My 12-year-old is begging to see a PG-13 movie. Should I let her go?

It depends on you, your kid, and the movie. Just because the MPAA has given a movie a PG-13 rating doesn't necessarily mean it's inappropriate for your 12-year-old. Check out the movie trailer, read detailed reviews (such as ours), talk to other parents, and consider what kind of content your kid will be exposed to.

Lots of PG-13 movies are pretty violent. In fact, a study in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that the amount of gun violence in PG-13 movies has more than tripled since the rating was introduced in 1985. The effects of media violence are difficult to measure, but most studies show that overexposure is bad for kids.

Young teens may be able to handle depictions of nongraphic violence, but all violence still should show consequences. Scenes of torture and gratuitous violence aren't age-appropriate. Think about what you feel comfortable with your kids seeing and what they can handle. Some parents are OK with some language and violence, but, for example, sex or nudity is where they draw the line.

Kids always want to push boundaries. It's OK to push back, and, in the end, you'll need to stand firm in your decision. Offer alternatives, such as renting or streaming other movies that are similar to the ones they want to see. (Check our movie recommendations for ideas.)

If they do see the movie, discuss it. Talking about scenes can help put them in context and provide a little more perspective. In the process, you'll be sharing your values, and your messages will come through.

Ask Our Experts
Was this answer helpful?
Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts

Comments

Teen, 14 years old written by MrMoviesGuy

I watched PG-13 movies way younger than 10 and I still watch them , there is movies based on kids shows like Transformers and it's considered PG-13. A PG-13 movie wouldn't have something extremely graphic like Django Unchained , there is some movies with bloody violence and is rated PG-13, There is movies that are PG-13 that are rated MA15+ in Australia (examples Taken and I Am Legend) Even PG-13 rated horror movies are rated 15 in the UK.
Kid, 10 years old

The rules of what movies I'm allowed to see go like this G or PG I'm allowed to see PG-13 means my dad has to check the movie out on this website and R = NO. But I'm not saying this is how you should raise your kid it depends on how mature your kid is make sure your kid knows that just because she saw someone shoot somebody in a movie doesn't mean she should go out and shoot someone in real life because every kid's maturity level differs i have a friend who's not allowed to see any PG-13 movies not even the new Star Wars movie!
Kid, 9 years old

yes, just make sure you cover her eyes when it gets extremely sexual/violent
Teen, 13 years old written by savannah17151

ok i was aloud to watch all pg-13 movies when i was 10-11 so all of them but some where a little to scary so my parents would fast ford some parts i am now aloud to watch most movies i am a allowed to watch all movies when i am 14-16 but it is up to you and i think she should be able to watch all pg-13 movies
Teen, 14 years old written by Buffy Rules

I know that there's a quite violent PG-13 movie out there, the hit movie Jurassic World and the Jurassic Park franchise in general. NUMBER ONE (Jurassic Park): A severed arm drops on a lady, a Jeep rocks as shadowy footage of a dinosaur mauling a man is shown, a man is shaken dead in a dinosaur's mouth after being picked up from a toilet and there's a boy electrocuted on a fence. NUMBER TWO (The Lost World: Jurassic Park): I reckon this one was just as violent. A little girl is eaten off-screen by dinosaurs, the thought is a bit creepy. But a man is attacked at the top of a waterfall, a lot of blood rushes down. A man (I know, in shadow) is ripped in half by two dinosaurs, blood runs down a river stream from another dinosaur-on-man attack and a severed arm is on a steering wheel. NUMBER THREE (Jurassic Park III): A boat is shown bloody from previous attacks, but even worse, a dinosaur picks up a man and the plane hits them (it cuts away), but a lot of blood splatters on the windshield. A skeleton with remnants of flesh is shown scaring a woman. A man is punched, not that intense. A dinosaur skewers a man through the back, and a man is attacked by dinosaurs in water. And finally: NUMBER FOUR (Jurassic World): This is simply the most violent Jurassic Park movie ever made. A man in a dinosaur's mouth, some blood. A man sitting down has his entire torso bitten by a dinosaur. A whole theme park of people are thrown around by dinosaurs, some eaten, a woman is dragged through water. Blood drips from a tree down onto a man's hand. A dinosaur crushes a man in it's hand. Even worse, an attack through leaves, even though the body is barely visible, there's a lot of blood splatter going through the trees. Also a man is dragged away by a dinosaur, blood on his chest and torso, a man's hand is covered in blood and hits a window, a dinosaur even bites a man's hand and we pan to a lot of blood splattering onto a glass panel. In conclusion, this stuff is plenty graphic for a PG-13, so it's a lesson learned to sometimes be cautious for younger children, as it can get bloody in some movies like this. (Even the PG-rated Jaws!) Click my username for my Jaws review.
Adult written by Rubenpao

Yes let her, my sister is 7 and she watched all the pg-13 and R movies because she knows that it's just a movie and it's fake.
Kid, 11 years old

its ok for a twelve year old to watch PG-13 movies it just depends what the movie is about. you should search the movie up on imdb there is a section called parents guide so you can see whats in the movie.
Teen, 14 years old written by DragoRyu

