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Movie Ratings: What You Should Know About It

Your 12-year-old child wants to see the newest movie that’s all the rage. You’re not sure it’s appropriate for your child to watch. Movie ratings are given to each motion picture that is released, but do they provide the information you need?

The movie ratings system has been around since 1968. The purpose of the system is to let those attending movies know ahead of time if there is content which may be offensive or inappropriate. The current ratings, and their meanings, are below. Look over the ratings and see if they help you decide which movies are right for your family.

* G-rated movies are those which are considered to be non-offensive. Parents can expect a movie with this rating to be free of sexual content, nudity or drug/alcohol use. There may be mild language and violence. Many people think these movies are meant for children but that isn’t necessarily true. Be prepared to discuss things which are questionable with your children so they know where you stand on the movie.

* PG-rated movies may have some offensive content. Parents might want to watch the movie for themselves before allowing their young children to watch it. Movies with this rating may have some profanity, more graphic violence or brief nudity. When you watch the movie before your child sees it, you’ll be prepared to address anything you’re concerned about.

* PG-13 rated movies are nearing the R rating but haven’t reached that level yet. PG-13 movies may include longer scenes of nudity or violence. Sexual expletives (the F-word and others) may be used as long as it’s not in a sexual circumstance. This rating often confuses parents more than other ratings because the offensive material may be used in ways that it isn’t clear. Watch the film before your child sees it or with your child so you can discuss it afterwards.

* NC-17 rated movies are ‘too adult’ for anyone younger than 17 years of age. Movies with this rating may contain sexual content or graphic violence which should only be viewed by adults. Some people think NC-17 movies imply pornography but that isn’t necessarily true. Parents would want to keep all children younger than 17 from seeing these movies.

* R-rated movies contain adult content which isn’t appropriate for young moviegoers but there isn’t enough that the rating board would rate it as sexually explicit. The movies given this rating will most likely have strong language and adult conversations, drug or alcohol use, mature themes or activities, extended violent behavior and/or sexually-oriented nudity.

Even though all motion pictures are given a rating, does that mean you can trust them? Movies are rated as an overall film instead of based on particular parts. So if the vast majority of the picture is inoffensive it will receive a lower rating. However, parents may find there is more to be concerned about in one or two scenes that they would prefer to keep their child from watching it.

You may want to do some homework on the movies your children want to see. Look around on different movie review sites to see how they are rated and what type of objections the reviewers had. You can also watch the movie before you give your child the go-ahead to see it. Despite the fact that movies are given a rating which should help you decide if a movie is okay for your child to watch, it might be best to trust your own instincts before you say yes.