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Warning, 18SNVL!

What are ratings, and why do parents ignore them?

scared kid with popcorn

Image: via Shutterstock

A friend of mine, who is a pre-school teacher, recently had a child in her class tell her how much he liked the movie Iron Man. Surprised that he’d seen it, she asked the rest of the class, all aged between four and five, if they’d seen it. Every single child had seen the film, which carries Film and Publications Board (FPB) rating of 10SVL.

Fun police?

The FPB ratings are quite strict- they are designed to protect the child from exposure to anything inappropriate, but not everyone knows what they mean. If you’re a parent, you’ll be asked to provide your guidance about what your kid can watch, so here’s what the age restrictions mean:

  • A: All ages.
  • PG: Parental guidance is advised for younger or sensitive viewers.
  • 10M: Kids under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • 13M/13PG: Kids under 13 must be accompanied by an adult or parental guidance must be given for DVD viewing.
  • 10/13/16: No kids allowed under these ages.
  • 18: Adults only.

"N" is not for "Nice"

Another friend of mine once had this shock: Not knowing what the letters next to ratings mean, he watched a movie rated LS. He thought it meant “Love” and “Scary”. There are quite a few of these, so here’s a refresher:
  • B: Blasphemy (religious sensitivity).
  • D: Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • L: Strong language.
  • N: Nudity.
  • P: Prejudice with regards to ethnicity, race, gender etc.
  • S: Sexual conduct.
  • V: Violence.
You may not be too strict about the ratings in your house- they are harder to enforce inside people’s homes, after all, but some parents do follow the guidelines carefully. I have made the mistake of promising a movie to my kids, only to find out about the inappropriate ratings later on. Something to consider if you prefer to stick to the guidelines is speaking to your kid’s friend’s parents, or making sure he does- just in case they put on something you’d prefer him not to see at a party.

Peer pressure- “but they’ve seen it”- is one reason kids may see something you’d prefer them not to, but it’s mostly that parents just don’t worry too much about those little triangles with numbers and letters on the corner of DVD cases. Your kid is hardly likely to become a serial killer after watching one “bad” movie, but it’s still a good idea to exercise your PG when it comes to their viewing, and remember that even if you allow your kids to watch everything, their friend’s parents may not have the same relaxed attitudes.

Do you pay attention to age restrictions on DVDs and games?


By: By Scott Dunlop

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