Social Question

Ela's avatar

How do you feel about a 13 year old watching an R rated film in school?

Asked by Ela (6203 points ) April 24th, 2012

Glory

The permission slip reads as follows…
“I am having your student view a video called “Glory” starting Friday that portrays a very vivid picture of what a group of black regiment soldiers endured during the Civil War. I believe this to be a significant learning lesson for your child but want to inform you that it includes some adult situations and language. The mature scenes consist of some graphic scenes from battles and then some otherwise vivid word usage. That being said, I believe that your child will uphold outstanding character in viewing this video and will demonstrate a mature demeanor when necessary. It is important to me for my students to view this video but understand that you may not wish for your student to view the mature scenes. Your signature below will be necessary for your student to watch the video. I will have a respectable alternative lesson for your child to complete in the media center in the event that you wish for your student to not watch “Glory”.
Thank you for your consideration.”

I noticed there was no mention of the rating in the permission slip.
How would you feel about your 8th grader watching this movie in school?

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72 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I’m not a parent, but I assume parents wouldn’t want their kid watching that. I can understand why a class would watch it, though.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Ela, is there time for you to watch the movie yourself before making a decision?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I am glad the teacher sent home a permission slip, I think that was very respectful.

I would allow my daughter to see it. I have been reviewing of late the crazy crap I was doing as a young man, and I have decided I might be being a little overprotective of my daughter. I gave her a hard time about reading the “Hunger Games” recently, then I realized I had read “Cujo” when I was younger than her.

ninjacolin's avatar

What’s the worst that could happen?

WestRiverrat's avatar

Glory is not that bad a movie, the R rating is primarily for violence. It is one of the better recent war movies I have seen. I would not hesitate to let my child watch it, in fact it is in my collection.

Here is a link to the youtube trailer so you can sample it if you want before signing the slip.

Rarebear's avatar

They’re 7th graders, and they’re watching it in a social studies class. It’ll be fine.

Bellatrix's avatar

I would let my 13 year old watch Glory. It is an excellent film and the story is an important one.

Ela's avatar

I find it interesting that they would show an R rated film and not mention the rating.

He will be fine watching it. I’m a bit more concerned regarding the emotional aspect of it. Most of the men die. I’m thinking I should warn him of that.

I’ve seen the movie @bkcunningham. Imo, it is an excellent portrayal of the events that took place. I signed the slip and wrote a note to the teacher on the rating. I think the violence is pretty graphic @WestRiverrat. I started to talk to him about it but he asked for me not to spoil it for him.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Most 13 year olds are more resilient than many adults believe they are. I think it is better to teach them about violence early in a controlled environment than let them find out on their own.

Kids cannot learn to deal with the bad stuff that is going to happen in their lives if they never encounter it as children.

TexasDude's avatar

I really think it depends on the kid and the film. As a few others have pointed out, this is a quality war film that is educational and relevant to a class. Therefore, I say go ahead.

I was raised on R rated movies of less useful content literally from birth, and I turned out alright. Maybe.

Ela's avatar

I agree @WestRiverrat. I also believe there is a fine line between teaching and desensitizing them.
But this steps into an area I hadn’t allowed. They haven’t been allowed to watch R rated movies/shows.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Ela there is a first time for everything, and at least it isn’t a movie full of gratuitous nudity.

linguaphile's avatar

R ratings are given for a variety of reasons: violence, sexual scenes, nudity, profanity, drug use, etc and Glory was made in 1989 when the R rating was much more stringent than today’s R rating. Glory on IMDB will give you the reasons for the R rating and I find that this site is very thorough.

I send out permission slips similar to this for several movies—Romeo + Juliet, Macbeth (with Patrick Stewart), Crash, etc. As a teacher, I believe there’s a difference between showing students a movie for the entertainment value—I would never ask to show movies like Saw or many PG-13 movies, not even to upperclassmen. I only choose movies that I feel will have a literary or historical impact on the students and discuss the movies thoroughly.

Dead Poets Society takes me 4 class days to go through—I tend to stop and discuss frequently. You could ask how the teacher plans to present the movie.

I agree that you should see the movie or at least get a feel for the movie to be comfortable with the teacher showing the movie.

Ela's avatar

@WestRiverrat That’s one of the reasons why they have not been allowed any R rated. I find that a lot have inappropriate adult content. Plus the youngest is 12.

