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Movie Night: What You Need to Know About Ratings

With the weather cooling down, staying in and watching movies is a common way to pass the time.  It’s also a great way to entertain the kids.  But all parents wonder about what is appropriate for their kids to watch.  Fortunately, movies are rated, and they have been since 1968!  It’s easy to see that rating for a movie, and we’re all familiar with the terms PG, PG-13, and R, but what do they mean?  Here’s what you should know about movie ratings and making sure your kids are seeing entertainment that suits their age.

“G” Movie Rating

The first and “lowest” of common movie ratings is “G.”  This means it’s approved for general audiences, or that there’s nothing in the movie that would offend parents if viewed by their children.  If you’re ever in doubt about letting your child see a movie, a “G” movie rating is strong evidence that it’s safe for them.  Under the rating, you’ll also see “All Ages Admitted,” which is more proof that it’s acceptable for kids to watch.

“PG” Movie Rating

Next up is “PG.”  This movie rating means that parents are encouraged to give parental guidance to children viewing this movie.  It might contain slightly more mature material that would be better received by children with an explanation.  Under this movie rating, you’ll see “Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children.”  This is just more caution for parents to make sure they know what their kids will be watching, and to be aware that talking to them about the content may be helpful.

“PG-13” Movie Rating

“PG-13” is the next rating on the list.  For these movies, parents are urged to be cautious, as some scenes and material might be inappropriate for pre-teens.  You’ll see a similar explanation under the rating: “Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13.”  For these movies, if your child is close to being a teenager, use good judgment in deciding if the movie is right for them to see.  Some children mature faster than others, and it’s important to know when your child is ready for more mature movies. 

“R” Movie Rating

Second to last is the “R” movie rating.  These movies contain adult material, and parents are urged to learn about the movie before taking young children to see it.  The text under the rating further explains: “Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian.”  So, also be aware that you’ll have to also watch the movie with your child, since they’ll require a parent or guardian present.

Next time you’re planning a movie night, or heading to the theater, know the movie ratings in advance.  If parental guidance or more knowledge about the movie is needed, it’s better for your kids to take the extra time to do that, and remember that as a parent the decision is ultimately yours to make.


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