There are a few blogs I follow that have age recommendations as part of their reviews. These recommendations are usually determined by content regarding profanity, violence, sex, and sometimes mature themes. As I look at these age recommendations, I can’t help but think, “What makes this suitable for 16 year olds but not a 15-year-old?” In my mind, 16 really isn’t that much older or emotionally different than 15. I know I wasn’t that different. Sure, I could drive and date at 16, but I still thought the same way I did when I was 15. (For those of you who aren’t LDS, most LDS people don’t let their children date until their 16; it’s a guideline from our church.)
I’ve also noticed these age recommendations are mostly among bloggers who are members of the same religion and culture I am. Is it only the LDS mentality that wants to keep children from reading things with questionable content? Or, is it a parental mentality, no matter your religion? Or, maybe even a religious or conservative one? I’d think it can’t just be an LDS one.
I guess maybe as a general guideline these age recommendations are okay. But, for me, I feel like the actual child should be taken into consideration not the age. Some children are more adept to handle the tough issues than others. Am I the only one who feels like this? Also, am I the only one who thinks that instead of shying away from things we don’t agree with, we should use books that deal with these tough issues to help us talk about these things with our children?
I had a friend, who I respect a great deal, tell me she doesn’t want her daughters to read Lola and the Boy Next Door until they’re older (they’re in their early teens) because it deals with things she doesn’t want to expose them to–drugs, sex, homosexuality, homelessness, etc. Personally, while I respect and understand her opinion, I feel like she’s doing her daughters a disservice because this book could give her a lot of teaching moments to explain her reasons behind her objections and then let her daughters decide how they feel about it on their own.
I’ll admit that I don’t like to read books with a lot of profanity, especially when it’s the F-word. But, although it may prevent me from enjoying the book as much as I would’ve without the profanity, it won’t stop me from reading it. The only content that will prevent me from reading or finishing a book is how graphic the sex is. I don’t like to read erotica because it’s too detailed for my own tastes and I feel like I’m invading a private part of people’s lives. Now, with that being said, if I were a parent, would I limit my children from reading these types of books? Or, would I explain why I don’t like to read them? Honestly, I don’t know. I’d like to think that I’d be open-minded enough to talk about these things with my child rather than just telling them they can’t read it because they’re not old enough. But, it’s a tricky issue and one that I feel needs to be dealt with on an individual basis.
What are your thoughts?