Did you note the rating on your slips @linguaphile? I’ve seen the movie and I think the teacher will present the material well. It will very educational for him.

linguaphile's avatar

@Ela I do put the rating on the permission slip along with the IMDB link and a link to the film’s official site, if there is one. Each teacher writes permissions differently.

My guess is that the teacher wrote the note with the assumption that the rating was already widely known. If she did leave it out intentionally, it could be because the rating is old and not proportional to today’s rating. If you’re concerned about why she left it out, ask—that’s the best way to find out what her reason was.

jerv's avatar

The thing that concerns me is that that is this is even an issue. If there are parents that wish to shelter their kids from reality to that extent then maybe it’s the adults that need to be in a classroom. I saw worse stuff off-screen by age 5.

I might feel differently if it were not for the fact that the rating system is rather arbitrary, but about the only films I would object to showing kids are the type of things that would shock the average adult, like The Clockwork Orange. Of course, there is a lot of stuff that also get s through the system that shouldn’t; a half-second flash of nipple earns an R-rating while many violent films like Rambo, and Red Dawn gt lower ratings, not because their content is less objectionable, but merely because they make less use of blood packs in their special effects. And we wont even get into how standards change over time.

@WestRiverrat The only movies I know of with gratuitous nudity also have cheesy plots, bad music, and lots of moaning.

Rarebear's avatar

Couldn’t agree more with @jerv

Ela's avatar

To me, it’s not a matter of sheltering them @jerv, it’s a matter of desensitizing them to violence which I truly believe not only can happen but has been happening to the children in our society.

I disagree with letting them watch adult themed shows at young ages. I am not okay with a child seeing someone get their head blown, OD or raped.

JLeslie's avatar

I think its fine in this context. I would sign the permission slip. We saw a few movies in school we needed permission for, it was never that big of a deal.

Ela's avatar

I’m curious, what do you think it would be rated by today’s standards?

ninjacolin's avatar

@Ela, after your wee-one watches the show, would ya mind coming back and letting us know what he thought of it? :)

Haleth's avatar

“I noticed that there was no mention of rating in the permission slip.”

The teacher wrote, “...a very vivid picture of what a group of black regiment soldiers endured during the Civil War. ...adult situations and language. The mature scenes consist of some graphic scenes from battles and then some otherwise vivid word usage…”

Shouldn’t the content be more important than the rating? Ratings can be arbitrary, and a rating of R or PG-13 doesn’t necessarily mean the movie will line up with your values.

Ela's avatar

LoL @ninjacolin Well he’s not a “wee-one” he is taller than me! If that was reference to me over protecting him, well I’m not in this case. I have no doubt he will be fine watching the movie though I will tell him most of the men die.

I hadn’t realized the ratings had changed so much. Though I still won’t allow my children to see tits and ass : )

jerv's avatar

@Ela Reality desensitizes kids to violence as well, and far moreso.

I am not entirely okay with that either, but many films with R ratings are not nearly so bad while some PG ones are. And, again, they probably see a bit of that in unrated content.

JLeslie's avatar

@ela Violence bothers me way more than T&A. For adult viewing also.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Ela, nope, not accusing you of over-protectiatiousness. :)
Just curious to know what s/he has to say about it.

Ela's avatar

I agree that it does @jerv.
They see plenty of violence and t&a, much more than I ever had at their age. The R rating helps to set up a guideline for me and keeps the lid on that particular can of worms closed… for now. They don’t quite get why they can watch this and not that. I go through that with their games a lot already “Well you let us have this one…”

Will do @ninjacolin : )

augustlan's avatar

I think my two older girls both watched that movie in 5th grade, in school. It may well have been the first R-rated movie they ever saw, too. We were fairly protective of what types of television and movies they watched when they were young, but we felt that particular movie in a school setting was fine. I can’t remember if we warned them about the violence or not, it’s been so long ago now. My middle girl is now in 11th grade, and taking film studies. The teacher for that class sent home a blanket permission slip, since most of the movies they’ll be studying are rated R, and we signed it.

DeanV's avatar

I watched that exact same film when I was 11. It really was not that big of a deal. If we’re talking about purely gore, I only remember one part where a guys head gets blown off, and even that is pretty PG-13 nowadays. I see no reason why it would be deemed unacceptable, especially as the movie carries a good message.

