Sunday, June 29, 2008

PTA Video Store

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets*
A good friend of mine recently sent me a "virtual gift card" to a new site, the PTA Video Store. A portion of the proceeds goes toward the national PTA organization and all of the DVDs and instant downloads are rated either G, PG or PG-13. There is also a similar site, the Boys & Girls Club of America Video Store. HP is providing the services for both of them.

I ended up choosing two videos that have been my favorites since I was about eight, The Gods Must Be Crazy and the Princess Bride. I have close to a non-existent DVD collection, because I rarely ever watch movies more than once or twice. Those two movies are some of the few exceptions, in addition to Buckaroo Banzai, perhaps one of the best movies ever made. Really.

I find the notion of limiting the movie selection to PG-13 and below, to provide wholesome family entertainment, thought provoking. Growing up, starting at a very young age, I watched many movies that were rated R. My parents had no problems with my brother's and my seeing pretty much whatever we wanted. It wasn't until I was about 30 that I realized that I'd seen almost no horror movies, so it's really that my parents were effective in making us think we'd seen everything. Still, it seems to make sense for children to see such movies and perhaps learn a few things under the supervision of their parents, rather than with their peers. The same could be said for a lot of things other than movies, such as drinking.

I know that a lot of parents read my blog. What do you think? Do you or do you intend to limit what your kids watch?

*Incidently, this site rates my blog as R. That's good, because I don't want it to lose its incivility certification.


  1. We didn't have a TV at home when I was a child, so I didn't get a steady diet of media. The first actual movie that I saw that I remember (in a theater with a friend's family) was The Black Cauldron (PG) (the release date suggests I was about seven at the time) and I was badly traumatized.

    I guess I also remember a kid-appropriate movie afternoon at a summer camp but I don't remember what the movie was, except that I cringed and cried all the way through it.

    So yeah, limits please. But I don't know what - I guess kids differ? And ratings didn't cover (even a little bit) the stuff that bothered me.

  2. No TV for Naomi before she's two. After that, we'll see. We have all of Carla's old tapes from when James was a kid, so she'll probably start off on those. I'm not sure when she'll progress - it probably depends on what she's ready for when. I was freaked out by the first movie that I saw as a kid - some variation of the Black Stallion - we had to leave early. But I'd been watching TV before then and not bothered.

    I don't think she's going to get to watch The Sopranos for awhile, though...

    Good choice of movies on your part. We have The Princess Bride, too, and rented The Gods Must Be Crazy last year (did you get the one that has a documentary on the main character? Fascinating. Apparently after the sequel was made (which wasn't as good as the first, but was amusing), some cheesy film makers made two more for release in Hong Kong - but I don't think you can get them in North America, and they're supposed to be quite bad.

    Look out for Coke bottles.

  3. Hmmm. I knew we weren't watching horror
    movies (and wasn't much interested)...

  4. When I wrote the post, I was mostly thinking of things that parents don't want their children to see, rather than what might traumatize kids. Those two things generally aren't the same, although they could be. I'm guessing most parents worry about sex and violence, while there's no telling what will bother a child. Of all the things I saw when I was a kid , the one thing that was the most terrifying to me was a PBS Nova episode on UFOs.

  5. Interesting coincidence on this topic. 24 hours ago, a woman was telling me how she got fussed at by some colleagues for showing the animated Lord of the Rings to a bunch of kids, some of whom freaked out.

    12 hours ago I was reading a Salvadoran newspaper article about how there are children in San Salvador helping their parents sell porn (including real or pseudo child porn) on the streets (along with other pirated videos).

    Sorry I don't actually have any useful feedback for you on your question, though :)

    Nice blogs this week -- fun to catch up.

  6. Well, back in the dark ages when I was a kid in the sticks, we only got two TV channels, one of which was PBS, so our chances of seeing inappropriate content were pretty limited. In terms of movies, my parents didn't like anything that seemed gratuitous, but that left a lot of room for just about anything else in about any category you could imagine. In practice, that meant that I saw a lot of cool things that were well done (Hitchcock, etc), but kind of missed out on the things most people think of as big/goofy/scary pop culture moments. So I spent my college years catching up. :)

    As parents, we don't have cable, but we do watch the occasional kid DVDs (e.g. Totoro), and we love YouTube for the classic Sesame Street clips, plus the surprisingly large number of motorized street sweeper videos (which are very appealing to a toddler, although I don't get why so many grownups are producing these).