Let's say at 7-10 years old or so. I remember hearing about kids that weren't allowed to watch GI Joe or things like that and I always thought it was weird. On the other hand I went to see PG-13 movies when I was like 6 but was probably 11 or so before R-rated stuff could be on without my parent shutting it off. Adjust it for a similar level of video game rating if that is a better touchstone.
Things I wasn't allowed to watch as a kid: Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy, the Simpsons, or any R-rated movie.
Basically, mom didn't want me to be overly scarred by something, but more importantly, she didn't want me to repeat anything embarrassing or politically incorrect at school. I went to a religious private school, though, so I'm sure that played a part in that.
When I was a kid there was only G, PG, and R. We could not see PG movie without a parent until we were 10. I think once I was 11 or 12 I was allowed to go to R rated movies with my parents or older adults. My parents were strict for such things only until we were around 12 years old, then no so much.
I had three experiences where I thought to myself, "Gosh, I probably should not have seen this!"
Excalibur (1981) around age 11 the movie was PG but there was a fair amount of nudity.
Summer Lovers (1982) Age 12, holy crap there was a lot of nudity in that.
Revenge of The Nerds (1984) - Age 14, I was more embarrassed to see so much full frontal nudity with my Dad.
It was largely on a case by case basis, but i definitely played (or tried to play, i don’t know if i got past level 1) Duke Nukem 2, before i could read... which it turned out was a good thing because some of the text in that game is rather strongly worded. My parents knew something was no good about that game but never stopped me. It was on my grandfathers old DOS computer which now makes me wonder why the hell he had a copy of Duke 2.
I also snuck in a viewing of saving private ryan when i was under 10 because my older brother and his friends were watching and i just watched over their shoulder while the parents weren’t around.
I turned out ok i guess though!
I remember when I asked my mom if it was okay for me to buy Jak 2, since it was rated T-for-Teen. She asked me "why is it only for teens?" I read the back "teen criteria:"
Comic Mischief, Mild Language, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes
She then asked if I thought I shouldn't play it. I thought about it for a second and said "no." She then brushed off the rating and said, "well there you go." I had considered that there may be some things in the game that may be inappropriate for my age, but giving it that extra thought alone helped me be ready for that kind of content (in a sense).
Something about that experience stuck with me. This little interaction taught me at a young age to think critically about the intention of information and warnings, rather than just taking everything at face value, and to consider my own evaluation of situations as well. Just a simple interaction.
Giving agency to kids in certain situations can be extremely effective for their learning and maturity.
I could watch most things unless there was pretty gratuitous sex in them. I wasn't allowed in the room while The Sopranos or Sex in the City were on, so The Wire was my show (I was probably one of the only 12 year olds on the planet obsessed with The Wire). True Lies was allowed with the caveat the hotel room scene be fast-forwarded, which made it a white whale of mine for at least a year before I finally snuck a viewing late at night on the basement TV. I remember some people in my family having an adverse reaction to Grand Theft Auto III, but I also remember bringing it over for Christmas and everyone from age 8 to age 70 huddled around the television giving their opinion. That's just how most people in my family behaved back then; they'd complain about how a kid was too young to be seeing or doing something as they watched the kid see or do it. Sex was always an extremely controversial subject, though. I'm nearly 30 and I think my mom still imagines I've never seen the sex scenes in Monster's Ball or Desperado, let alone actual pornography.
I was allowed to watch Us and PGs at the cinema, but we didn’t have TV at home until I was 10, so I didn’t really watch kids cartoons. By the time we had a TV and I could chose what I watched, I was into gritty teen dramas like Grange Hill and Byker Grove. I think my mum would have preferred me to watch Blue Peter, but then again she didn’t let me go on it when I had the chance, so who knows.
I wasn't really into R rated movies or M rated games as a kid, so I don't really remember much being barred from me that I actually wanted to see. I do remember my Grandma stopping me and my friend from going to see one of the Austin Powers movies though, but she's a bit more puritanical than my parents. The fact that we watched The Simpsons together as a family is probably a pretty good gauge of what would have been acceptable.
There was one time where my mom rented Monty Python's: The Meaning of Life for me and the clerk warned her about it being raunchy. She said it was fine, since I watch SNL, but I don't think she was aware of how much nudity was in it.
I'm sure R-rated films were out but most PG-13 films were fine but I really don't remember. Only thing I know I was banned from watching was Ren and Stimpy, didn't know why at the time. A few years ago I rewatched Rocko's Modern Life (probably my favorite Nickelodeon show from that period) and I'm surprised I was allowed to watch it.
Oh man it was so annoying. My parents followed the ratings guidelines to the letter. No tv-Y7 until I was 7. No PG-13 or T games until I was 13. I never even really saw much "real" tv outside of the family networks until I was 14 or 15. Thankfully I was able to get them to crack on R and M a few years before I was 18.