Coloma's avatar

“Glory” is an excellent film, not that violent, it is yes, but it is real history, I think it’s fine for a 13 yr. old. Much better than T&A IMO when it comes to middle school kids.
I’m not a fan of violence for violence sake but portrayed historically is educational. I’d sign. :-)

Plucky's avatar

I would let my child watch it. It’s a wonderful and meaningful film. I probably would have shared it with them, at home, before getting asked from their school. I don’t go by ratings with movies.
Afterwards, I would ask them what they thought about it and such.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think the video games kids play today that are nothing but shooting and killing are a lot more desensitizing than a movie which depicts real life situations.

ucme's avatar

Your average 13yr old has probably seen far more graphic material, at least this is in a controlled environment & also for educational purposes.

Plucky's avatar

@ucme…stop pointing at me! :P

ucme's avatar

More of a prod really @Plucky, just checking folks are awake.

tom_g's avatar

Please. I agree with @jerv that the fact this is an issue is troubling.

My only real complaint would be the fact that the school is playing a 2-hour Hollywood movie. Do we really need Matthew Broderick and ridiculously cheesy music to learn history?

SuperMouse's avatar

I would let my eighth grader watch Glory. I would probably let him watch it at home and I would definitely let him watch at school with the teacher adding context and information. I like the idea of the permission slip and I agree that it should have listed the rating.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g I do. I hated history in school, I can’t emphasize it enough. Movies were a treat to most students, including me, and I learned something. It was a horrible struggle for me to get through history, yet I could tutor kids in math. I’ll agree it does not need to be a hollywood movie, it could be documentary style instead, but if my class had been more movies or TV history programs I would have learned much more,

john65pennington's avatar

To be honest, your children probably already watch worse scenes on the internet.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo The funny thing about your comment about video games is that it’s actually been proven that, rather than creating killers, many of those games actually lead to more cooperation. I find the evening news more desensitizing.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’ll let my son see Glory prior to age 13. We’ve already shown higher rated movies for educational purposes.

Since there was a permission slip, parents can opt out if they feel it’s too mature for their child. Sounds reasonable to me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It would totally depend on the movie. I’d watch it first.

I had a Christian friend who decided she’d never watching anything over PG13. I got her to agree to go to a movie with but, but before the movie started she whined that it was R rated. It was “Rainman.” Afterward she conceded as how that wasn’t such a bad movie for R rated ;)

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – I think the funding for those statistics came from games and game console manufacturers. I cannot understand how wanton murder, shooting someone, anyone who comes into your line of vision, would encourage cooperation and sensitivity???

filmfann's avatar

They made a movie about Glory Holes, and it only got an R???

Seriously, Glory is a great movie, and should be required viewing for students. I like that the teacher sent home a notification, but I am sure that your child is exposed to much worse language on a day to day basis than this movie will present.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Taking the question at face value, just “R” rated movies in general, I have a real problem with this “They’ve already seen it” mentality. I was pretty protective of what my kids saw and didn’t see under my watch.
When my grandson was 8 he once asked to watch a particular movie. I said no, I didn’t think it was appropriate for him.
He said, “I’ve already seen it about a million times”
I said, “Not in this house you haven’t.”
My point is, maybe they have seen it, maybe they haven’t. That’s no excuse for tossing all responsibility for them out the window. At the very least they’ll understand what your expectations for them are, and what your feelings about certain things are, and hopefully take their cue from that. If not right then, then as they mature.

Some of you guys are saying, “Well, they’ve seen much worse in video games.” Where? In your own home?
They’ve seen as bad on the internet. Where? In your home?

Maybe they’ve seen pornography elsewhere. Does that mean it’s OK to let them watch it in your home, or give them permission to watch it elsewhere just because they’ve seen it before?

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo I guess you have never been part of a group activity that requires teamwork in order to achieve your goals; no sports, no games, no marriage…

As for sensitivity, there was no claim about it promoting sensitivity, though other studies have shown that the link between video games and tings like sympathy, empathy, etcetera is about as strong as the link between the price of gas and the airspeed of a laden swallow.

Also bear in mind that the people who commit atrocities like the Columbine shooting had issues before they every started on the games. You can’t blame video games for Charles Manson either. I will grant that they probably don’t help those that are already predisposed to wanton killing sprees, but banning (or even restricting) them won’t help either.

But your first sentence tells me that you probably already made up your mind and thus will continue to tilt at windmills rather than admit that the problem lies elsewhere, like bad parenting, mental illness, or something other than one of the things you despise.

Rarebear's avatar

For what it’s worth, they show Glory to my daughter’s middle school also. I haven’t actually seen the movie myself—I guess I’ll have to after reading this thread.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What species of laden swallow, @jerv?

