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Old 03.11.2016, 22:13
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Inappropriate DVD From School

Dear EFers,

My son is 9 years old and currently in 3rd grade at the local primary school.

Because of going to literacy classes for native Dutch and native English speakers from Kindergarten age he is a a bit more advanced with his reading than his year group peers - so in the school library he is allowed to read books that are marked as being for older children (up to 5th grade I believe). They will not let him read Harry Potter (German version) as that is for 6th graders and up. Even though he has read a few of the Harry Potter books in English - and was reading the English version of one Harry Potter in a quiet period in the classroom.

The same library happens to lend DVDs for the children to watch at home - so the other day he came home with Jurassic Park which is rated PG-13. We didn't let him watch it as the film does have some quite scary bits for young children and we don't want him having nightmares about being chased around by velociraptors and T-Rexes.

Mrs Nickatbasel wrote a note to the teachers in proper German asking if they could pay a bit more attention to which DVDs the children are allowed to borrow - in particular the age rating.

A note in reply came back that effectively tried to make out that because they don't strictly enforce the age rules for books on my son, they felt it not to be a problem to bring home a film that is for a much older child. And they cited his reading of Harry Potter as part of their excuse. So basically it's our fault he was allowed to take home an age-inappropriate film.

I realise this is storm-in-a-teacup stuff but, in my book (no pun intended), reading a book one forms a mental picture such that even a quite scary scene is not going to give you nightmares, whereas a film is portraying something in a graphical way such that it is more likely to cause problems for a child that is not ready for such scenes.

What is other people's take on such a situation?

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 03.11.2016, 22:18
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

Am I right in understanding that they wouldn't let him take away a Harry Potter book in German because it is pitched at 12+ but would let him come home with a DVD which is for 13+?

Their reasoning is a bit off - that you allowed him to read HP in English so apparently it's your fault.

Whatever they or you think, though, the movie rating is there for a reason and it's not up to the school to waive that arbitrarily.
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Old 03.11.2016, 22:24
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

My kids are only 3 and 6 (nearly 4 and 7) .. I don't really go by the ratings at all.

They wanted to watch Men in Black and the oldest was a bit scared at some points, the youngest told her to shut up, it's just a movie, she found it really funny. Then they watched The Mask, both loved it.

Both movies PG13 - in my opinion MIB is much more scary.

I wouldn't let them watch random stuff in the playroom but if i'm there, i go by what i think rather than the rating.

I'm probably a bad parent, don't take advice from me.
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Old 03.11.2016, 22:33
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

Does your child have access to a remote control unsupervised? Does he/she watch movies? Reads fiction and non-fiction?

By 9, I am pretty sure he can sort out what he likes and what he doesn't. Mine decided they did want to watch it. One liked it, one didn't. Then we had a "before and after" digital visual effects of the scences from the movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgixhKfH1w4

You know your child best. If he's a sensitive soul (no projections, please) then he might not like it.

Cheers!
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Old 03.11.2016, 22:38
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

Agree with FunnyBone.

BTW, the film classification system for the UK is not really 'relevant' in Switzerland- where, as for most things:

In Switzerland film ratings are left to the country’s 26 cantons, with the result that in Geneva seven-year-olds can watch Colin Firth as a stammering George VI, but in Basel you have to be nine, in Bern ten – in both cases 12 if unaccompanied by an adult – and in Zurich no one under 12 is getting in at all (see box).

Fed up with what they consider an unnecessary confusion, ProCinema, the national association of cinema owners and film distributors, and the Swiss Video Association are behind the creation of a national film commission – set to open for business on July 1 – which will issue a one-age-fits-all rating across the country.

“Switzerland is too small for different ratings,” René Gerber, head of ProCinema, told swissinfo.ch. “There are other examples where the difference between cantons is bigger.”

In practice, there are five commissions – comprising members of police or education departments – for fixing age limits: in Geneva, Vaud, Zurich, Basel and Ticino. Smaller cantons generally follow their examples, although they are free to set their own ratings.

One exception is the Swiss capital Bern, where cinema owners set their own age limits – although this means they also accept responsibility if parents complain that their child needed five years of therapy after watching an unsuitable film.

“If you’re a distributor, currently you have to screen your movie in all these cantons that have commissions – so you screen it five times. If we had one commission, you’d have to screen it once. So it will be cheaper for the distributors,” Gerber said.
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Old 03.11.2016, 23:08
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

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What is other people's take on such a situation?
9 is a hard age. Just old enough to have a preference, but not quite old enough to let them get on with it on their own.

