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should books be age rated?

(51 Posts)
pineappleshortbread Tue 10-Feb-15 12:10:15

With all this hype about 50 shades I was a shocked to learn that it isn't age rated.

Should books be subject to age ratings like other forms of media?

MaudeLebowski Tue 10-Feb-15 12:11:53


pineappleshortbread Tue 10-Feb-15 12:12:28

May ask why not?

DropYourSword Tue 10-Feb-15 12:13:54

I think it could be very difficult to decide what appropriate age ratings would be. We've got this far in life without it. I don't reckon we need to try and fix something that already works, it seems like it's already self policed to an extent.

Except for 50 shades, that should only be allowed for people who can stand on their head, burp the entire alphabet backwards and then down a cold pint of soup in one. Cos it's a huge pile of pish.

CharleyFarleyy Tue 10-Feb-15 12:14:00

I dont see why not, whats different about books over films?

pineappleshortbread Tue 10-Feb-15 12:15:10

See thats what I think they can be just as damaging so why not rate them

ouryve Tue 10-Feb-15 12:16:04

You need to make a bit of an effort to read a book. Watching a film is an alarmingly passive activity.

pineappleshortbread Tue 10-Feb-15 12:18:14

That makes no difference to the mental damage a book can cause

TeenAndTween Tue 10-Feb-15 12:23:22

In libraries and bookshops books are arranged by appropriate age, but true they don't have an 'age rating'. I think our library wouldn't let a child borrow from the adults section without parent taking it out on their card.

However you can read the blurb on the back of a book and flip through it to see if it's the kind of thing you like.

Books don't assault the senses in the same way films, and more so games, do.

DropYourSword Tue 10-Feb-15 12:23:40

I think it makes a difference.

TeaCupCrazy Tue 10-Feb-15 12:25:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ouryve Tue 10-Feb-15 12:30:01

I'm currently reading a book that's translated from German. It's very bloodthirsty and also alludes to rape. Between sometimes clumsy translation and the fact that it's wordy and is set 350 years ago, it's not a terribly easy read and an 11 year old would be a lot less likely to pick it up and casually read a description of torture in such a book than to just passively watch it on a screen.

pineappleshortbread Tue 10-Feb-15 12:33:31

But surely we could manage films for ourselves too. The imagination can be worse then what's portrayed. And just because we got this far without it doesn't mean we don't need it. Tell me how comfortable do you feel knowing American psycho and 50 shades are 18 rated yet your 14 year old or younger could walk into any shop and buy the book

Sirzy Tue 10-Feb-15 12:34:51

I think with books it depends a lot more on your ability to mentally understand the themes than with films where the images are there to see even if you don't fully understand things. (If that makes sense!)

If a book is too complex for a child then things will either go over their head or more likely they will get bored and stop reading

Kachan Tue 10-Feb-15 12:34:52

we have come thus far without this level of censorship and indeed any resultant evidence base to suggest we need it.

pineappleshortbread Tue 10-Feb-15 12:36:29

Maybe not a rating then but a guidance on the front like music to say not suitable for children. Lyrics go over children's head yet we get wound up about them

TravelinColour Tue 10-Feb-15 12:40:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DropYourSword Tue 10-Feb-15 12:42:30

Nope, still can't agree. We have guidance for children's books so we know roughly what age they are pitched at. Then we have tween & teen fiction and then adult fiction. That's really all the 'guidance' we need. If a 14 year old wanted to read American psycho I would think that's very different from them watching the film.

ChippingInGluggingOn Tue 10-Feb-15 12:42:46

But books in a shop are displayed so that you know what 'age range' they're aimed at.

My local library won't let children take out adult books, not even ones on trains or knitting hmm yet they can go next door and buy the book. Bit barking really.

NuggetofPurestGreen Tue 10-Feb-15 12:42:48

You need to make a bit of an effort to read a book. Watching a film is an alarmingly passive activity.

This might be true for many/most people but I actually finding reading easier and more passive than watching films (am much more textual than visual).

Books don't assault the senses in the same way films, and more so games, do

They do for me.

PS not saying I agree one way or the other with age ratings - I suppose I can see the inconsistency with films and games being rated and not books but I'm not sure the rating system works very well for the latter either.

NuggetofPurestGreen Tue 10-Feb-15 12:44:08

If a 14 year old wanted to read American psycho I would think that's very different from them watching the film.

I've a feeling the book is much "worse" than the film in terms of violence? See also 50 Shades - believe the film is toned down.

Enb76 Tue 10-Feb-15 12:45:23

I think there's a massive difference between having an image portrayed for you and the image you conjure in your own head. For example, I was far more disturbed by the film Watership Down than the book though I had read the book first.

People self-limit themselves with books, if it's too hard to read, or requires too much concentration etc... you don't do that with films as it's a passive activity.

I have no forbidden books in my house (though admittedly I don't have any shite like 50 Shades) so if my 6 year old wanted to read American Psycho she absolutely could. I really doubt however, that she would get past the first page or so - it just wouldn't hook her in in the same way a film does.

splodgeses Tue 10-Feb-15 12:47:11

I don't think books should be age rated either.
Besides the fact that reading is a wonderful thing that should always be encouraged, it is vastly different from a film.
Films go back maybe a couple of centuries, books and literary works go back thousands of years! Who should start categorizing them? And where the hell should they start?
Books require reader interpretation, you need to comprehend the words and an imagination to put it into context. With a film, the direct audio and visuals impose that upon you.
A 5 year old may be able to read about a death in a novel (loosely) but they wouldn't have the comprehension to string the text together and form a conclusion on what it would look and sound like.
Also, books are fairly regulated by parents until a child can pretty much decide for themselves, by which age, there isn't gping to be a whole of difference between what they can read and what they can watch.
My dd has been a bookworm for as long as I can remember, she read The Hobbit at 7 years old, and may not have understood it completely, but got the main concepts. She is now 9 and I wouldn't dream of letting her watch the films.
From another practical point of view- how would you age rate a book? Solely on explicit language, or the obvious content? What about the metaphors and underlying themes? Some of the stuff my dd reads (by Jacqueline Wilson) has some very deep issues of child abuse, but until she is able to comprehend the more subtle themes, they won't affect her. Does this mean she should not be allowed to read it?

I am pro-books. Kids have enough distractions from reading as a pleasure these days, don't fix something that isn't broken and insert more obstacles.

In my opinion YABU to exect age ratings.

Szeli Tue 10-Feb-15 12:47:25

I'd sooner a 14 year old watched american psycho than read it but i agree with pp it's much harder to carry on reading a book you find tough than it is to continue watching a film.
I just wish schools paid more attention to the books they were dishing out. Y9 we had to read woman in black. I read 2 or 3 pages as I couldn't stand it then we had to watch the play. i still get nightmares 15 years later

ChippingInGluggingOn Tue 10-Feb-15 12:49:31

I 'get' that it's easier for the library to just have adults or children's books so they don't have to 'police' shite like 50shades of twaddle, but at the same time if a child could buy the book, who is the library to say they can't borrow it? (Other than the basic 'it belongs to them' iyswim).

I had a most perplexed 9 yo on my hands when the scanner wouldn't let her check out a book and the sniffy librarian told her it was an ADULT book and not for children <peering over her glasses in a haughty, sniffy manner as though the child was trying to borrow The a Joy of Sex) it was a beginners knitting book of children's toys grin

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