I agree with @rooeytoo that it’s exposure to senseless, gratuitous, and possibly desensitizing violence. I also agree with @jerv that whether or not that desensitizing takes hold would have to do with many factors, bad parenting among them. Parents who don’t know what their kids are doing and don’t try to find out fit in that category. I, personally, kept my kids away from it, as best as I could. No video games in my house. And if I had allowed it, I would have known what their theme was.

@Rarebear…let me know what you think. I don’t recall having seen it either.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I can see why a teacher might not put the rating on the permission slip. Some parents won’t look past the PG-13 or R when they decide to sign or not. As long as the teacher accurately describes what is in the film instead of relying just on the sometimes flawed rating system they are more likely to get a better informed response.

lonelydragon's avatar

Well, after wondering how I ended up with an 8th grade child in the first place, I would allow him/her to see the film. As others have said, it’s important to look beyond the ratings to the educational value contained therein. It sounds like the film could offer a valuable learning experience, and they would be watching it under a responsible teacher’s supervision.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@lonelydragon Yeah..how did I wind up with a 30-something kid??! However, you also need to second guess the instructors. What THEY consider having “educational value” might not be your definition of educational value. It comes back to you.

When my daughter was in 2nd grade her teacher showed the class “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” for fun down-time. My daughter came home really distraught over all the horror, especially over the graphic scene of Indiana Jones ripping the monkey’s heart out of his chest, among the roaches scene, etc. She had nightmares for a week. It’s an R rated movie. It’s a long story but yeah. You need to double check your teachers.

Well, I would think that they should put the rating on the permission slip, if for no other reason than to cover their asses, legally. I mean, “R” means, “Parental permission”, right?

jerv's avatar

Society as a whole has been desensitized to the point where a person can lay bleeding to death in the street and nobody will help; they will just step over them. I doubt that the percentage of people who play video games is that high (probably well under 95%, and I would guess less than half) and many of them are probably at least my age and therefore didn’t really have video games as a kid anyways (Pacman on the Atari 2600 was so graphically violent!), so how there must be something else at work here. For me, it was being beaten by an abusive father. By the time I was old enough for Kindergarten (the same year Pong came out in arcades), I was already pretty desensitized to violence as a result even though I had never even watched TV or a movie, and video games did not exist. For others, it may be different.

But the important thing is that I had a mother who was close to me, always aware of what I was up to, and was more involved than the average parent today who just lets their kid run wild while not nearly as paranoid as the other type of parent that seems to be rising in popularity; the over-reactive, overly protective ones who don’t let their kids see PG-13 stuff until they are 18, and homeschool them to keep them away from the sex, drugs, and violence that are so prevalent in public schools.

Of course, a certain level of desensitizing is actually healthy. If you were grossed out by the flashback scene in The Fisher King where Parry’s wife is killed by a shotgun blast to the head, that is normal; even my friend who does loves horror movies was shocked. But if you wind up in therapy because of it, odds are that you are ill-equipped to ever survive in the really real world and should be removed from society for your own good. Allergies work the same way; how do you think I am now able to survive a bee sting without an epi-pen or a trip to the ER, or to own cats without constant adverse reactions? Like all things, too much is too much, but just because there is such a thing as “too much”, that doesn’t mean that any at all is automatically too much.

Now, it’s one thing for an 8-year-old to have nightmares after seeing monkeys get their hearts torn out, but if your kids don’t have a healthy level of desensitizing by the age of 13 then you probably did something wrong, whether it be absentee parenting or too much sheltering.

@Dutchess_III My school did send out permission slips for Sid and Nancy, which we watched in Health class to show drug addiction due solely to it’s R-rating and the potential legal issues; it really was a CYA move,

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – wow, first let me guess, you love playing shoot and kill video games!

You sure have derived a lot from my simple statements. I didn’t say video games were the only source of violence in a kid’s life, I didn’t say it was the primary source. Actually I didn’t say much of anything except that there is more personalized violence in video games than in that movie. The movie is not interactive, no one sitting in the audience pulls a trigger and kills another human. It is about the horrors of war. If anything one would hope it would deter the kids from growing up to want to go to war over religion or economics or to get 42 virgins. Video games on the other hand, encourage the killing, you get points for killing, you win the game if you kill the most.

