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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Adults-Only Horror DVDs Sold to Tweens in the UK

You may have noticed over the months that I have a tendency to look into stories about minors being exposed to horror movies, and I guess it is a pet subject of mine. As much as I love modern horror films and revel in the gut-wrenchingly repulsive imagery they present us with, I also firmly believe that--unlike the scare flicks of yore--they are not at all for little kids. And I believe parents have a responsibility to take the issue seriously, and at least be aware of what their children are watching. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine, which I guess you can chalk up to one too many torture porn spectacles spent distracted by the disturbing amount of soon-to-be traumatized youngsters seated next to lowlife moms and dads.

Well, I'm about to get on my little soapbox again, so be warned. A story published earlier this week in Northern Ireland's Ballymena Times reports the results of a survey of retailers in the region which indicates that children as young as 11 were able to purchase DVDs rated "18"--the UK equivalent of "R". Among the DVDs bought were horror movies like Saw IV.

Belfast's Department of Enterpise, Trade and Investment's Trading Standards Service (TSS) conducted the survey, sending kids age 11-13 to various retailers in the surrounding towns. It was found that the children were able to buy the DVDs in question in one of four shops they visited, which included major chains.

Warning letters have been issued, and the investigation is ongoing. Keep in mind that this is the country that gave us the infamous "video nasties" back in the '80s, so they don't fool around. 

I'm not surprised by the findings--far from it. I can remember my 11-year-old sister and her friend successfully renting Faces of Death from the video store around the corner years ago. In my mind, that was no different--if not worse--than allowing them to rent a porno, and I marched around the corner to give the owner an earful. Sadly, not much seems to have changed. I'm sure the same thing goes on all the time in America as well.

It's one thing if a parent is OK with their kid seeing the stuff. I may disagree, but that's their prerogative. It's another when the kid is able to procure the stuff without their supervision/knowledge. Again, this would never happen with a XXX DVD, which just goes to once again demonstrate our society's bizarre mentality when it comes to this kind of thing. 

And don't give me the whole argument of, "Hey you were that age once, wouldn't you have tried to rent those movies too?" The answer is yes, but that's completely not the point. I've matured since then. One's personal judgement at 11 is a little different than it is (or should be) as a grown parent. There was a time when I probably would have also thought eating my own snot was a good idea. That doesn't mean I should let my kids do it.


thebonebreaker said...

Well Said - I happen to agree with you :-)

pot head pixie said...

What's a tween?

B-Sol said...

A pre-teen

pot head pixie said...

Wouldn't that be a preen?

Levity aside, when I was a teenager I rented X certificate horror movies in the UK from our local video store and never had a problem. Yes, there was the whole video nasty stuff going on - and I even won a BBC North West public speaking competition when I was 14 speaking against censorship and the video nasty backlash. I think it was more a thing of the press, and the BBFC banned a few things and cut some stuff, it's true but my friends and I (who were all under age) bought bootleg VHS tapes from fanzines and stuff like that. I watched all the video nasties, albeit in poor quality VHS transfers. Oh for those days....

Seriously I think I'm quite desensitised to violence, though surgery and needles always do my head in still!

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