With the ever growing online and gaming generation, are age restrictions really stopping children from viewing content deemed inappropriate for ‘young’ eyes?
Just as we expect to be asked for identification when buying alcohol (for those of us who look young enough anyway), and a 12 year-old not being let in to an 18 film at the cinema; we expect our children to be shown age appropriate material in schools.
This is exactly what Mrs Bourne expected when she sent her son Douglas to school, but this sadly was not the case. Whilst at school 13 year-old Douglas and his class mates were shown the infamous ‘shower curtain’ scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
The scene, which left Douglas frightened and physically sick, was shown to the class without any parental consent. The Comberton Village College in Cambridgeshire has since made an official apology to parents which Mrs Bourne was happy to accept.
The problem here is that the film is certified 15 for a reason and the school completely disregarded this and showed it to a class of 13 year-olds. It poses the question as to how much attention people pay to age restrictions.
Young people have access to a whole world of content via the internet. As much as some may try, we cannot keep our youth away from everything that might be classed as inappropriate. Popular culture is much to blame. Some video games are violent and usually have an 18 certificate yet due to their popularity, youngsters are getting their hands on them.
Have age restrictions become more of a guide? A warning that there could be material that is unsuitable for some ages but you can show them if you want? Do we still need age restrictions? Should we protect the youth from graphic scenes and violence? Or should we accept that children are growing up at a much faster rate than we did?
In short, age restrictions are given for a reason and that reason is to protect the young from things that they should not be exposed to until a more appropriate age. This should be taken seriously, especially in influential environments such as schools and colleges (or at the very least parental consent should be given).