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To think books should have age certificates

(133 Posts)
mrswhiskerson Mon 06-Jun-11 16:59:39

There is a debate going on at the minute about certifying music videos which I do agree with , I love music videos and some of them can be real works of art but I do not want my ds watching close ups of rihannas bum boobs or crotch. I also shouldn't have to not be able to watch the music channel while I am doing my ironing for fear of ds watching three am a
half minutes of soft porn.

What has surprised me though is no one ever mentions books. I have been an avid reader since childhood and some of the things I read were to old for me a notable book was American psycho which I read at fifteen after the film came out , it really disturbed me . Isn't the imagination worse than what you see? There is nothing in place to stop young people buying horrific books from waterstones and the like and these books could have a negative effect.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 06-Jun-11 17:01:21

Shogun. Very, very traumatised.

porcamiseria Mon 06-Jun-11 17:02:16

nOOOOO. i learnt eveything I know from reading unsuitable books, mainly sexual.....

GypsyMoth Mon 06-Jun-11 17:02:23

nothing to stop them going to the library to read and borrow them eitherhmm

where do you draw the line?

beyond ridiculous now

valiumredhead Mon 06-Jun-11 17:02:35

I agree.

Although from about 12 onwards most of my reading was from 'unsuitable' books grin

Wormshuffler Mon 06-Jun-11 17:06:12

I feel this way about magazines too, I wanted to get one for DD12 the other day, and the ones which looked for her age group all had wrappings around them so I couldn't flick through it to check the content. I always remember reading a magazine when I was 13 ish and it had "position of the fortnight" in it!!

Sausagesarenottheonlyfruit Mon 06-Jun-11 17:06:26

YANBU. As an 11 year old who'd cleaned out the 'young fiction' section of the local library, I was given free reign of the adult fiction.

It certainly was an education but one I wasn't exactly equipped for at that age. Will be policing DC's reading materials thoroughly in the future.

blurdylurdy Mon 06-Jun-11 17:09:13

There is actually a very big debate going on about this at the moment - most writers/authors are opposed to putting age certificates on books for under 16s/18s for many reasons including: it doesn't account for different reading abilities or whether a child can handle certain topics/emotions; it takes autonomy away from children who can sometimes only express themselves or get help/awareness from books; and lots of ither reasons - as well as giving right-wing nutters who want to infantilise children forever more ammunition.

valiumredhead Mon 06-Jun-11 17:12:07

It wouldn't have to be a 'certificate rating' as such - but a general guide on the back would help parents decide if something is suitable.

nickelbabe Mon 06-Jun-11 17:13:02

no, i don't agree.

adults' books classified as such in shops should be assumed that they're for adults, not children.

books in the children's section should have "not suitable for younger readers" if they've got explicit content in, and then preferably put into a separate teenage section.
other than that, most books are classified accordign to reading age, which normally means their content is suitable for children with approx that actual age.
the main exception is Barrington Stoke books, which are written for dyslexis children/teens and need to be in a separate section because the reading age doesn't correspond to the actual age of the reader.

Threadworm8 Mon 06-Jun-11 17:14:23

Nooo! Book marketers have already tried this one and children's authors came out strongly against it. I would fight against such a thing

nickelbabe Mon 06-Jun-11 17:15:57

eg - in my shop, i have books organised according to interest age, and anything that has sex or violence or lots of swearing in goes in "books for teenagers and adults" (which as a subheading of "not suitable for younger readers" - anything else goes in the interest age section, and that might include books that have strong themes, but aren't "adult" in theme.
I have a customer who is now 11, and she has bee nreadign books from the 10upwards section for a few years now, but I won't let her go to the teenage section because she's still too young forit.
I do think it's important to give children free reign when they're such good/prolific readers, which is why the ones that aren't suitable are put in a totally separate section.
and i do explain this to the adults too.

Ormirian Mon 06-Jun-11 17:17:19

I read Lady Chatterley's Lover when I was 9.

Didn't do me any harm <twitch> apart from a minor fetish about bluebells.

Threadworm8 Mon 06-Jun-11 17:17:53

Age ratings would be inaccurate, because children's readiness for material of any given sort varies immensely. They would pre-process books in a way that would detract from the reader's autonomy in reading. They would cause angsty parents to push for their child to be reading 'older' stuff, and self-conscious children to shun perfectly good books that were rated 'too young' for them.

Onemorning Mon 06-Jun-11 17:18:12

YABU. I agree with what blurdylurdy says above. I was an early reader, and would have gone absolutely mad if I'd been restricted to reading 'suitable' books for my age. Instead, I read what I was told to at school, and read as much as I could at home. I was a curious child, and I'm pretty sure that my reading contributed to my continuing curiosity as an adult.

In some cases, the point of the book went entirely over my head anyway. I read '1984' as a youngster, and didn't see what the fuss was about. As an adult, I found it absolutely chilling.

LovelyDaffs Mon 06-Jun-11 17:22:09

A few years ago I would have disagreed but now I have an avid reader in dd1 aged 11 I do understand the problem. Recently we were In waterstones about to buy the dcs a book each when I noticed that the one dd1 chose had a sticker saying unsuitable for younger readers. I asked the staff what age group it meant and they were reluctant to give an age, so how am I supposed to know. Dd is quiet mature, but not obviously in a sexual way and I really don't want her reading anything like Jackie Collins for example. Books are a lot harder to vet than films etc.

I have also checked all mags before letting dd read them as I heard something on the radio about lessons in blow jobs in young teen mags - totally unsuitable.

piprabbit Mon 06-Jun-11 17:23:16

YABVVU - that way lies Bowlderisation and 'safe', uninspiring literature for children.

pointydog Mon 06-Jun-11 17:23:21

YAB utterly U

GypsyMoth Mon 06-Jun-11 17:24:26

j wilson which age group are they aimed at?

valiumredhead Mon 06-Jun-11 17:25:49

I agree lovelydaffs, I have a ds whose reading ability is way beyond his years but just because he CAN read something doesn't men he should.

Meglet Mon 06-Jun-11 17:27:33

I think yabu. Don't know why I think it's different to TV / films, I just do confused.

I did read Stephen King from about age 12 though.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Mon 06-Jun-11 17:34:38

Ah Wormshuffler 'More' by any chance? Never did get round to the one in the rocking chair.

Books shouldn't have age ratings. Check on Amazon/Wiki for a general plot breakdown if you're worried. And I'm not surprised you were traumatised by Bret Easton Ellis's work. It's really, really bad.

valiumredhead Mon 06-Jun-11 17:36:05

So why should films have age certificates?

piprabbit Mon 06-Jun-11 17:37:15

Because with films it is not possible to 'dip' into a few pages before buying, to get a feel for the book.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 06-Jun-11 17:37:29

I was thinking about this today.

I did a car boot the other week and a classmate's of DD's bought a Michael Conneley book from me. Book is all about some serial killer who dismembers his victims, etc. Boy is 9yo and rather odd/violent.

I did think maybe I shouldn't have sold it to him, but 50p is 50p. grin

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