Should Parents Bring Their Children to the Cinema?

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Image credits: Shutterstock.

This is something that’s been on my mind every time I watch a movie at the cinema. Caution is necessary —> it might get a little controversial. Depends on how you look at it, and whose side you’re on, I guess. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now, here’s my topic for today:

Should children be brought along with the family to the cinema? If so, what is the age limit for them, and what movies should they be allowed in to watch?

The reason why I am bringing this up is because I have seen many movies now, and most of these movies have an age restriction. According to the official Ministry of Home Affairs portal:

The “film classification was introduced in 1953 which classified films into 2 categories: For Adults Only and Public Viewing.” In 1996 onwards, the classification was changed to U and 18. Classification 18 was divided into 4 sub-categories:

  • 18SG which contains elements of violence or horror, but not to excessive
  • 18SX which contains elements of sex, but not too excessive
  • 18PA which touches on religious, social, and political aspects
  • 18PL which contains a combination of 2 or more elements of violence, horror, and sex

In April 2010, the film classification was then changed again to U, PG13, and 18, which has since been in used until today:

  • U, where the category is for viewing by all walks of life without age limit, and the film portrays good values, decency, and positive lessons while being entertaining
  • PG13, where viewers under 13 years of age need parental/guardian supervision while viewing, since there will be scenes in the flim that consist of elements of horror, are scary with negative acts, suspense, and frantic elements; but not too excessive, with an elusive storyline; as well as elements that can disturb a child’s emotion
  • 18, where the category is suitable for viewers aged 18 and above, since the film may contain elements of adult scenes, horror, gore, and violence but not too excessive; with sensitive social, political, and religious aspects which require a high level of understanding.

I’m not saying that children are not allowed in the cinema. I’m just wondering because the movie that I went to watch yesterday was rated PG13 and there were families with toddlers in the same hall as I was in. I’m fine with children being there, but I’m not fine when they don’t sit still and prefer to wander up and down the aisle in their shoes with little blinking lights, and making noise.

There were other people in the hall as well, who paid good money to watch the movie, not be entertained by little children. Why do parents allow their children to treat a public area as their own personal playground? I’m sorry but I was brought up in a home where morals and guidance were taught to me. That if I am in public, I should behave myself. If I am in a playground, I can run around and sweat until I tire myself out.

So my question to you is: Should children be brought to the cinema hall, if they do not understand or appreciate the movie?

It begs the idea of leaving the kids at home with a babysitter or a member of the family. If you cannot find someone to watch over your kids, perhaps you might want to rethink the whole idea of going out then. If you wanted children, you should have thought about how life-changing it would be. It’s not about restriction. It’s about compromise.

There are options to download movies, watch them on Astro, or catch them on iFlix or Netflix. Likewise, when my husband and I adopted a cat, guess what? Our holidays have been limited too. Pets and children are your responsibility. You don’t let them run wild and free just because you think they’re entitled to it. If you wanted the freedom to move around, don’t have pets or children. Or you have to find a way to balance them without jeopardising those around you.

What if your child fell and hurt himself in the cinema while the movie is playing? The child starts crying, and you’d have to take him out because the cries will disrupt the movie and eventually, you end up missing parts of the movie anyway. What’s the difference?

Yes, the film classification for PG13 meant that a child requires parental supervision, but what part of Warcraft (the movie I watched) is entertaining or lesson-learning to him? Bring him for Finding Dory. And don’t even think of bringing him to watch The Conjuring either. They’ll be scarred for life.

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