Yay, Nay, or Maybe: Bringing Kids to an R-Rated Movie

by | Aug 29th, 2011 | 9:37AM | Filed under: In My Humble Opinion, Quizzes, Contests & Polls

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.

Here’s why:

  • 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!



Is it OK to bring young kids to an R-rated movie?

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270 Responses to “Yay, Nay, or Maybe: Bringing Kids to an R-Rated Movie”

  1. Amanda
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    To Darrin from 12:18 pm. you are an idiot. it does make a difference. Adults can choose what they watch, while kids can not. Another thing kids shouldn’t know/see the same things adults can because the do not have the mentality to process it correctly.
    I say adults should take more responsibility for the kids upbring, and be careful what they see. They are not little adults, they are kids.

  2. Matt
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I definitely do not think that kids should ever go to a rated “R” movie. Anyone that does is basically an incompetent hill-jack with little or no education.

  3. moviegoer123
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    It’s none of our business when those parents taking their child to an R-rated movie. Yes, we have our CRITICAL OPINIONS but we have to keep them to ourselves. To be polite, don’t walk up to the parent who’s seeing the R-rated attraction with their child — that’s rude but definitely get a refund. The parent has a reason or an excuse to take their child to a R-rated movie and I would say, let them be.

  4. atricepay
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    “PG” is the new “R” and “R” is the new “X” So-called parents who think it’s okay to bring kids into adult situations should grow up before the kid does!

  5. Matt
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    @John Belushi I agree with you that Darrin is an idiot. He has the worst argument I have ever seen, but before you call him an idiot you might want to check your spelling. You said “your an idiot” which it should be “you’re” representing you are. So, in the end you sound like an idiot as well. Try harder next time.

  6. Matt
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Moviegoer123 you sound like one of the extremely unintelligent people that take their kids to a rated R movie. Get an education and raise your kids right. I promise you they will survive without watching an inappropriate movie.

  7. iNapper
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    My answer is NO. The 1st R rated film I went to was when I was a teenager and it was Dracula, the one that had Keano Reeves. I think kids watch R rated stuff on t.v. and their parents allow it at home so what you see in theaters is just an extension of their home-life. That said, I think most cartoons these days are basically adult themed with much violence and sexual innuendo, so they are getting it from both ends. One thing is for sure, in this day and age when the marketing giants behind these films push for a PG-13 rating, you can make a sure bet that anything R-rated is definatly for ADULTS ONLY!

  8. moviegoer123
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Matt, I’m not a parent of kids. I’m a young commenter here. That’s rude of you to say that to me.

  9. Lise
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    All the points you made in your first bullet are the reasons why kids should not be at the movies IN GENERAL, not just for R-Rated movies. Same goes for adults. If you cannot sit still, be quiet, and keep your phone put away for 2 hours, you do not belong in the movie theater. Please restrict yourself to the drive in and/or rentals so the rest of us can actually watch/hear the movie we paid to see too.

  10. Andy S
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Hello, people, it’s rated R for a reason. Any parent that takes their kid to an R rated moving shouldn’t have kids. Saying that, I’m shocked by what a PG13 can get away with these days. No wonder a lot of kids are growing up dysfunctional.

  11. Bmiller22000
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I would like to say one thing to everyone on this “blog”. It is really a simple idea and one, for some reason, has gone completely out of style. It is something that use to occur and in my opinion made this country a better place. It is about respect, trust and most of all personal accountability. Yet, so many people disregard this because, well… I do not know, because it is easier to b*itch and whine and take out their life issues (or better explained, their inability to deal with life successfully) on other people.

    “Mind your own business! It is none of your concern no matter how much you think it is!”

    If everyone practiced this simple little belief better than this country would be a much better place. Let the fool-hearted, narcissistic, ego-centric, grammically incorrect, complete embarrassment of the english language comments (er… personal attacks) fly.

  12. Karen
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    It’s a horribla idea to bring young children to a rated R movie. It’s rated R for a reason.. do they need to make it NC-17 just so idiots will stop bringing kids? I won’t even goto a movie before 10:00 at night anymore because there’s less chance that screaming kids will be in the theatre or wimpy girls. There are times where I’ll see a movie at midnight and I’m shocked to see parents with kids who are 5 or under in the theatre. They can’t control their kid for half the movie then the kid falls asleep.. I wouldn’t call this good parenting that’s for sure.

  13. attagirl
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I definately agree with many of the yay voters, especially iNapper’s last comment. The real reason most put their kids in that situation is because THEY want to see it. They should save their money, and rent it, watch it; after the kids are in bed. Use it for date night, don’t take the kids!

  14. dan
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    shoot, how else will these kids learn the life lessons that Mom and Dad are too timid to teach them. They need to know how to do drugs, have kinky sex and money grub. so yeah, R rate away baby!!!!

  15. gigimizzy
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    It’s like this when my boys were smaller we went to go see Private Ryan the manager of the theater said it was to graphic that It wasn’t a good idea maybe, but because it was part of history my Army hubby said for get that i rather they watch this then to take them go see some gang banger movie so in what i think; don’t be a dumb ass parent and just use your better judgment well of course if you have it!! lmao!!

  16. attagirl
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    OOOppps! I meant the nay comments, duh! And actually, I read the article afterward, and the writer responds perfectly. Glad I voted. My grandkids are subject to this, and is very troublesome. Like iNapper said, ‘anything rated R these days is definately for ADULTS ONLY!’ These kids are growing up way too fast already. Parents are asking for future problems. When I told my girls it was unappropriate to see a movie they had seen, the youngest answered, “so, we don’t care”…AAAHHhhh!