With ours I was still not willing to let them watch whatever they wanted. I didn't always sit with them, but I did have the last word, and I also made sure that I was on the sofa when the film had something which I thought might be disturbing to them.

I didn't really pay all that much attention to the ratings.

As long as you know what the child brings home, and the child knows that even if the librarian did let him take the DVD you still have the last word, then just use your judgement.
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Old 03.11.2016, 23:23
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

PG-13 means that kids under 13 should watch it with their parents, NOT that they shouldn't watch it.

Tom
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Old 03.11.2016, 23:27
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

When I think back to all of the great classic horror movies that I used to love as a kid, it amazes me that these days a nine year old might not be able to handle Jurassic Park.
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Old 03.11.2016, 23:34
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

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When I think back to all of the great classic horror movies that I used to love as a kid, it amazes me that these days a nine year old might not be able to handle Jurassic Park.
You underestimate the psychological effect of colour, not to mention sound.
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Old 03.11.2016, 23:41
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

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You underestimate the psychological effect of colour, not to mention sound.
lol, i'm not that old.

I recommend sitting the kid down on a rainy weekend for a marathon of 80s horror - the Friday the 13th movies, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Steven King movie adaptations (Carrie, Cujo, etc.) Maybe some Hellraiser, a bit of Tales from the Darkside, Tales from the Crypt, and The Twilight Zone, etc.

That'll desensitize him a bit.
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Old 03.11.2016, 23:48
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

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lol, i'm not that old.

I recommend sitting the kid down on a rainy weekend for a marathon of 80s horror - the Friday the 13th movies, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Steven King movie adaptations (Carrie, Cujo, etc.) Maybe some Hellraiser, a bit of Tales from the Darkside, Tales from the Crypt, and The Twilight Zone, etc.

That'll desensitize him a bit.
I can just imagine that in our house - my son would be the one having to look after me jibbering and whimpering in a corner after watching that lot...
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Old 03.11.2016, 23:54
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

My son is 10 and quite sensitive, and he LOVED Jurassic Park 1-3. He didn't get nightmares and found it great. Ditto with the Star Wars movies and Men in Black.

Note that he watched them with his father, note alone.
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Old 04.11.2016, 00:02
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

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lol, i'm not that old.
Not that I saw it in the original, but I remember this scene scaring the crap out of me as a kid:



Flying monkeys sent to be nasty to a dog was just about my pain threshold. The brooms in the Sorcerer's apprentice kind of got to me too, at about the same age.
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Old 06.11.2016, 11:56
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

My Google searches for some kind of official Swiss age statement led me here:

http://www.dvd-shop.ch/detail.php?products_id=93328

Which states "FSK" (mininum age) from 12 years. So it's actually more strict than the US PG-13 (with parents up to 13) - to address Tom's point.

In this case it is not a cinema, it's teachers in a school who I think should know better.

No, my son will not use the DVD etc without permission, but there are families where the children go off into their bedrooms to watch whatever. I realise it's not the Texas Chainsaw Massacre he got, but I still think they need to be a bit more careful with what the children are taking home.

Plus I find the attitude of the teachers to be somewhat arrogant on this topic in that they try to blame us for what we believe to be genuine concern.

Cheers,
Nick

Quote:
Agree with FunnyBone.

BTW, the film classification system for the UK is not really 'relevant' in Switzerland- where, as for most things:

In Switzerland film ratings are left to the country’s 26 cantons, with the result that in Geneva seven-year-olds can watch Colin Firth as a stammering George VI, but in Basel you have to be nine, in Bern ten – in both cases 12 if unaccompanied by an adult – and in Zurich no one under 12 is getting in at all (see box).

Fed up with what they consider an unnecessary confusion, ProCinema, the national association of cinema owners and film distributors, and the Swiss Video Association are behind the creation of a national film commission – set to open for business on July 1 – which will issue a one-age-fits-all rating across the country.

“Switzerland is too small for different ratings,” René Gerber, head of ProCinema, told swissinfo.ch. “There are other examples where the difference between cantons is bigger.”

In practice, there are five commissions – comprising members of police or education departments – for fixing age limits: in Geneva, Vaud, Zurich, Basel and Ticino. Smaller cantons generally follow their examples, although they are free to set their own ratings.