When I was 10, I had already started watching PG 13 movies. If your child is 12, it is fine, it is even better if you let someone (grown up) or you go with her. Because some PG 13 have some really bas stuff in it, at least the grown up can explain to your child it is wrong. Hope this helped.
Kid, 11 years old

I have seen about 10 pg-13 movies, all for science fiction violence. I can handle that. Maybe your kid can't. You should talk to him/ her about the content and whether she/he is ready. After the movie you should talk about it.
Teen, 14 years old written by PieIsLovePieIsLife

Yes most PG-13 films can be handled by 12 year olds i to be honest i saw the matrix at age 8. But what is the film? PG-13 doesn't mean kids under 13 shouldn't be seeing it. But they aren't aloud to go in the theatre alone they most likely could handle the move if they're 12 and it's rated PG-13.
Teen, 14 years old written by Buffy Rules

I saw The Matrix at 11... seriously, zero sex or nudity (Keanu Reeves is nude but privates are blocked by water), moderate violence that would fit in PG-13 and language that could easily fit there. The most gratuitous R next to The King's Speech.
Teen, 15 years old written by eazy__breezy

It really depends on the film. For instance, a PG-13 movie like Courageous is appropriate for really little kids, but something like the hunger games or the ring probably is best for teens. Always research the movie first, like even some R rated movies are okay for younger kids
Kid, 10 years old

Here's what I would say Sex: As long as it's nor crude or hard to explain, yes. Nudity: Mostly. Violence: Most violence, but screen the movie beforehand just in case. Profanity/Insults: Yes, always. Drug Use: This depends, for drug references (As in a verbal reference) yes, if people are actually shown doing drugs ask yourself two questions, What type of drug is used in the film? Will my kid copy it? Crude/Crass jokes/humor: Yes, unless it's very offensive. Disturbing/Intense Content: Sometimes, either do some research or watch it beforehand
Teen, 14 years old written by Buffy Rules

I saw Coming to America (rated R by the MPAA) and the slaves were naked, but being a TV version, it strangely kept the nudity in but replaced the F words. As for drug use, there's a scene in Anchorman 2 where they clearly have cocaine on their hands but when it isn't shown, they are shown high, implying they had taken it live on air. Is that the type? Besides, a kid would not copy it. Cocaine is very expensive and unhealthy and therefore someone would be foolish to try it.
Teen, 13 years old written by emilee.madison

I'm 12, turning 13 march 28th, and I have seen so many PG-13 movies. I have seen; if I stay, the fault in our stars, divergent, and a lot more but I'm just going to give a few examples. My opinion, is that if you watch the trailer and it looks appropriate, then let your kids watch it. if it just shows a few kissing scenes, its not bad but if you see killing and violence, then its all up to you. your kids actually might actually like that kind of stuff. it all depends on the movie!
Teen, 14 years old written by Buffy Rules

PG-13 movies I've seen include: Anchorman 1 + 2, Captain Phillips, Casino Royale (007), Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, The Day After Tomorrow, Edge of Tomorrow, I, Robot, The Simpsons Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Terminator: Genisys, Transformers (my first one), War of the Worlds and more. As for R movies, I've seen 21 + 22 Jump Street, The Blues Brothers, The Breakfast Club, Coming to America, Love Actually, Paul, The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and some others. Please click my username for reviews.
Kid, 12 years old

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ever since I saw snow white and the huntsmen at age 9, i have loved violent movies! If you are looking for movies, i recommend the terminator (rated R) and live die repeat (rated pg-13) and alien (rated R) and star trek (rated tv-pg)
Kid, 11 years old

It depends on the movie and your kid . Some movies absolutely not but others sure. Just because it's pg13 dosent mean it's inappropriate. Do your research on the movie . Maybe use common Sense media . Some movies are not appropriate and they are pg13
Kid, 12 years old

Do the research. Honestly, it just comes down to knowing your child. My dad allows me to watch most PG-13 movies I ask to see (granted, I see most movies with him, but I am free to watch them without him, I just like watching movies with my dad) because he trusts my judgment If your child has a history of making good decisions then ask him/her to look it up online and think about it. If you don't trust your child to make the right choice, research it for yourself (use 3+ sources, many are biased) and if you are still unsure, see it for yourself.
Kid, 12 years old

Harry Potter was PG-13. I suggest that you let her go but maybe you should check what movie she is going to see. Watch the trailer. It will give you an insight of what your child wants to see. I am 12, and my Parents let me watch certain PG-13 movies. Look out for some reviews and ratings. They will tell you more about the movie.There is also Common Sense Media! Look up the Movie.
Teen, 14 years old written by Buffy Rules

