We’ve covered movie-theater etiquette in the past here on redblog, and it’s always a touchy, controversial subject. Whether we’re discussing texting during a film or buying smelly concession food, people have strong opinions. So I’m bracing myself for the inevitable flood of negative reactions I’ll get to this statement: The worst movie-going offense someone could make is bringing his or her young child to an R-rated movie.
There, I said it. To me, observing a little kid watching a movie that is clearly inappropriate for them is almost unbearable, and it totally ruins my own experience.
- A great majority of the time, said child is running all over the theater and/or jumping in and out of his seat and/or talking loudly, which is beyond distracting. Sometimes the parents will follow after them or try to keep them settled down… but usually the kids in question are ignored. It’s like the parents think the theater is their own personal daycare. But guess what? Everyone else who came without kids paid just as much for their tickets, and they deserve to be able to actually hear and watch their chosen film in peace.
- It’s even worse if the child is actually watching the movie intently! I’ll never forget the terrified look I saw on a kid’s face (he couldn’t have been over four years old) during a particularly gruesome scene in Law Abiding Citizen last year (think body parts being chopped off). I don’t care if it’s violence, sex, swearing, or the overall subject of the R-rated film, it’s rated R for a reason and parents who think their children are mature enough or “can handle it” are fooling themselves. Or they’re just plain lazy. Or they would rather subject their offspring to god-knows-what on the screen just to save on the cost and hassle of getting a babysitter for a few hours, which—despite the high prices of movie tickets these days, is still going to be more expensive than hauling the crew out to the cineplex.
It’s not just me who fears for the psyche of these youngsters whose parents subject them to all sorts of for-adults-only imagery and dialogue. Studies have been done on this very issue, and researchers in this field conclude: “A clear picture has emerged that exposure to violent media increases the likelihood of aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behavior.” Lovely.
For anyone who might argue that parents have no way of knowing whether or not a particular film is going to be too much for their kids, I would respond by pointing them to an independent site (meaning not sponsored by any studios) like Kids in Mind, which—since late 2008—has been thoroughly detailing out everything that might be questionable for children in theatrical and DVD releases (If you want a good laugh, read the over 3,200-word breakdown of the recently released Conan the Barbarian remake).
It’s clear where I stand on this issue. No young kids in R-rated movies—ever. But what do YOU think? Voice your opinion in our poll below!
And by all means, please expand upon your vote in the comments section—I can’t wait to read your responses to this one!