Betty and I recently rented This Film is Not Yet Rated, which takes a look at the movie ratings system and how it rates movies differently depending on the level of violence, nudity and sexual content. Specifically, it deals with why certain movies get an NC-17 rating vs. an R rating.
This movie really got me thinking. Now that I'm a parent, I need to censor what my daughter watches. How do I go about deciding what is good for my child vs. what is appropriate? Will my child agree with my internal ratings, or will she eventually create a documentary about my unfair decisions regarding her viewing habits?
At first glance, it seems easy enough to censor out certain things: no sexual content, no violence, no liberal media. But censoring movies, TV and books is one thing; censoring life is another.
All things need to be put into perspective. Spider-Man is great if you want to teach your kid that great powers mean great responsibility, but Spider-Man is bad if your kid eventually dips a spider into radioactive waste and then lets the spider bite his or her arm.
Okay, so maybe most kids won't have access to radioactive waste. So what about a more mundane example?
Is it good or bad for a young mother to pump breast milk around her child? On the one hand, doing so allows the baby to get nutritious milk, allows the dad to handle a feeding so the mom can rest, or could allow the parents to go to the movies while the grandparents babysit. On the other hand, if you've never watched a woman pump then you have no idea how truly naughty it is.
All I'm saying is that ratings are a good guide, but we as parents need to make educated decisions for our children. That's why I've been watching cartoons all day - because I want to know what my child is watching. Sure, my child doesn't actually watch TV, and she definitely wouldn't have been interested in the Ninja Turtles, but who knows, one day she might be! And I need to know if it's good or bad for her to watch it! You see, I'm just being a good parent, that's why I need to watch these cartoons! No, don't turn off my cartoons, noooo!!!
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