Harry Potter, from the Goblet of Fire onward, was PG-13. Half-Blood Prince was strangely PG. Here, we've got a teen boy's arm severed in shadow, a teen boy's arm cut by a knife, a teen boy shocked with electricity, an elf stabbed through the chest with a knife, a teen boy with a nasty spell put on him spreading blood over the clothing (this is from the Half-Blood Prince, which was PG), a snake attacking a woman, and also (in the PG-rated Half-Blood Prince) a teen girl mysteriously floating in the air and some sort of zombies. So pretty violent for a PG, which is why it became PG-13.
Kid, 11 years old

I saw my first PG-13 movie when I was seven and I have seen one R rated movie so I would do it
Teen, 14 years old written by eazy__breezy

Yea let her watch it. Pg-13 movies are usually not that bad. Just look up reviews for the movie before hand.
Kid, 12 years old

Depends on the movie. PG-13 can mean anything from Deathly Hallows and The Hunger Games to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Parent written by katmom

My 10 year old has seen a handful of PG-13 movies. That said-- I also say no plenty of times, too. Common sense media has been great to help figure out what content in the movie is causing the PG13 rating. If I decide it's acceptable (or mostly acceptable), we always watch them at home together. That way I can fast forward any content that is not acceptable, and we can talk about the movie right away.
Parent written by Suksan10

Oh wow, parents should be more responsible about letting their kids watch PG13 or R movies. Of course children will beg to watch them. They don't have the same common sense some adults have.
Teen, 13 years old written by Detailed Kid Reviews

it's really about the kids (as people have said) I have only seen 1 R rated movie but I've played games like Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider and The Evil Within. Gore doesn't bother me or make me feel uncomfortable, but sex and nudity does
Kid, 12 years old

Really depends on the movie. I'm 12 and my dad took me to see Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13) and I was surprised by the amount of swears.
written by Jimmy brew

If theirs a movie that you're kid wants to see that's PG-13. Check the age appropriate review on this website then decide
Kid, 11 years old

Well yeah this is fine I've seen the hunger games, catching fire, divergent, the fault in our stars etc. and im only 11 :/
Kid, 12 years old

This is definitely a controversial subject. I think that it definitely depends on your child. When I was almost 6, my dad took me to see "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", as I saw all the other Indiana Jones movies at the time. All 4 movies have tons of violence, and even a fair amount of gore. I remember in "Temple of Doom" watching the man's heart get ripped out and get burned alive. I was absolutely terrified, but not traumatized. A couple days later, I saw it again just fine. I am a very mature child and for whatever reason can handle such imagery. Last year, I saw "Through the Never" full of plenty of violence, blood, fire, and blasting Metallica music. Overall, like previously stated, it all depends on how mature your child is.
Teen, 14 years old written by Buffy Rules

I LOVED Through the Never, because I am a huge Metallica fan. I think it counts more as a concert film but personally I don't think it was too bad. Sure, there was a car crash filmed from the inside (no blood, gore or injury on the protagonist, minimal blood on the other), there may have been hints of blood but the riot stuff honestly wasn't that bad. As for Indiana Jones... classics. (I admit I've only seen the first two.)
Teen, 13 years old written by TheMarine

I'm 13 I don't need my parents to tell me my boundaries. I matured really fast. Both psychically and mentally. I now want scares me and want doesn't. I'm finf watching r movies. I play shooting games a lot. The fact that video games and tv desensitized my gen is true in some cases but I don't need that to desensitize me. I can count on Sasha for that.
Kid, 12 years old

hello, I am 12 years old and my parents sometimes struggle with deciding this.... for example I went to see guardians of the galaxy with my dad over the weekend and it was pretty violent, and had some swears. But I was not disturbed, and my dad loved it. however my little sister is 10 and mature for her age, and would be appalled. So I guess it depends on your kid, ask them what they don't or do want a movie to have and such.
Kid, 12 years old

As a 12 year old I am allowed to watch these films, I watch M movies too but I don't watch any with gore, horror themed like the conjuring because they still scare me. Depending how mature your kid is, also depends on what movie it is.
Teen, 14 years old written by Buffy Rules

I haven't seen The Conjuring, but that's MA15+. I've watched plenty that are M, my first on DVD/Blu-ray being Transformers (aged six), my first in the cinemas The Avengers (aged eleven) and also Maleficent was rated M here strangely, although PG in the States.
Kid, 10 years old

I watch slot of pg-13 movies and my mom lets me watch a lot of rated r movies. That is up with u I think it would be fine it would depend on what movie it is.
Kid, 12 years old

I'm 12 and i have seen tons of PG-13 movies. I really don't think it's the age that matters, it's the maturity level. I act like a 16 year old. Everyone tells me my maturity level is to high for my own good. I have seen a few rated R movies but only like 3. I have seen TFIOS (the fault in our stars), divergent, the call, and many others.
Kid, 11 years old

It depends on the movie. My mum trusts me to search for good movies and I check age ratings, trailers and reviews.
Kid, 12 years old

I'm 12 and I've seen some PG-13 movies, it really depends on the movie. The 4th Harry Potter movie was PG-13 and I wasn't that bad (the end maybe). But mom won't let me see Divergent and that is PG-13.