It's hard to believe how quickly we as Americans have changed in our viewing habits. G-Rated videos and G-Rated DVDs are getting hard to find in the 'New Releases' section of your video store or even online. For every 1 G-Rated movie that is created, there are 17 R-Rated movies, even though recent study (by the Dove Foundation) shows that the G movies generate nearly 8 times more profit. Even the Disney studios, which have produced many great kid-friendly movies in the past, are joining the trend. It is estimated that 3 out of 4 of Disney's top grossing movies are R-Rated. Let's take a look at how this has come about and what can be done about it.
In 1968, as complaints gross louder about the sex, violence and profanity in movies, pressure for a rating system (and a Supreme Court decision) finally forced the creation of the MPAA film rating system. Although new to the USA, a rating system had been in use by other countries for years already. The first rating system consulted of G (all ages admitted), M (parental discretion), R (16 and over without adult), and X (17 and over). Confusion regarding the M rating led to the development of the PG (all ages – parental guidance) and the disappearance of the M rating. Around the same time the R rating age was raised to 17 and the X rating to NC-17 (No 'children' under 17, later changed to no 'one' under 17). NC-17 movies are not shown by most theaters.
As more movies were made that straddled the gap between PG and R ratings, especially for violence (like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), the PG-13 rating was adopted by the MPAA. PG-13 movies allowed for children under 13 to be approved, but it came with parent warnings.
That brings us to today. Although an estimated 50% of the US population goes to church regularly, and about 5% of the population attends the movie theater regularly, there is still a disproportionate number of horror and violent films being stress on the public. Even at that, many of the g-rated moves that do make it to the screen are filled with questionable moral content including occultism and characters that promote unhealthy lifestyles. There is a good chance that soon movie ratings will be adversely affected if a character is smoking a cigarette, but still PG movies can contain strong language and drug or sexual implications that could influence young children. So what can parents do to find more movies for children?
First, know what your kids are watching. There are several sources where you can find out information about movies, even detailed information like what exactappropriate language is said and how often, what disturbing scenes are included, and any sexual situations. Some of these online sites are ScreenIt.com, Kids-in-Mind.com, FamilyStyle.com, or RottenTomatoes.com. There are other sites that focus only on children friendly material and cartons. Still other companies are taking good movies and extracting foul language and inappropriate scenes. Make the time to watch these shows with your kids and if there is any questionable content that comes up, stop the movie and explain why it is not appropriate. Never pass an opportunity to teach your children about good morals and character after the movie.
When you are looking for movies, try the Internet for downloads or good g-rated videos to purchase. Just type 'g-rated videos' or 'family movies' in your search engine and you will find sites that offer the type of material that will help the development of your children in a positive way. As more parents take action by decreasing take their kids to the show, and by refusing to buy or rent their videos from Internet sites that also offer hard-core movies, maybe the trend will change in favor of more wholesome choices for us all.