One exception is the Swiss capital Bern, where cinema owners set their own age limits – although this means they also accept responsibility if parents complain that their child needed five years of therapy after watching an unsuitable film.

“If you’re a distributor, currently you have to screen your movie in all these cantons that have commissions – so you screen it five times. If we had one commission, you’d have to screen it once. So it will be cheaper for the distributors,” Gerber said.
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Old 06.11.2016, 12:02
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

Actually, the Harry Potter books start off aimed at readers in the 8-9 age range and as you progress through the series the target age increases slightly.

Plus I draw a distinction between films and books. With a book, the reader has to mentally construct the world that the story takes place in. With a film, the viewer is passively having the scene played out for them.

In answer to Tom's point, yes we might consider letting him watch such a movie - with us around and nowhere near bedtime so he has time to "digest" the scenes.

My objection is simply that they allow a kid to bring home a film which - even by the Swiss classification standard - is not one that a child in the primary school would legally be able to go and watch. I realise that genuine mistakes can happen so annoyance is compounded by the attidude when we raise what is a genuine concern regarding the welfare of children in their care.

Rgds,
Nick

Quote:
Am I right in understanding that they wouldn't let him take away a Harry Potter book in German because it is pitched at 12+ but would let him come home with a DVD which is for 13+?

Their reasoning is a bit off - that you allowed him to read HP in English so apparently it's your fault.

Whatever they or you think, though, the movie rating is there for a reason and it's not up to the school to waive that arbitrarily.
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Old 06.11.2016, 12:06
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

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My Google searches for some kind of official Swiss age statement led me here:

http://www.dvd-shop.ch/detail.php?products_id=93328

Which states "FSK" (mininum age) from 12 years. So it's actually more strict than the US PG-13 (with parents up to 13) - to address Tom's point.

In this case it is not a cinema, it's teachers in a school who I think should know better.

No, my son will not use the DVD etc without permission, but there are families where the children go off into their bedrooms to watch whatever. I realise it's not the Texas Chainsaw Massacre he got, but I still think they need to be a bit more careful with what the children are taking home.

Plus I find the attitude of the teachers to be somewhat arrogant on this topic in that they try to blame us for what we believe to be genuine concern.

Cheers,
Nick

Nick, I agree with you. Teachers are responsible. They are in loco parentis.

To try and shift the "blame" to you is ludicrous. Someone dropped the ball, it sounded like, and now they are covering their arses.

If ever I need to show a technically age-inappropriate film (some Shaekspeare adaptations are pretty adult) then always send a permission / notification letter home with pertinent details so an informed decision can be made. Most parents usually consent, the occasional one does not. But there is no ill feeling etc.
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Old 06.11.2016, 12:10
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

Hard to say at age 9. I would be more worried if he were to bring home Drive!
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Old 06.11.2016, 13:23
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

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PG-13 means that kids under 13 should watch it with their parents, NOT that they shouldn't watch it.

Tom
At the cinema.

Children under thirteen are not allowed to rent or borrow PG-13 films - which is what happened in this case.

Books do not have an age rating.

It's a pretty clear distinction.

The teacher was wrong in this case and ought to apologise for their error.

To the OP: My eldest watched an age-inappropriate film on a friend's iPad when he was nine and had nightmares for months afterwards.
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Old 06.11.2016, 13:42
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

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Actually, the Harry Potter books start off aimed at readers in the 8-9 age range and as you progress through the series the target age increases slightly.
Yep, I know that books don't have an age limit but I was picking up on the point from your OP:

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They will not let him read Harry Potter (German version) as that is for 6th graders and up.
Which is where I found the school's attitude a bit weird. They enforce an age limit on books but not on DVDs.
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Old 06.11.2016, 20:21
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Re: Inappropriate DVD From School

I was a very advanced reader and after I had read out the whole library at my school around grade 5 (teachers were just glad I read in class in German lessons because I had already mastered the curriculum) I went after my parents bookshelf and read all of the greek mythologies and was enthralled with War and Peace. Years later, that made me the pet of my German teacher!

Although skipping a few pages when the generals talked about war tactics, I thought it was absolutely fantastic, shed some tears about Natashas and Pierres love story. There was also a heavy book about martyrs and saints which I devoured.

I even read an erotic novel which I found quite weird but interesting :-) Only years later I realized what it was about...
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