what’s appropriate for her to watch when it comes to sexual situations. I think for now I can live with what I call CW sex, as in sex scenes as seen on the CW shows like Gossip Girl (another one of her faves). It’s racy sometimes, but at least it’s not a guy in a rubber suit (link really NSFW, American Horror people).
CW sex is not safe for work either but it is kind of hilarious.