    • Currently 3/5 Stars
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I voted that it isn’t a good for a child to see R rated movies in theaters because they would be really annoying and what not, however at home is probably fine. In an ideal world kids shouldn’t watch R rated movies because they are “really violent and have sex scenes, it could challenge the child’s mental state, ect….” In reality, almost every child in my generation, I’m 21, and I’m sure all the others after me and probably the ones 5 years before me growing up would watch R rated movies since they were kids; I know I did, whether it was at home or at friends home, and I’ve grown into a beautiful woman and a successful college student about to graduate. A lot of you are complaining about the mental state of the child and this and that, but I used to watch Nightmare on Elm Street and Chuckie religiously (and it used to scare the hell out of me) starting around the age of seven or so. Some of you might think it’s crazy and think my parents were bad and blah blah blah, but in fact I believe it just made me more aware of my surroundings and the people around me. Parents always say “don’t talk to strangers”, well isn’t a scary movie a great example why they shouldn’t? You’re probably thinking “NO!” Um have you seen the news lately?! Kids are getting snatched up left and right these days. So I think it just might help. OH and about the profanity, EVERYONE SWEARS, and it starts when you’re a preteen, that’s what happens when you grow up in America in these times. If you have a problem with that then oh well, better get over it because I have a strong feeling it’s going to progressively get worse…. now that all being said, i don’think the ages of 0-6 should watch r rated movies but after that who cares, in these crazy times, i think it would be better for them. IT SURE HELPED ME.

  17. Kevin
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    ABSOLUTELY NOT, even if you think its OK for a young child to watch R rated movies, which its not, i mean come on their rated R for a reason and exposing kids to that kind of stuff is just plain stupid. taking them to the theater where they will disrupt the other movie goers is just plain rude. There are plenty of movies out there that kids can go to and enjoy without them needing years of therapy to repair the damaged the idiot parents have caused, take them to one of those movie. If watching cartoon movie’s or movie’s about children spy’s that save the world aren’t in your preferred movies category . TUFF, your now a parent start acting like one. Quit trying to blame everyone else for your little, sweet angel lighting the cat on fire, because guess what its your fault you exposed them to the violence, swearing and sex, and are then shocked when little Timmy decides that its cool to drop the F-bomb in front of grandma. Deal with it parents, if you want to go to an R rated movie get a baby-sitter. Otherwise, wait till it comes out on DVD and watch it then. An R rated movie theater is no place for children and any theater that lets them into the movie even with accompanying adult should be shut down and both parents and theater management should be arrested for child endangerment and abuse.

  18. nunya
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    I have taken my 12 year old to R-rated movies. Usually it’s those that have a lot of violence. Some movies that are rated R don’t need to be; some movies that are rated PG-13 should definitely be rated R!
    It depends on the movie. I don’t think it’s good to take any kid younger than 5 to any movie. they can’t sit still; you have to watch them constantly. wait for the DVD or get a sitter! I’ve got 3 kids (2 grown, one is 13) and a grandson. Someone said “mind your own business”, well I can’t if my business is constantly interrupted by YOUR business; i.e. – YOUR kids. Movies are not cheap. If I want to go to a movie suitable and MADE for adults, then I want to see it with adults–including mature, young people. There is a rating system in place not to CONTROL us, but to guide us in appropriateness.

  19. tony kapre
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 3:00 am

    I only worries about my kids raising them is my concern. but then i start looking at the news and start seeing sowell cases and Amy cases and say maybe they was allowed to watch movies their brains couldn’t handle and created this fantasy world base on the movie they watch.

  20. moviegoer123
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 7:11 am

    It seems like quite a few people are slashing some people for their comments. Be nice now, we do know this is the INTERNET don’t we? And we all should be nice to the critic Erika, who is trying to make a nice and clear statement about children watching R-rated movies in these days — respect her for this post at least.

  21. Audra
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I was horrified when a family brought 3 small (under the age of 9) to Hangover 2. If you can’t find a sitter, stay at home. Let children be children and stop exposing them to inappropriate movies.

  22. Mike
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 9:18 am

    This is a very vague discussion. The age range that we are talking about is huge. Some movies may not be ok for a 5 year old to watch, but the movie could be appropriate for a 16 year old.

  23. christina
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Thank God for Red box. My Children and I spent most for our entertainment hours enjoying the movie theaters. Sometimes we watched three movies in one day. Rainy days were the best. I always allowed them to pick the movies they wanted to see. The first time my daughter picked a movie that wasn’t normal was ” Throw momma from the train ” she had seen previews on TV and really wanted to see this movie. She was around 8 she/we had so many sleepless nights because of that experience that she as will as I thought more clearly before picking a movie. She now has a two year old. We had an experience with the pool that he said their were monsters in the water and screamed with fear of anyone going in the pool. Jason, his Dad likes all the scary movies and does not like that he should not play them when he has his son. Never watched “Friday the thirteenth” and neither should a child.

  24. moviegoer123
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Redbox does save us from waiting to see the R-rated movie on RENT. There’s always Blockbuster, on-demand, and pay-per-view if there isn’t any Redboxes in town. I’m sure there’s a Redbox in almost every town because I’ve read on Redbox official website, that it is a #1 destination for renting movies and games!

    I also think that the children shouldn’t choose what they want to see –anyway, it’s based upon on the glorious advertising that they want to see it. I do it often too: I see a teaser trailer on the web and if it hits me, that’s when I would like to see it in the theaters but before I see it, I always make sure that the MPAA has rated it.

    Like I had seen the trailer Moneyball on this blog and now, it’ll be in theaters in a few weeks so I’ll try ANYTHING to see it. That’s what your children may do in the future: ask your friends, her\his friends or the parent to take them to the movie — it’s simple. But before anything, check the rating and see what it is rated for e.g. language, sexual content, violence, terror, etc., etc., etc.