Taking your small kids to non age appropriate movies

The articles about the overnight shooting spree at the midnight showing of the Dark Knight Rises included reports that there was a 3 month old and 6 year old kid in the crowd. Sure it’s a PG-13 rated movie but it was also being shown at midnight and it’s close to 3 hours long.

I’m fairly big movie buff and go to the movies about 3-4 times a month. I regularly see people bring small kids into R rated movies. I remember seeing Saw III at a 10:00 pm showing and this family strolls in with 4 kids ranging in ages from 3-10. The 5 year old would scream “mommy mommy” everytime anything dark or violent would appear on the screen.

I also remember when seeing The 40 Year Old Virgin, that a middle aged couple brought their 9 year old daughter and 12 year old son with them.

I know it’s not illegal for underage kids to see R rated movies with someone over the age of 17 with them, but I seriously question these parent’s judgment.

I suspect that it’s most likely they couldn’t get a baby sitter or couldn’t afford one and they wanted to see the movie so they just brought them along. They also likely let their kids watch all kinds of stuff at home…so taking them to the theater in their mind is no big deal.

What do you think?

I think this:

is child abuse.

I think a 3-month old would be oblivious, but a six year old is different. I let my then-six year old see the earlier Batman movies with the lights on at home and ability to pause/ff/etc and during Batman Begins he was eventually distracted by Legos and I was grateful because I realized the Batman movies are creepy. Even the animated ones like Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. (Or maybe especially those.) Not only is there violence, but also sex scenes and I donno, to me it’s not appropriate to be showing your kids this stuff if you don’t know what’s going to happen.

But we’re big Batman fans here and I decided it was all right. (No nightmares or anything, but what do I know? It could’ve been a total parenting fail.) Still, I saw the 1989 Batman as a kid and it definitely wasn’t age-appropriate.

We were at the theatre yesterday to see Chimpanzee and there were a lot of little girls going to see Snow White and the Huntsman and in the bathroom there were these kids from a daycare/summer camp to be about 9 and talking about The Hunger Games. I wouldn’t let my kid see HG. He didn’t see LOTR until just now because I thought it was kind of creepy and we still haven’t seen Pirates of the Caribbean.

I’m sure my movie/parenting choices don’t make sense. But a dark movie theatre at midnight? No. I think my son is extremely mature, but that’s not right. You have no idea what’s going to happen on that screen. I don’t think like the first Spider-Man movie would be an issue for a six or seven year old, but how the heck do you know until you’ve seen it?

Last year, I complained about action movies being aimed at kids too young and was told I was being a weenie. :slight_smile:

I went to the movie theater a couple of weeks ago and I was waiting in line to purchase my ticket.
I notice this big group of about 8 people which included a small boy, hey couldn’t have been over 12.
Everyone else in the group could not have been over 30 …

The movie I went to watch was “Cabin in the woods”, after the movie was over I saw the same group with the boy walk out of the movie …
It was shocking to see that this boy look to be unfazed by what he had seen.

Altough the movie had some comic touch to it … It displayed all the horrors that humanity has ever come up with

I remember seeing “Saving Private Ryan” in the theater back in the late 90’s. The movie made the news back then because veterans who remembered the beach assault firsthand had gone to see the movie, and were blown away, so to speak, by the feelings it evoked in them. For some it awoke long-dormant PTSD. I’m no veteran, but I remember walking out of that theatre with my friends, all of us in stunned silence.

I also remember seeing parents who had taken young children to see the movie. I could maybe, maybe see explaining a graphic horror movie to kids (“it’s just make-believe”), but how do you explain a historical drama like this, where it’s a portrayal of events that actually happened? Yes, there really was a beach landing where people were cut to shreds by Nazi machine gun fire. Yes, there really were snipers who would repeatedly shoot at a downed man, hoping to lure his fellow soldiers out of hiding so he could shoot them too. Yes, men really did watch their fellow soldiers die in their arms, helpless to do anything. How do you explain that to a little kid in a way that doesn’t leave him traumatized?

We don’t take the kids to the theatre very often and when we do the movie is rated G. My kids are 7 & 8.

We do push the envelope a little more at home. When it is a movie that both my husband and I have seen before we will slide in a few PG movies (Star Wars being the kids’ favourite of these).

