IT movie rating, or age rating is a tool that regulates access to information that is harmful to the health and development of children. That is, it is a system of delineation of information products on the permitted and forbidden for children. Despite its undoubtedly useful idea, alas, the system of age ratings is imperfect. But even more regrettable is that positive effect that this system gives, many parents simply ignore, leading children to the age-appropriate film sessions, or giving free access to modern TV. Considering the dominance of low-grade and frankly destructive films and television programs on their educational messages, this is a very reckless decision.
For example, as noted in numerous reviews on the internet, a large number of minors attended the film sessions of the film Deadpool, which has a rating of “18+”. Apparently, this effect was caused by an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at young people (which, in fact, is a crime against society), as well as the usual perception of the superhero subject by the majority of adults as both child and adolescent.
It is worthwhile to understand that when a child goes to the cinema with an adult, the employee of the cinema cannot even warn the parent about the existence of a high age rating, if he for some reason did not notice it. Therefore, the first thing you should always pay attention to when you go to a movie or watch TV with children is the age limit of the film.
The rating system of the American Film Association
The rating system of the American Film Association (MPAA film rating system) is the US film content assessment system introduced by the American Motion Picture Association (MPAA). Depending on the evaluation received, the viewer’s audience may be limited by excluding children and adolescents from it. The rating of the American Film Association plays an important role in the film’s fate. The system was put into operation on November 1, 1968 and with some minor changes is still in use.
Ratings of the American Film Association
- G – General audiences – the film is shown without limitations. Viewers of all ages are allowed. This rating shows that the valued film does not contain anything that most parents might consider unacceptable for viewing or listening to by even the youngest children. Exposure, sexual scenes, and episodes of drug abuse are not present there; there is minimal violence; dialogues can go beyond the limits of polite conversations, but don’t go beyond the usual daily phrases.
- PG – Parental guidance suggested – children are encouraged to watch the movie with their parents. The presence of parents is recommended. Some movie scenes aren’t suitable for kids. This rating shows that an appreciated film can contain some scenes that young parents may not like to see viewed by their kids. The material that may be present in the film must be explained and disassembled with the children before they’re allowed to watch the film. There are no explicit sexual episodes and moments showing drug abuse; if there is nudity, it is only very limited, violence and horror don’t exceed a moderate level.
- PG-13 – Parents strongly cautioned – children under 13 years old are allowed to see a film only with their parents. An urgent warning to parents. Some scenes may not be suitable for kids under 13 years old. This rating shows that the movie may not be suitable for children. Parents should be on alert, allowing their young children to view. There is no rough or prolonged violence; sexual orientation to nudity is not there; episodes of drug abuse may be present; you can hear single use of rough sexual vocabulary.
- R – Restricted – adolescents under 17 years are allowed to film only accompanied by one of the parents, or a legal representative. Restriction is up to the age of 17 requires the accompaniment of an adult guardian or a parent (age may vary in some regions). This rating shows that the evaluation commission concluded that some material of the film is intended for adults. Parents need to learn more about the movie before taking teenagers to watch it. The R rating can also be assigned because of the language used in the film, the topic, sex, violence, or image of drug abuse.
- NC-17 (formerly X) – persons under 17 years of age are not permitted to film. Persons under 17 years old are not allowed to watch a movie. This rating shows that the evaluation commission believes that most parents would have decided that the film is clearly for adults, and that kids aged 17 and under shouldn’t be allowed to see it. The movie can contain explicit sexual scenes, a lot of sex language, or episodes of violence. The designation NC-17, however, does not show that this movie is pornographic or obscene.
For films not rated by the American Association, NR (Not Rated) is usually used, and for pictures that were released before the introduction of the rating system, that is, before November 1, 1968, the designation U (Unrated) is used. These designations, however, are not officially accepted by the American Association.
