the gregarious homebody

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rated C for Childhood

My son and I recently had a conversation about a video game that he wanted to purchase. The description of the game was fairly tame but I noticed that it was rated , T for Teen. Since my son is 12 I understand that those days of E for Everyone might be long gone but still I needed to know why it got that rating. "Don't worry Mom," said son. "It's only rated like that for some violence." "Okay," I replied. "As long as there's no sex."

HUH?! I thought of this conversation later when I was at the movie theater seeing Rob Zombie's Halloween and was seated behind a girl who was maybe 5 years old. My friend Lynn and I were indignant about the mother's parenting skills. WHO would allow a little kid to see such violence?

I guess the answer is me.

I was watching some English TV interview show (can't remember the name) and the host was saying how funny it was that in America it was totally decadent and immoral to show nudity on TV but it's typical to show violence. So true. Why am I more worried about sex than violence when it comes to my own child?

I guess the easy answer is that *everybody* eventually has sex and that includes (gulp) my son. Wouldn't want him to do that too soon, would I? Wouldn't want to encourage his burgeoning sexuality...But showing him violence, as long as it's not too bad won't influence him. Not my son. He'd never hurt someone as a result. Maybe not. I'm not someone who thinks that lyrics to a song or seeing a violent act turns a normal person into a serial killer. But why would I allow him to see any violence and more than I'd let him see an explicit sex scene?

I don't have any answers. I'd love to keep him in some kind of childhood bubble where everyone is always good, where you can be a kid for a long, long time. But I can't do that. He's on the cusp of mini adulthood and I'm just trying to do my best to help him navigate his way through. Maybe instead of taking him to see *Wanted (like the person in front of me did with her 7 year-old-looking kid) we'll rent Juno instead. And talk about it later.


*By the way, Wanted was highly entertaining if a tad silly (just a tad). And you know I love me a "diminutive Scot."


jozette said...

That's a tough one. I have 2 younger brothers (both teenagers) and one of them is interested in video games and real violent 'boy' type movies where the other one has no interest at all. I hate it - we really do need to invent a bubble that protects kids from sex and violence.

jen said...

I know. All that being said, I remember watching HBO when I was, like, NINE (HBO was new and very very cool) at my friend's house and seeing Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and Ten. I couldn't sleep for a week after that and to this day, when I hear "Ravel" or see cornrows, I think of Bo Derek running on the beach and having sex with Dudley Moore. I AM DAMAGED.


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