However, I did make one EPIC parenting fail on the movie front. It was Hallowe’en and I am a horror movie buff. So, I thought that the kids could handle Silver Bullet. It is starring kids, doesn’t really show the gore and has some really cute moments.

BIG MISTAKE! My daughter still talks about it and had nightmares for a week. (My son thought it was cool and was unfazed. He wanted to kill his own werewolf.)

This is nothing new. My parents (with the parenting skills of 2 alley cats) took me to see Jaws in a theater in 1976 at the age of 5. I remember my mother almost getting into a fight with a woman while we were in line to buy tickets to see Looking for Mr. Goodbar when she told her that the movie was not appropriate for a 6 year old. I was able to start begging off when I hit 10 or 11, as I recall.

I have never liked graphic or scary movies and sometimes I wonder if I would have grown to enjoy them like many of my friends and peers if my boneheaded parents hadn’t scarred my fragile little psyche when I was so young.

Never mind the psychological scarring of fragile young psyches, how about the audience who expect to be able to watch an adult movie in peace, without young kids talking or running around or crying or whatever?

Agreed. I have resigned myself to having to yell at someone at least once during a movie to either turn the cellphone off or shut the podling up. Or both.

I agree that there are lots of movie-related parenting fails, but I’m not sure that taking your 12-year-old son to see “The 40 Year Old Virgin” is all that bad. I mean, it isn’t a great call - there’s a lot the kid won’t get. But this is actually one of my favorite movies, and I think it’s a pretty deeply conservative, family-friendly film at heart. After all, this is a movie about a middle-aged virgin who’s basically happy with his life and a decent man - his friends convince him to try and get laid, which leads to hilarious mishaps until he finds Twue Wuv and waits until marriage to have sex and Bollywood dance numbers. The protagonists friends think waiting a very long time to have sex is odd, but the movie’s point is very much that these friends are wrong - that waiting can be a perfectly fine thing, if that’s how one is so inclined.

I still doubt that I’d take my 12-year-old son to go see it. But would I let my 14-year-old go see it? Yah, probably.

3 month old in a theater for any movie, regardless of rating, not good IMHO. They will invariably disturb others.

Aside from that, parents are (generally) the best judge of the maturity of their own kids.

I’ve let my 6 yo see a couple PG-13 movies at home. And I wouldn’t allow him to see anything PG-13 and up that I hadn’t seen personally myself first.

Sex/nudity/language isn’t the issue, it’s the violent/scary images. We (me and the Mrs.) don’t want to deal with nightmares, fears at night, etc. That’s primarily what we screen for.

I don’t buy into the idea that viewing films depicting whatever (violence or some such) will necessarily turn kids violent - not in terms of occasional viewing. Sure - Clockwork Orange style, eyes forced open, attempted brainwashing with images will have an affect on anyone. Not talking about that.

What I’m saying is I basically screen what my kids watch based on what won’t make my life any more difficult. Other parents can do as they see fit. None of my business - unless your child is so young that they aren’t capable of keeping reasonably quiet/still during the movie.

Meh, I had a friend who used to bring her infant to the theater with us just to get herself out of the house. The kid basically slept through the films, and she’d sit near the exit to wisk him out to the lobby if he started looking like he might start crying (which IIRC, never came up). I don’t think its really a problem as long as the adult makes sure she can get the kid out to the lobby without disturbing other guests.

As to older kids, I think the main victims of showing them violent or scary movies are the parents, who have to deal with the resultant nightmares. So if they want to take their kids to see Saw or whatever, its their call.

Hey now. Most female cats are excellent mothers. The males might be great fathers, or they might tend to kill all kittens they come across, but female cats, at least, are usually great parents and are very careful to keep their babies safe.

As for human kids…it’s one thing to take a sleeping infant into a theater, if s/he is a good steady sleeper and won’t fuss, and if the parent is ready to take the baby out of the theater if a colic attack occurs. It’s quite another thing to have kids running up and down the aisles, or even just screeching throughout the movies.

Please note that I don’t approve of adults screeching throughout the movie, either.

So it’s not as bad for the kids who actually have to *have *the nightmares? That’s an odd viewpoint.

