On the recent release of a popular movie and after the presence of children in movie theaters even though the movie was rated by the competent authority as inappropriate for minors (18 years and below), it seems that we need be concerned about the lack of consistency in applying the movie ratings set in such cases. As a result, we witness the exposure of children to inappropriate content. Movie theaters have the responsibility to remain strict when applying the age restrictions as there are reasons behind these restrictions.
It is important to know that a significant number of children is unable to interpret the meaning and the content of a movie in the way that an adult would do. As it usually happens, when leaving the movie theaters and generally after watching a movie, children are “taking with them” several messages, based on how they understand the essence of the movie. Cruel and violent scenes could negatively influence vulnerable people, adolescences who are forming their beliefs, and/or young people with antisocial behavior.
Parents can have a decisive role especially in acting preventively because of the direct relation children and parents have and consequently because of the opportunity they have to act protectively and set the needed boundaries.
What can you do as parents:
- Be aware about the movies your children would like to watch, by asking them and show interest to that
- Be informed about the movie and prevent them from watching when this is not recommended for minors
- Set consistent boundaries and give clear reasons for these boundaries
- Explain to the child the reason that age restrictions are set for the movies
- Generally, limit the exposure of children to content that you consider inappropriate
In case that a child has been exposed to inappropriate for their age movie content:
- Be available for discussion regarding the movie’s content
- Clearly explain, according to the development stage of the child, the content of the movie
- If you have noticed emotional or behavioral change on the child, ask them and actively listen to them
- If the child is having difficulties to handle what they have watched and you are not able to calm down the child, seek for the help of a professional.
For more information or support you can contact the “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center experts at 22103234 or through the 24/7 online platform of the Organization www.uncrcpc.org.cy.