A woman I grew up with sent me the following picture of a notice she saw posted at the Quail Springs Mall AMC movie theater. For those of you who don't know where this is, it's in northern Oklahoma City.
There are so many things wrong with this sign. Let's start with the small problems. Nice grammar. I'm wondering if the powers that be did it intentionally so that people would think someone low on the totem pole posted this sign.
Second, it's usually not the children but the adults who are so distracting. The people who leave their cell phones on and have long conversations IN THE THEATER if someone calls them. The people who text in the middle of the movie. Yes, your light is distracting. The people who decide to take forever getting their candy out of the plastic wrapper because they're trying to be quiet. You're not! Rip it open and let us get back to the movie! The people who want to discuss the movie during the movie using their outside voices. I vote that we have ushers who escort any of these people out if it happens more than once during a film.
Third, they mention a 6:00 cut off. You can't imagine how many times I've been to the movies after 10:00 p.m. and seen people there with young children, some even school age...on school nights!!! Teachers, if you ever wonder why Johnny or Janey can't pay attention in class and has trouble staying awake you might want to check out the local theater the night before. I strongly believe the theaters should take some initiative in protecting these kids from their not-so-bright parents. If the movie a child is taken to will be showing after 8:00 p.m. no children should be allowed. I know this wouldn't be popular with some parents but it's one thing to mess up your own mind. Give your children a chance to develop theirs.
Fourth, please note the following paragraph borrowed from the Motion Picture Association of America website:
R — Restricted. Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian. An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion pictures in determining their suitability for their children. Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.
If the people who rate the movies feel that they are not appropriate for a child 17 or under then why should being accompanied by an adult make a difference? What on earth do they think the adult is going to be able to do if the movie terrorizes said child and gives them nightmares. I can see how you'd sit back and say, "That's the responsibility of the parents. If they allow it, they can deal with it." What ever happened to protecting our children!!! It's bad enough that children go behind their parents' back, like I did, and read violent/scary/sexually explicit books and watch the same type movies. We don't need theaters encouraging the furthering of that type of "education". I will be the first to say that these affected my way of thinking. And I have a cousin who, as a pre-teen/teenager got so in to movies he watched they sometimes carried over in to real life for him. They just took over his way of thinking for a while. Do you really want to encourage that? I do NOT want any generation of children to grow up numb to violence, horror, cursing and sex. And, let's be honest here. How many theaters actually card teenagers who try to get in to R-Rated movies?
I made the mistake of showing P.T. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video before she was ready to see things like that. It stuck with her for a long time after and she had nightmares because of it. I know some of you may think this is crazy because you feel the video isn't so bad. It isn't crazy if her parent had protected her from the TV shows/movies that would have gotten her used to that kind of video. I could have kicked myself for scaring her like that but I was thrilled to discover that it did, indeed, scare her. I think that makes sense. And yes, it did get turned off the minute she voiced her discomfort. And yes, my sister had a word or two to say to me for scaring P.T. Good for her!
And fifth and finally, what kind of irresponsible parent/movie theater is allowing children 6 years old and younger in R-rated movies?!!! Do you not get that the first few years are the most important for a child? These are the years that begin to shape who they are. Anyone who has young children knows that they are little tape recorders. They remember EVERYTHING they see and hear. EVERYTHING!!! Don't believe me? Say something bad within their hearing about an adult they know then sit back and watch the fun. It will be mentioned at some point in time to that adult or someone close to them. No, the child is not repeating things out of malice. They're repeating things because their parent said it so it must be okay.
In case you were wondering, no, I don't have children. Then why I am arguing so vehemently for them? Because it would break my heart if the child of someone I know was affected by the numbness these movies/TV shows cause. There are enough people in the world who don't think twice about maiming/raping/murdering someone without adding to those numbers. You think I'm overreacting? Go talk to the parents of children who've intentionally killed other children. I've noticed that in a lot of the interviews the parent was completely shocked that their child had been planning these deeds for a long time. Why? Why weren't you there? Why didn't you know? What happened in their lives that made them okay with hurting other people?
So no, AMC (or any other theater for that matter), you cannot control what happens outside your business but you darn well can control what happens inside. Shame on you for hurting our children and encouraging their reckless parents. Go home and hug your kids and pray they get through another night with only good, innocent dreams. Let them wait until they're much older to decide whether or not to allow anything worse in. You owe it to them.