I went to an early afternoon showing of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and was the only one in the theater as the lights dimmed.

And then at the last moment a lady walks in with a kid about 5 years old. :eek: Maybe she thought a nice animated movie had to be suitable for her kid? :smack:

The opening includes the musical number Uncle Fucker (NSFW). At least she had the good sense to pick up her kid and walk out… probably less than 90 seconds into the movie.

WRT age, under 2 years old - hell, take them to The Human Centipede for all I care, they won’t remember anything. Just keep them quiet.

I do not believe that kids under 10 or 12 can really handle gore and violence. I have heard of kids getting nightmares from animated Disney movies before.

However WRT to age - it is summer, and if the parents want to take any kid to a nonhorror movie at 2 am, no problem. No school the next day, so at worst the kids will sleep all day and maybe be grumpy from loss of a bit of sleep. I know my brother and I had no bedtime on vacation. I used to stay up and watch the overnight friday and saturday night 1950s and 60s SF and horror movies and my parents were OK with it, and stay up wicked late reading during the week. During school weeks, to bed early on school night, no bedtime friday and saturday nights, but I generally fell asleep around 2 am anyway.

When I went to see The Avengers, there was a dad in front of us with his four kids who looked to be between 2-7 years old. My guess is he wanted to see the movie and didn’t have anywhere to plant them while he did so. Now, there are definitely worse movies to take little kids to than that one, but I thought it was inappropriate: there’s plenty of violence, and the movie is extremely loud and visually overwhelming. I would not take a little kid to see it in the theater. They got up and went outside four separate times, so it wasn’t like the dad really got to enjoy it, either.

My parents weren’t really on the same page when it came to movies. My mom was very strict about what we could see, and my dad would agree with her and then turn around and rent us The Matrix trilogy or Saving Private Ryan when she went out of town. He wouldn’t take us to the theater, but we’d usually hit up Blockbuster pretty quickly. She admits now that she was probably overly restrictive.

I have a huge problem with my ex-wife and our children. She’s been letting my 10 year old watch horror movies since he was about 7, and I have complained and complained about it. He’s seen all the SAW movies (for fuck’s sake!), many of the Friday the 13th, Freddie Krueger, Halloween, etc movies as well.

Now, I suppose I can’t bitch too much because I have taken both my sons, now 10 and 7, to see all the super hero movies. But the violence in those movies is more explosive/smash/loud without the gore and deep psychological overtones in many of the horror films the oldest has seen.

The ex’s excuse? “Well, my mom let me when I was little and I turned out fine” (um, no, not really) and “I let my daughter Suzie watch them when she was little”…and if any of you recollect the issues the ex and I were having only a couple/few years ago with Suzie…she didn’t turn out fine either. She’s now living in a car with her boyfriend, last I heard, no doubt addicted to heroin again.

I’m not blaming horror movies for the outcomes of those two women that used to be in my life…but it certainly can’t help. Especially since my son now regularly draws pictures of Michael Myers, Jason’s hockey mask (and he’s actually quite good at it, I admit) but I hate that he’s become fascinated with all of this shit at such a young age. He does demonstrate remarkable interest in the process of horror movie making though. He’s looked up untold videos/documentaries/etc on filmmaking so who knows, maybe he’ll be the next Wes Craven or something. And he does understand that it’s not real. But he also got suspended from school last year for socking a kid in the face that was part of a group of boys that were teasing him.

So…I dunno.

My parents brought me to a lot of grown-up movies but nothing with a lot of sex or violence. As for me, the thought of bringing my toddler to a movie (even an age appropriate one) makes me shudder. Unless it’s approximately 20 minutes long, there’s just no way. Maybe some people’s kids are a lot quieter and don’t run around as much as mine does.

That’s my only concern. God alone knows how many slasher movies I saw before I was even in school - but they were all at the drive-in.

The only one that ever scared me was The Swarm because the threat of bees was relatable, wheres I didn’t worry about a guy with a bag over his head running around stabbing people, because that only happened in movies.

But bringing a small child to a grown-up movie is inconsiderate in the same way as taking a call or yakking through it is. Unbelievably self-centered.

Hell, my test for when I’ll bring my own kids to a g-rated kids’ movie is when they can manage to sit through a movie at home. Maybe next year.