I was not really allowed to watch really violent stuff as a kid but I had a TV in my room from an early age. It was a really shitty TV, like one of those really old vintage ones with the big knob and buttons on the side of the screen. I only had access to like 3 or 4 channels but I remember there was a way you could tune it to get scrambled quality of some channels where they would show horror and action movies at night, so I would stay up and watch that. The quality was close to unwatchable but at that age it was fascinating. I think the only movie I can remember that seriously freaked me out was RoboCop. I must have watched it on TV when I was like 9 or 10.
When it came to games my parents were kind of clueless about them so I don't think they had any idea what I was playing. My dad would subscribe to a bunch of PC magazines and some of the discs included would have demos of games like GTA, Soldier of Fortune, Half-Life, Operation Flashpoint, Quake 3, Diablo 1-2 etc. So I was playing those when I was around 9-10. I remember asking them for GTA 2 on the PS1 for Christmas when I was like 10 and they never bothered to check the label or what it even was.
As for how I turned out, well... I don't think it had much to do with the sort of media I was exposed to in any case.
I don’t remember much in terms of television or movies since I spent too much time watching DBZ. In terms of games they were always pretty chill since I have an older brother who would buy games.
I did get a stern talking to when I brought a PS2 and a copy of GTA: Vice City with me on an out of town hockey tournament. My friends and I were used to that type of game but I didn’t realize that the other kids on my team weren’t so looking back it was pretty funny.
No limits, my dad likes action movies so i saw it all as a kid, and there wasn't anything in games that was worse than in the movies.
In some ways i was my own filter for adult content, i was scared by the opening of Scream which put me off watching most horror, horror as a genre hasn't ever really done anything for me so i didn't want to see many gory films, i've always been put off by sex in movies, i really don't want to watch random people boning especially if other people are in the room, films like American Pie are the lowest form of entertainment, i've always liked stylish action over simple violence leading me to friendlier material like martial arts films, John Woo etc...Didn't really need much parenting.
I developed my taste in music kind of late, i had an older sister growing up so i was exposed only to boy bands and love songs until i was 11 when friends introduced me to rock/metal music, and Eminem was all over every music channel leading to a very very brief period where i liked rap music, i begged my mother for games and music meant for mature audiences and it was never an issue, she'd comment on the "Explicit Lyrics" stickers but i usually listened with headphones on to avoid being embarrassed so they never heard it.
I think i'm a really polite and calm person, was never grounded or punished as a kid really, so i don't think listening to heavy swearing and watching people punch each other to death and other forms of murder for most of my entire life has had any affect on me. No tattoos, no alcohol, no drugs, no religion.
It was much more of a case-by-case thing. The rating was less important than the content/context.
Most adult content was off the table, but not absolutely everything. For example, Sleepy Hollow was an R movie I saw with my parents' blessing when I was maybe 11 or 12.
My dad didn't give a shit, but my mom hated just about everything that was even remotely violent or sexual. Hell, she hated some stuff that wasn't. She was like the worst kind of ultra-religious person. To give you an example, my dad would let me go to the movies to see Bad Boys 2, but my mom would yell, scream, and go on a tirade because I was watching 'violent filth' like Pokemon, DBZ, or Zoids. I still remember the time that my brother, who I think had just graduated highschool at the time, had bought, with his own money, In Living Color and the first season of Chappelle's Show on DVD. He came home one day wondering where both went and my mom nonchalantly says, as if she was in the right, "I took them with me when I went out today and threw them in a dumpster."
Basically just porn to be honest, but only if it was explicitly porn. I watched shit like Starship Troopers and Video Drome at 9 years old and they've got some soft porn-ish shots in them. I'd already seen Hellraiser by then too. For some reason though my Dad was really adamant that I wasn't gonna play GTA (as in the first one) cos he said it would "teach me how to steal cars". Like, I watched the Godfather with that dude at 8 or so and he never thought I was gonna turn in to an Italian gangster, so I dunno what he thought I was gonna learn from a fucking top down 2D game like GTA1 lol.
For TV I mainly just watched Star Trek: TNG( and the occasional DS9 or Voyager episode, but I didn't care if it wasn't the TNG crew when I was younger) and the Simpsons. The only show I can remember being specifically forbade from was Ren and Stimpy, the others like Beavis and Butthead and South Park I just didn't know about, otherwise those would have clearly been banned too. Movies was more lenient, I remember seeing Terminator 2 when I was 10 or 11, and Aliens probably not that much longer afterward. For games it was more on a case by case basis for M rated games, though I never bothered asking for games like GTA since I knew I didn't have a chance at winning that battle. Once I got to around 16 my parents didn't really have a problem with any M rated games, except GTA.