Sorry I threw in sensitivity, you only said cooperation. I must have momentarily lost my focus.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo Actually, I prefer RPGs, turn-based strategy, and driving games, though I am into World of Tanks and MechWarrior, both of which are vehicular combat. First-person shooters don’t really do it for me unless it’s one that allows stealth options, like the first Deus Ex which allows you non-combat ways to complete missions. I like challenges, and thinking is more challenging than just spraying bullets at everything that moves.

Over the last few decades, I have seen a lot of people looking for scapegoats. Ozzy Osbourne never made me want to commit suicide, Dungeons and Dragons never made me think I actually was a wizard or got me into sacrificing animals to Satan, and video games never made me want to take a human life. But seeing all of the claims that those things are the reason our kids are screwed up has made me a little touchy on the issue of scapegoating.

Does that make sense?

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – yep I agree, but I do think it is a part of the overall picture. But that is just my humble opinion. There is no one size fits all reason for anything.

I started watching the movie Real Steel last night. I love those robots, I want one of those to play with!!! Have you seen it? Has enough human interest that the average female will like it and most guys will love the bots! There, how’s that for a sexist description! I am thinking of it because they are like giant real life video games in action!

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo I prefer my robot combat more interactive than a movie, and it’s only a 20-minute drive from my house to the nearest pod bay, run by a great guy that goes by the callsign “Uglyman” when he takes the field. In that, it’s part video game and part party since we all hang out and BS between missions, often talking about stuff that has nothing to do with the game.
Besides, the BattleTech universe has been around for 28 years and released many novels with all sorts of action whether it be romance, espionage, combat, or otherwise. Compared to that rich history, the tabletop games (both the original and the “clik-warrior” minature game), the home computer game, the short-lived animated series… well, Real Steel seems rather lacking. You can keep your Atom; I prefer a Locust IIC 9.

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, but I believe you!!!

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a geek. :D
That first link is to a game that allows you to play with giant robots from a full cockpit rather than a mere computer, though you have to go to one of a very few places that actually has those cockpits, while the second is to show that the robots (or rather, ‘mechs) that I play with are party of a fictional universe with far more human interest things than a single movie has.

theplunketts's avatar

I’m perfectly fine with it.
Trust your gut, but more importantly trust your kid.
You have to know your own child, and they won’t be children forever (they gotta grow up sometime)

On a side note: Nudity is fine too as long as it’s natural and not sexual. I don’t think that people should freak out over the nude form. If you don’t act like it’s a big deal then it’s not.

jerv's avatar

@theplunketts Very true. Making a big deal out of something may cause a kid to be attracted to it in a “forbidden fruit” sort of way.

theplunketts's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought it’s very healthy that you used your review of your own teen years to help you with your now teen child :)

lonelydragon's avatar

@Dutchess_III True. It would probably be wise to watch the film yourself first.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@theplunketts thank you. I think of how I was raised and do the opposite.

Ela's avatar

@ninjacolin He said so far it was okay and that if Morgan Freeman died, he was going to be sad (I can’t remember if he does or not). He’s only watched the first part and will finish watching it either Monday or Tuesday. He said he’ll give me a full review then. : /

bkcunningham's avatar

I haven’t seen the movie. @Ela, your question made me think of two things. I wonder if showing movies is common in public schools? Also, related directly to the movie, would it be appropriate for a 13 year old who has family in the military stationed in a warzone? I know it would obviously depend on the maturity of the child and all the other common sense things involved with the situation and the question. But since I haven’t seen the movie, I just wondered how much fear from war and injury it could invoke in a child with a parent in, say Afghanistan?

Ela's avatar

@bkcunningham Hopefully if a parent thought their child would be disturbed by it because of personal reasons, they would not them permission to see it. I asked if any of his classmates were going to the media center (where the kids that did not have permission would go) and he said no so apparently all the parents gave their student permission to see the movie. This is my 13 year old and he is more sensitive like me. That’s why I told him almost all the men die. Hopefully to warm him a bit. I think this movie will be an educational film for him to watch but I also think it may impact him on a more personal level.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Speak of the devil….“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” is on TV now. I can NOT believe any adult in their right mind, whether they’ve had children or not, could possibly think it suitable for 2nd graders.

jerv's avatar

@Dutchess_III That movie along with Gremlins was actually a large part of the reason we now have the PG-13 rating. Neither was enough for an R—rating, so they got a straight PG instead.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve found the rating system to be quite arbitrary. At 13, most kids can handle some blood and gore.

jerv's avatar

@tranquilsea They let more violence through than sex, so yes, it is.

tranquilsea's avatar

@jerv I know. That has always seemed ass backwards to me

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