- G – No age restrictions (General Audiences)
- M – Adolescent restriction, from 11 to 13 years old (Mature Audiences)
- R – Persons under 16 years old are admitted to the session only in the presence of their parents
- X – Persons under 17 years old are not admitted to the session
In 1969, the M category was replaced by GP (General Audiences – Parental guidance), and in 1970 by PG (Parental Guidance Suggested – preferably the presence of parents). On July 1, 1984 PG category in turn was divided into two subcategories: PG and PG-13.
In November 1990, an explanation was given of what scenes could imply a restriction of R – cruelty, foul language, naked bodies, and drug use. Also, a detailed explanation was given for the difference in ratings between PG and PG-13. The X rating was renamed NC-17.
How does the American Motion Picture Association determine the film’s rating?
To determine the MPAA rating for each specific film, a special commission is created that looks at it. After viewing and discussing, a vote takes place, during which the film is assigned a future rating.
The production staff and (or) the director of the film, in case of disagreement with the decision of the commission, can file an appeal. In this case, there is a re-commission consisting of 14 to 18 people. The commission revisits the film, discusses the disagreements of the film’s creators, presented in the appeal. The scenes determining the influence on the rating of the film are revealed, and together with the official decision of the commission they are sent back to the creators of the film. Next, the creators of the picture themselves make the decision to remove these scenes, or re-arrange (re-mount), or agree with the decision of the commission.
Advantages and disadvantages of the MPAA system
The American rating system has existed for almost 50 years and has not changed significantly during this time. The system itself does not take on the function of a critic, it does not determine whether a particular film is bad or good. The film is not censored, but the rating clarifies the potential dangers for children’s eyes.
The advantage of the system is that it is exhibited by the parents themselves: they are on a rotational basis included in the administration board according to the classification and ratings.
Before the voting, the participants watch the film in order to search for specific scenes that determine its final rating (scenes of violence, alcohol use, and so on). To assess the importance of the specificity of a scene, for example, episodes with drugs and words related to sex.
Also, the advantage of the rating is that it is not limited to age, but also recommends in some cases parents to accompany children while watching the movie. The main drawback of the rating – sometimes it can be a little softer than it should be, because of non-specific episodes. In such cases, the rating adjustment is unprofitable for film studios, as this will narrow the circle of potential viewers. Having the right to appeal in the event of disagreement with the rating, studios often contest an overrated rating, rather than vice versa.
The consequences of watching movies with a prohibitory category
If you are taking a child or are going to see a film yourself, before the movie there will trailers with the appropriate rating for your movie, that is, before the 16+ movie, there will be predominantly trailers to movies of the age categories 16+. The rating is formed on the basis of the presence of scenes that are not recommended for children until a certain age. Parents often think that their children won’t understand what happens on the screen, but of course, children can understand a lot, but it is better that it happened in due time.
Check out the list of scenes that the rating is based on, and perhaps everything will become clearer. If you have not watched the film, you cannot be completely sure that the content of the film is safe for the child. It is for such cases that a rating is created.
- An increase in anxiety
- A painful interest in the topic involved in the film
- The appearance or aggravation of fears
- Children repeat scanned scenes in role-playing games (for example, the child depicts a terrible piranha, about which the film was about)
Children of this age are the main risk group as they are extremely impressionable and are often not ready for scenes shown in movies.
For secondary school students viewing the film for adults in the cinema is a way to stand out among peers. Children go to a film that is not for them because they think that they will not see anything terrible there. A vivid example is a screen version of the comic book Deadpool. The film rating is 18+, it is replete with scenes of open violence, which did not prevent cinemas from selling tickets to schoolchildren.
However, not all students are ready for such a content. The content can be misinterpreted, shock the child. Teens can find some answers to their questions in films, understand their content in their own way, and not always these answers can be constructive and mature.
Sooner or later you will be able to show and tell the child everything that, you think, he needs to see and know. But as in school the book is not read from the end, so the child should receive experience in a timely manner.
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