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.

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Comments

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!
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.