Even though Bella is now thirteen I am still pretty protective about what Bella watches – which means she needs my permission to see any PG-13 movie, and most of the time I prefer her to see them with me. My reasoning goes like this: once innocence is lost there is no regaining it. My job as mom has been to protect my daughter’s childhood for as long as I am able (or until it becomes out-balanced by the amount of ridicule she suffers as a consequence of my severity). I also figure that soon enough she will be able to watch whatever movie she desires – and all those movies she didn’t watch, will still be out there when she is ready.
I have to say though, that my sense of censorship differs than that of some other parents. I don’t mind nudity per say, or sex even, if it is part of a loving, committed relationship. I think gay relationships are fine – ditto on the witchcraft or other things that the fundamentalist Christians frown upon. I do have a problem with crude sexual humor and rampant infidelity. Because you know what? Whether you believe it or not, I see Bella actively imitating many of the movie characters she watches. I don’t think she even realizes it, but I think it’s natural. I believe that people, and especially children, are imitative by nature.
When I decide to let Bella see a movie I don’t feel good about, I always end up regretting it. For instance just after Bella turned thirteen, I felt like I was being too uptight so we sat down to watch The Break-up together. After Vince is advised by his brother to, “Just find a girl that looks like her and f*** the s*** out of her, I turned the movie off. I don’t think Bella needs to be exposed to terrible relationships or attitudes. In the big picture, there are always parents who are even more uptight than me, and on the other extreme, well, parents who let their kids watch anything.
(A teacher once told me that she did a home visit to a home where there was a porno playing in the living room while the kids were doing homework on the coffee table…)
Boy, I didn’t mean to get on such a soapbox. I only meant to post a link to a useful site called kids-in-mind.com, which ranks films on a score of 1-10 in three categories: sex and nudity; violence and gore; and profanity. It also lists every reason why the movie got said score – so it’s a good place to check why a movie is rated PG-13. For example, Miss Potter gets 2.2.1 and Children of Men got 6.8.10.