Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Parenting Series (1/5) - How to find out if a Movie is Appropriate for a Child?

Children undesirable emotions - while watching age inappropriate movie

When the movie Gravity, released (Bangalore, India), I was quite excited, because I had liked the movie trailer & I am fond of space, science-fiction movies.  We planned a family outing to catch up with the movie. Our son, was then FIVE Years old. Through the movie, my wife & me, where taking turns to explain our son some parts of the story so that he could follow the story. During the course of the movie, he seemed to be quite engrossed into the movie & seemed to be enjoying it.

In the days to come, it dawned upon us that the movie had left behind a deep imprint on his mind. During our casual conversations, he would frequently talk about certain scenes like dead astronaut floating in the space, blasts, the protagonist drifting & floating away into the space to be lost forever. At night, when he was about to sleep, he would suddenly become alert & tell us "the images of the dead astronaut is coming in his mind". He will express he is feeling scared & we had to counsel him by reassuring him about our presence. 

The intensity & frequency of his fright, gradually faded away....but it quite a long drawn process. It took about 3-4 months, for him to completely come out of this issue.

This episode was an eye opener for me as a parent & I realised the importance of doing my homework on the media content before subjecting it to our children. After all children are vulnerable to explicit & age-inappropriate media content.

My approach towards parenting has always been cautious & I am quite conscious about parenting best practices. This is what made me to introspect, how I overlooked the movie's appropriateness from a child's perspective.

I realised in our country, the film certification is quite vague & broad. We have only three categories: U, A & UA.
U certificate means, it is appropriate for all age group.
UA certificate means, 14 years onwards can watch it (under parental guidance).
A certificate means, restricted only for adults.

In fact, I wasn't aware of UA being applicable 14 years & above. Only when I did my search online, I came across this definition. 

Also, till date I haven't experienced myself nor I have seen someone being stopped at our multiplexes, theaters, if they have a child under 14 years of age, for a movie with UA certification. 

When this lacuna of our exhibitors & our certification board dawned into me, I realised we as parents have to be pro-active, well-informed & thoughtful, after all parenting is our duty.

Next time around, when Amazing Spiderman 2 & Jurassic World were releasing in India, I watched the trailers on Youtube. It did appear to me these movies were leaning towards violence, especially for my son 6 years of age. But the certificate given to the movies, didn't restrict it only for adults (if I recollect it was possibly U or UA rating). As far as I remember, ironically these movies were being advertised on Children's channel (like Cartoon Network etc).  

I then did a Google search, to find out the certification given to these movies in UK, USA & Australia. To my surprise, the certification on these countries where lot more specific & they did indicate Parental Guidance, mentioned specifically it is not suitable for children below 12 years of age & provided narratives of the inappropriate contents.

Upon further search, I came across few very useful movie review sites, which were running by posts contributed by parents. It was nice to come across these review sites, which were unbiased & written from a parent's perspective. 

I am listing down these reference sites, which will be helpful for other parents, when they want to do their homework on the movie's appropriateness for their children:

  • British Board of Film Classification - www.bbfc.co.uk 
  • Motion Pictures Association of America - www.filmratings.com
  • Australian Classification for Media - www.classification.gov.au
  • Reviews by parents community - www.commonsense.org
  • Reviews by parents community - www.parentalguide.org
  • Reviews by parents community - www.raisingchildren.net.au
  • Reviews by parents community - www.boxofficemom.com
  • Reviews by parents community - www.kids-in-mind.com
The question which remains unaddressed is - What about Indian movies? (all the above websites cater to English movies).

From my search, I haven't come across such review sites catering to Indian movies. So till a Samaritan puts up such a website catering to Indian movies, we as parents need to use our own judgement & do our homework, to decide on what's appropriate for our children. 

I have noticed many Action movies (for e.g. Singham) is being advertised on Cartoon Network & these are being promoted to children through these channels. It's unfortunate that there is no strict regulation in place from the broadcaster's side nor parents are stopped by the exhibitors, if they bring along their children to UA certified movies. 

However , with little bit of thoughtfulness, it should be easy for a parent to make an informed decision for evaluating the movie's appropriateness for their children.

The checklist for evaluation are as follows:
  • Theme of the movie
  • Type of message (Positive/Negative)
  • Protagonist/Role model (Positive/Negative)
  • Sex & Nudity content
  • Violent/Gore/Disturbing content
  • Crude or Profane language
  • Drug & Alcohol content
  • Consumerism/Products (movies do tactfully promote products, lifestyle which can mislead the children)
In today's world, with internet connectivity, smart phones & media explosion, our children are being exposed to all kind of contents. Sometimes, I feel our children are being robbed off from their innocence. It may not be practical (& not necessary too), for us to insulate them completely. All we need to do is to be little mindful & do our little bit as parents for keeping their childhood & innocence alive.

Happy Parenting!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Just for Laughs: Global English Localised :-)

In our time, English is considered a global language for business/official communication, across various continents & countries.

English not being the native language for many countries, the localised English on several instances can be perceived quite hilarious.

I am sure many of us come across such funny instances in your normal daily lives & they bring us a smile & gives a momentary break to the monotony.

I have captured some of these JUST FOR LAUGHS - GLOBAL ENGLISH LOCALISED :-) with my camera. Spreading these Smiles with all of you, through my blogpost......

Requesting you to share your captured moments of Global English Localised, @ abhishek.pharmacist@gmail.com , it will be published with your credit. Let's jointly spread the Smiles :)

#1 How does one Slip carefully? ;)

#2 How about Cold Tips? ;)

#3 What's in a Name? :)

#4 Not a Child's Play ;)
#5 Consequences pays ;)

#6 Whatever it means!

#7 Telegraphic message, why bother of grammar ;)

#8 Linking the Links ;)

#9 Naval Officer's Navel ;)
#10 No Moves please!

#11 Rolling Down

#12 Rolling Up

#13 Export-Import

#14 Wish you a Careful Slip ;) 

#15 How about the Backward <<

#16 No Entry is now passe

#17 How about some Rude Tips? :)

#18 Every action has an equal an opposite reaction

#19 Temporarily Out of Service!

#20 Emergency! Don't waste time in reading :)

#21 Securing the Valuables ;)

#22 Let's have food...why waste time!

#23 Early education

#24 Don't Point Fingers!

#25 Use your own Imagination :)

#26 The curious case of missing F

#27 Alphabet V shown the Door!

#28 Heights of Free Gifts!

#29 Photo finish

#30 Shaheed - Martyr (literally) 
#31 Quite Rightly spelled - Please HEAR!

#32 The curious case of missing alphabets

#33 Butter Ki #@!**

#34 Lemon se Lemen Tak...

#35 Tea for Mam, while playing Cards?

#36 Da Vinci Code

#37 Tailoring Innovation :)

#38 English Scholar?

#39 Launch pad!

#40 Da Vinci Code :)

#41 Phonetically it is still right :)

#42 Yes, next time I will Visit again

#43 Chemical locha!

#44 Give us a break please! :-)

#45 Congrations students!

#46 Indeed Lovely!

#47 Vanishing act of the Stobre :)

#48 It happens only in India

#49 Tiger Mom version 2

#50 Oops! no comments :)

#51 Time machine restaurant :)

#52 Chai pe charcha :)

#53 Animal rights activists, on their way :)

#54 Indeed Royal!

#38 to #54 - shared by Sagar Kalantre

#55 Time management ;)

#56 Suspense till the very end

#57 Farm Fresh ;)

#58 * Star studded *

#59 Right!

#60 What's in a name!

#61 Flushed away

#62 Identity crisis
#63 New category