At what age would you let your child watch a 15-rated movie?

Would you let your child watch a 15-rated movie at a younger age? We asked 1,427 parents what they thought, plus got expert advice from a child psychologist

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In a nutshell: 15 is the age most parents said they’d let their child watch a 15-rated movie (we polled 1,427 people).

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Once your kids get a bit older, they often like to push the boundaries a bit – seeing if they can do things their older friends or siblings, do, for example. 

And we reckon watching more grown-up TV shows and movies is just one way they try to do that.

We all know movies have various ratings, but are you the type of parent who’d stick to those guidelines religiously?

Or do you think there can be some bending of the rules now and again depending on exactly which film your child wants to watch?

What does a 15-rated move include?

According to advice from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), a 15-rated movie may include (though not necessarily):

  • nudity – there are no constraints to nudity in an educational or non-sexual way
  • sex – it can be portrayed but not in ‘strong detail’
  • drugs – drug taking can be shown but shouldn’t be done in a promotional way
  • violence – violence can be shown but should not dwell on the injury. Very strong or gory images are unlikely to be acceptable under the 15-rated classification.

You can find a full rundown of what can be included in a 15-rated film on the BBFC website.

What do parents say?

When we asked 1,427 parents at what age they’d let their child watch a 15-rated movie, the most popular answers were:

  • 15 (45%)
  • Over 12 (32%)
  • Not sure (7%)
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When we probed further, lots said it would depend on the individual film, and a few cited specifically sexual and violent content as well as bad language as something they’d be watching out for.

Though others were totally clear cut in their thinking, with one saying: “They are 15 for a reason.”

One respondent admitted they’re not even sure they’re happy with their 15-year-old watching 15 movies, saying: “She’s 15 now and I’m still not really OK with some of the content.”

Here are some of the keywords that came up when we asked parents about this topic…

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What does the expert say?

We spoke to Educational Psychologist Naomi Burgess about film ratings an she agreed with lots of our parents that ratings are there for a reason.

If you are going to let your child watch a film that’s a bit older for them, she advises watching with them (which lots of parents said they definitely would) and at the end ask the if they have any questions about it.

She adds: “When choosing what your child watches, the most important thing is to know them well because you want to protect them in the best way you can – and no 2 children have the same sensitivities, even if they are in the same family.”

What do you think?

Do you think you’ll let your child watch a 15-rated movie before they’re that age? Perhaps you think it depends on the movie – or the maturity of the child?

Tell us in the comments below, on Instagram, Twitter or over on Facebook.

Image: Getty Images

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