Anything with loads of sexual content or profanity was frowned upon or outright forbidden, and I remember not being allowed to watch the Simpsons, Pokemon, and Goosebumps. I was allowed to watch violent things to a degree, though more violent movies often had more sexual content or profanity, so it was a sliding scale I guess.
The day after I graduated high school I went with two of my friends to see the Simpsons Movie in theaters. I think my parents were just doing their best, so I don't hold it against them, but looking back the Simpsons seems incredibly tame and I'm not sure what the big deal was.
Gosh, I was watching awful things as a toddler. Evil Dead, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, American Werewolf in London, Robocop -- those first brutal ten minutes, and when the guy gets toxic waste on him and melts apart and gets run the fuck over . . . desensitized me forever.
I also watched stuff like Porky's, Lady Snowblood, etc., before the age of ten. Boobs all over the place. I saw some of the more famous pornos before my teens, also. Looking back, I might have felt ashamed if I weren't a fairly rounded person.
I was raised on the Simpsons and could watch basically whatever I wanted. I also watched Wayne's World at least weekly from when I was 3 until about 6 and my parents thought it was hilarious that I did it.
No M rated games though. My brother had GTA2 and that was strictly off limits. So naturally I just watched him play it instead. Same with Duke Nukem and DOOM. The M restriction thing stopped when I was in grade 8 or 9. This was back when parents actually seemed to care about ratings because most of my friends had the same restrictions. There was one kid I knew who got GTA3 when it came out and everyone wanted to hang out with him as a result. Even more so when GTA: Vice City came out.
No particular limit that was actually put into action. Can't really control kids. My Dad was always watching action stuff I guess. I'd catch glimpses of sex scenes through movies.
But really, I had a computer and TV in my room at a young age. Maybe 10 ish? So late 1990s. I watched anything I could get my eyes on. I was desensitized and developed early you could say lol No regrets. Played all the games, my parents weren't much involved in anything I did. I was playing the original GTA back when that came out and continued with the others.
When I was about 6 or 7 my dad suddenly decided he didn't want us to have toy guns, and he said if we let him throw our water pistols and stuff away then he'd trade us videogames for them instead. That was a sweet deal. In terms of films and cartoons and stuff though we could watch/play/view whatever we wanted. I remember my dad caught me watching Starship Troopers on VHS when I was about 12 and instead of turning it off he sat down and watched it with me.
Pretty cool parents in that regard.
I didn't get to play Mortal Kombat on the SNES as it was too violent even with the edits (at least not officially but I did sneak in a play here and there), but when Mortal Kombat 2 rolled around it was A-OK to rent. Funny the difference a year and change made. I also think that was when I was allowed to watch R rated movies too. Rented Alien and Terminator and decided to see them at a friend's house as I was a little too chicken to watch them alone. Think Terminator was one of my if not the first exposures I had to barenaked ladies, hah (the ladies, not the band). That wasn't awkward at all watching with my similar aged friend and members of his family!
e: turns out I was a real late bloomer! So surprised.
I never really watched anything that wasn't age appropriate for me, porn aside(do anyone wait till they're 18?? I grew up with the internet, so it was no problem at all looking that up, and if my parents knew about the boning I was looking at they mercifully never told me about it). Not even sure if it was a specified rule - I just didn't have any interest in watching violent R-rated movies or horror movies or whatever, and even to this day I'm not gonna go out of my way to see something that's super violent or gross and gory. Just not my thing. I'm pretty sure I did wait until I was 18 to play Resident Evil 4, and that was the first game I can remember playing where you straight up murder humans.
Can't say I've become a markedly better person than the people I know that watched all that stuff since they were kids. My little brother would play RE4 with me and get me to buy him RE5, and he was what, 11? I'd say he's turned out even better than me.
I remember my uncle angrily preventing me from playing DOOM on PS1 when I was about 7 years old. I thought 'Wow! This game must be a badass gore-fest'.
I got my hands on it 2 or 3 years later and I have never been so disappointed in my life. I thought the game was not only terrible, but tame as f***.
As I got older and my appreciation for video games grew, I learned about DOOM and it's importance in the industry. Now I love it, I play it on PC with mods every few months just for a good ol' time.
By the time I was about 10, my mum realised I wasn't a psychopath and I've been pretty much doing what I want since then. I turned out alright.
Most stuff under the R rated zone. Not all Pg-13 stuff of course, but as long as we talked about it I could get away with watching most stuff. Sex stuff was a big no no though. And as far as the big standouts I remember being specifically told I couldn't partake in; Yugioh, Harry Potter, N64 Zelda games, (Pokemon got through this thankfully as my parents saw nothing wrong with it despite the warning of churches and such)
I remember my Mom being disturbed one time when I rented Dead Space and there being a severed hand on the cover, but I talked her through it and told her I was find playing it. (I totally was not, since I was literally shook through most of that game.) Mass effect was also a talk I had to have with her, but at that point I was mostly old enough for that kind of thing.
