I once saw a rated-R movie at 10:30 pm and there were children younger than 8 running up and down the aisles. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a surprise for me and my friends. We have gotten to the point where we expect to find little kids in theaters showcasing films with ratings of PG-13 and higher. For the toddler, it must be a strange transition to go from Dora crossing rainbow bridges to Lisbeth Salander hog-tying a naked rapist. I wonder if this phenomenon comes out of the parent’s shameless ignorance, or is it just plain old-fashioned negligence?
I suppose I could go down the road of society’s ever eroding standards of right and wrong. Parents feel less societal pressure to abide by any set standard of acceptable behavior, since standards are so darn oppressive, and this makes it less shameful to bring your kid to see something like Superbad or Bridesmaids. Nah, who am I? I don’t even have kids.
So this is what I’m going to do. I’m not going to make any judgements about what might have gotten the kids into the theater. Instead, I’m just going to write about why they shouldn’t be there.
For one, it is a huge distraction to have babies crying and toddlers speaking loudly amidst the presentation of a film geared toward adults, and especially at late hours. When someone takes out a loan to see a movie like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at 9 o’clock at night, they expect to avoid the Nick Jr. crowd. It is hugely inconsiderate to everyone else in the theater when a parent brings their child, who is either too young to understand what they are seeing or too young to handle what they are seeing, to an adult crowd. Perhaps I have it all wrong and these people are brave pioneers in the fight against responsible boundaries, but I’m pretty sure they just don’t care enough about their kids.
Another reason these pre-pre pubescents should stay home is that the things they are being exposed to are truly terrible and sometimes disturbing. I remember flipping the channels as a kid, and stopping on a movie about giant mosquitoes that bit people until their eyes exploded. This affected me for quite some time because I was still too young to know that stuff like that didn’t happen. Little kids are still a long way off from knowing the difference between reality and pretend. And even if they did posses the processing power to know that a film was fake, they still lack the mental and emotional maturity to respond appropriately to the images and messages being shot at them. The contents of many films today, even PG-13, are not appropriate for young minds. Perhaps I have it all wrong, and kids are more advanced these days, but I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t be exposed to murder, gore, and violent sex.
Children shouldn’t be allowed into rated-R movies. It’s annoying and negligent. It serves no one but the selfish parent who won’t get a babysitter. Stop doing it.