This subject has been blogged, chatted, and come up across the web, but I feel the need to cover it. Should there be age restrictions on books? My strong opinion is that there should be. Heck, until last July I had to escort my kid into the video game store to give him permission to buy Modern Warfare (he was 17), and had to go into the movies with the kids to see last The Fast and the Furious (he was 16). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all warfare, hot cars, sensual women, and foul language; Wreck it Ralph was the last movie we watched as a family, and surprisingly, they loved it. Undoubtedly because it was about gaming, had a zombie, and fast cars (even the Sugar Rush ones).
Back to the topic at hand. At any given point, I could say that I am not allowing my child to purchase a video game because of the language or violence. Heck, did you know there is a special award for best “panty shot.” I once sat at work, when I was an EMT, and listened to my employees talk about how hot this girl was; she was a game character…oh Lara Croft, you were young boy’s fantasies across the globe.
Then there is the subject of movies. I can get my kids into an R-rated movie, heck, if I really wanted, I could take the 5 yr old in. My neighbor once asked if she could take my boys with her son to see some horror movie (Jason or something to that likeness). She came back and apologized to high heaven. The movie had so much nudity, she said, “I felt like I just took my neighbors kids to see porn.” She was appalled and confessed that had she known, they would have never gone.
So we have rules about movies and video games. Why not books? Yeah, I know I pick on 50 Shades of Grey a lot, but because most of us know what it is. Yes, I’ve browsed the book, can’t say I finished it, never will. One, I felt it was poorly written, but second, I figured why take the time to read porn when it’s readily available all over television. My issue was when I walked into the local bookstore to find two teenage girls, maybe 14-16 yrs old, purchasing the book.
Teenage girl conversation:
Girl#1: Okay, call me when you get to the good parts
Girl#2: [so and so] said they talk about fisting
Girl#1: What’s that?
Girl#2: My boyfriend told me what it was, but I guess we’ll see
And my ears began to bleed and pretty sure my uterus prolapsed right then and there! Oh my goodness. And what does the cashier say to them, “Oh, this was such a great book!” Argh! Really, you’ll let teenage girls read about anal fisting, use of sexual torture, and mental sexual terrorism, but my kid can’t buy Modern Warfare or see The Fast and the Furious? Wow! Just wow! It’s all I got.
Some arguments are that kids should be able to read anything they want because it’s fostering … well, reading. Okay, so it’s alright for your teenage boy to read Hustler; for the articles of course. Is there really a difference between visual pornography and written pornography? I’d like to think the teenage mind would do a lot better job at creating a visual than many would think. And hey, I’m not bashing erotica or Harlequin no more than I’m bashing that wild sex scene in Twilight, I’m just saying, shouldn’t parents have a say in what their children read? No, NOT book banning! Just book on hold until they reach a level age, OR, parents must buy the book in the same way they must purchase a video game or theater ticket.
It’s not rocket science. I am all about literacy and encouraging young people to read, but come on, there are thousands of other books out there to purchase. And if you are okay with allowing your child to read something more provocative, violent, and with moderate language, then okay, just show your I.D. at the store. I’m not judging, only saying we should have more discretion.
All comments welcome, just keep them in perspective and intelligent. I love hearing great arguments.
Tania L Ramos, Author With PG-13 Books
Why is Be Still PG-13? It contains the subject matter of death, deals with personal demons which manifest as a psychological demon, and follows the progression of a man’s terminal illness. No moderate language, no sex scenes, and no violence.