I got the signed “unrestricted renting” card at local video rental places at 10.
I’d ride my bike and rent whatever the store had, shy of the XXX saloon door stuff. I’d rent R rated action, exploitation, grindhouse, and horror stuff.
As a parent, my 9 year old son has watched and enjoyed:
Mad Max Fury Road (most of it, didn’t let him see a bit of the beginning and end)
My 7 year old daughter has watched and loved:
Alien (had her look away twice)
The Life Aquatic
I BELIEVE those are all R-rated, though I don’t give a damn what the MPAA says. There are PG-13 movies I haven’t wanted my kids to see (I wish I could remember which, off-hand...).
EDIT: We’re watching Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 3 right now, that’s a make-sure-the-kids-are-in-bed show in our household...
I very rarely felt like I was being limited on what I watched by my parents. If it was on TV I was 100% allowed to watch it. The only time it ever was a issue was when I tried to get them to buy me GTA Vice City. Which they would not do. Then I just got around that by renting M rated games at Blockbuster. Generic boxes made it pretty easy to rent just about everything.
I wasn't allowed to watch rated R movies or play M rated games when I was a kid. Of course this was only at my mother's house. When I went to my father's he didn't give a damn so I did whatever I could there. That's one awesome thing about growing up with divorced parents.
Slightly different rating system in the UK. I was generally allow to watch 15 rated movies, 18 rated movies were generally a no unless my Dad liked it too. Bruce Lee movies and anything with Kung Fu seemed to be perfectly acceptable because he liked them. Apparently I self censored if I didn't like/got scared by a movie so well they weren't bothered - turned off Gremlins once they were no longer furry; weirdly, I don't remember doing this, but it was a common thing for me to just up and leave if it all got a bit much.
My parents had different restrictions depending on what it was. They were usually pretty lenient with most things except if it was overly crude or sexually explicit. Like, my parents let me watch Evil Dead 2 when I was 3 (and it's been my favorite movie ever since), which lead to a lot of hard R horror movies at a very young age. But at the same time, they wouldn't let me watch Beavis and Butthead until I was like 7. Then South Park was a thing and Beavis and Butthead was incredibly tame by comparison. My parents would watch South Park ahead of me to see if they thought it was suitable enough, i.e. nothing overtly sexual. I remember watching The Exorcist with them, when they told me to leave the room for the "Let Jesus fuck you!" scene, although I could still hear everything happening. I'd say by time I was 12 or 13, pretty much anything was on the table.
I wasn't allowed to watch The Simpsons until I was about 13... I remember the first episode my parents saw was one of the first Treehouse of Horrors that had Marge give the disclaimer about content not suitable for young audiences, and were so impressed by it that they instated that rule.
In terms of movies, I had a lot more leeway. Saw a lot of M rated movies only because we weren't aware of the ratings.
Well, technically I wasn't allowed to watch R rated movies. But that went out the door when my mom would go on business and my Dad would make sure I saw classics like Terminator 2.
It went well until he rented Alien. He went to take a phone call and I was so absorbed in the movie I didn't notice he had snuck up behind the couch. He waited until that scene where Dallas is in the vents and when the Alien jumped out he popped up and grabbed my shoulders.
I had nightmares for weeks. My Mom didn't talk to him for almost as long.
I can't remember my parents ever setting any strict media rules and would allow me to watch most of the stuff on tv. I very vividly remember watching Fly 2 when we were visiting some relatives and while that movie's garbage, it still has some pretty grizzly effects in it. Pretty sure I saw Robocop at a young age too. The only movie that I can remember having an effect on me was the original IT. It's laughable now, but back then it gave me nightmares for at least one night.
The only thing I wasn't allowed to watch as a kid was nudity, and my parents stopped caring about that by the time I was 13-14. I used to watch The Simpsons every day when I got home from school, and I remember one of my friends coming over to my house in 2nd Grade and a) thinking it was crazy that I had my own TV and N64 in my room, and b) that I was allowed to watch The Simpsons. I remember going over to his house around the same time and he and his mom being super stoked to sit down together and watch Blue's Clues when it came on. Different levels of overprotection and/or maturity level, I guess.
I could watch some R-rated movies but not all R-rated movies...stuff with language was usually fine but violence and sex not so much. Same with M-rated games. My mom had a weird thing about blood for a good portion of my childhood, so anything with significant amounts (including a few T-rated games, come to think of it) was a No Go until I was about 13. After that I was still restricted on some M-rated games until I hit 17, but that was mostly because I had a significantly younger sister and having GTA or what have you playing on the family TV while a 7 year old was running around was frowned upon.
As long as there was no explicit sexual content, or extremely over the top violence, my parents were more or less cool. I remember South Park coming out when I was around 8 and my mom being less than cool about me watching that, but honestly, I still snuck out of bed after midnight to watch the re-runs.
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