Understanding American Movie Ratings

Imagine yourself a stranger in a foreign country. You are charged with the care and safety of two or three beautiful children in your Host Family. You have already overcome home-sickness, learning to drive in a different country with different law, and now you are expected to understand an entire system of movie ratings based on some letters! This must be very confusing, and what brave and adventurous souls are these au pairs who travel far from home with the hope of cultural exchange and learning!

I am writing this blog to help your au pair, or you parents out there, about the confusing system of movie ratings in our country. Always discuss expectations or possible movie options with your Host Parents before taking the children to a movie or other showing.

Some parents do not want their children exposed to certain types of movies or types of entertainment. For example, as a mom, I have never found Spongebob Squarepants to be funny for children, nor do I allow my kids to watch that type of rude humor. We don’t buy products with that character on them, either. Now that is not the only one, so please take no offense, but I feel it is my right to expose my children, or not, to what I choose for them until they are older. I also explained to my son, who is the only one wondering why, that I think much of that is vulgar humor or not really geared toward children, just like some of the newer “adult-style cartoons” that have become popular.

Okay, the movie ratings – film ratings are there to let the adult know, in advance, the content of the film in order to determine its appropriateness for their children.

Here’s a picture of an actual rating that accompanied “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”

Anatomy of a rating

The Actual Rating

Each film is assigned a letter rating (G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17) that suggests the degree of caution parents/caregivers should exercise in deciding whether a movie is appropriate for their children.

Rating Definition

Next to the letter rating, you will see the rating description, which gives a more detailed explanation of what the specific rating means, to help you make your decision. Next to PG-13, you will always see the words “Parents Strongly Cautioned” followed by “Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13” to let you know the age limit for that movie.

Rating Descriptors

In the bottom or a rating box, you will see more words, which attempts to explain why a specific film was given the rating it received. This is different and unique for each film, but uses similar language so you can tell why a movie is rated that way.

To learn more, please visit www.filmratings.com.

Remember, you are entrusted with the mind, body, and spirit of the little ones in your care, so give great thought as to your input. What ye sow shall ye also reap!

Visit us at http://www.goaupair.com for complete program details.

My name is Joan Lowell, the Go Au Pair LAR (Local Area Rep) for the Providence area.

You can apply now at http://hostfamilies.goaupair.com/host-family-application.aspx or contact me at jlowell@goaupair.com or at 401-309-1925 for more information.

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