Parents and the Children Who Bring Them to Rated-R Movies

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.





  1. :) · April 14, 2012

    Perhaps these crying children are quite progressive…and they are trying to make their parents aware of a larger issue at hand —> the fact that people pay money to view murder, gore and violent sex as a form of entertainment.

  2. Nate King · April 15, 2012

    Right on.

  3. India Pearl · April 16, 2012


    As someone who worked at the Blackstone theater for about four years, I can back you up completely. I feel that it is inconsiderate to other patrons of the theater to have children in a non-children setting, and very selfish of parents to expose their children to any more violence or disturbance than they already may or may not see on television.

    I also hate to say it, but most of the time the “parents” I witnessed allowing their toddlers or small children into scary movies or movies with very adult themes, were in their early twenties or even late teens. (I say that term in quotations because I was under the impression that if they were in fact the parent then they weren’t doing very good parenting. Their presence led me to believe that they might have been an older sibling and their parents were too irresponsible to care about where they were, or they were stupid young parents who didn’t have the sense to stop their kids from having nightmares.)

    I wasn’t allowed to see scary movies until I was almost 12, and even then I wasn’t allowed to go see one in the theater until I was at least 13. I’m sure there’s a different level of maturity for each kid, but at least wait until they’re in the double digit age group to allow them in the theater to see something with very mature themes or images. I was even more upset when there were small children who weren’t just distracting other movie-goers, but they may have started crying or yelling when they see something scary or disturbing, and their “parent” didn’t have the sense to take them home.

    Anyway, big rant but I totally am on your side.

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