Discussion: When Should Kids Be Allowed To Watch R-Rated Movies?

The other week, I watched the action-comedy flick Kickass 2 at the cinema. The movie is a delightfully perverse slice of extreme violence and non-stop swearing punctuated by the occasional gross-out bodily fluids gag. In other words, it’s in no way intended for children and has a rating to prove it. However, I happened to spy some kids sitting directly in front of me who looked suspiciously tweeny…

Photo: Universal Pictures

Doubtlessly they snuck into the screening or managed to bluff their way past the usher. In any event, it got me wondering what the appropriate age is to start showing your kids R-rated movies. How young is too young?

The Australian Classification Board restricts R-rated movies to people who are aged 18 year old and over — but very few people actually stick to these rules while growing up. Hell, most of us have drunk alcohol and had sex before we hit 18, let alone watched an “adults only” action movie. As a parent and avid movie-buff, I’m constantly thinking about when to introduce classic movies to my offspring such as Alien,The Terminator and Apocalypse Now.

Obviously, this is something that needs to be assessed on a film-by-film basis as some adults-only movies are harder than others (despite its gory action sequences, the aforementioned Kickass 2 is far too cartoony and hyper-stylised to ever be taken seriously). There are also plenty of films supposedly intended for kids that are needlessly traumatic, proving that ratings aren’t the best barometer to go by.

But speaking broadly, when do you think is the best time to show R-rated movies to kids? 14? 15? 11? Share your opinion in the comments section below!

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