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Do You Monitor the Movies Your Children Watch?

Posted by on Apr. 8, 2013 at 1:57 PM
  • 11 Replies

Plane Diverted After Family Complains In-Flight Movie Is Inappropriate for Kids

by Suzanne Murray

movie ratingsThis is one of the craziest flying with kids stories you will ever hear. A mom and dad were flying from Denver to Baltimore with their two sons -- ages 4 and 8. During the flight, a PG-13-rated movie (Alex Cross) was being shown on drop-down screens above the seats. After seeing the opening scenes (apparently the movie includes graphic violence and sex), the parents decided this was NOT a movie they wanted their sons to see and asked the flight attendants to fold up the monitor in the boys' line of vision. Even though the passengers sitting behind them lent their support, agreeing that the movie was definitely not appropriate for children, the family was told folding one screen was not an option. The parents nicely asked if the captain would be able to make this happen. The flight attendants very nicely told them no.

The next thing the family -- and the rest of the passengers knew -- the flight was being diverted to a Chicago airport because of "security concerns."

No -- there was nobody having a baby on the plane, no one trying to light a shoe bomb, nothing wrong with the plane itself. Apparently, the pilot decided that the family's complaint about the movie constituted "grave danger to the aircraft."

Yet, according to the father, there had been no raised voices, no swearing (parents who don't let their kids watch PG-13 movies also don't swear in front of them), and no punches thrown. The parents had remained in their seats and did what they could to keep their kids' eyes off the large screen hanging in front of them (we all know how easy and fun that can be.)

More from The Stir: 8 Inappropriate Things Kids Just Love Doing

Upon landing, a police officer came on board the plane and escorted the family off. They were then met at the gate by more Chicago police, two border protection officers, an FBI agent, and airline officials.

Does all of this sound craaaaaazy to you? It did to everyone else too.

All of the officials were horrified that the pilot had abused his authority and gone to such extremes -- causing the other passengers to miss their connections, inconveniencing his crew, wasting time and jet fuel, wasting the time and energy of the authorities and unnecessarily scaring two little boys. The family booked another flight and made it to their destination. Their assertions about this event are being investigated by James Fallows of The Atlantic in conjunction with his "The Way We Live Now" column. (But, really, why would the dad lie in a forum like that?)

This whole incident sounds like a nightmare for this family for many reasons, but let's focus on the thing that got it all started: the movie. What the heck was an airline doing showing an adult movie to children? Not all parents are on board with their kid watching PG-13 movies -- or even any movie at all. (Note the movie screens were the kind that hung down for all the passengers to see and not the individual ones on the back of seats.) This was what irked the dad the most, too. He writes:

[O]f even greater concern is United's decision to inflict upon minors grossly inappropriate cinematic content, without parents or guardians having the ability to opt out. Had this been in a cinema or a restaurant, we would have simply left if the content were too violent, or too sexual, for a preschooler and a 2nd grader. Cruising at 30,000 feet, leaving was not an option.

And he's right. What could the family do? They didn't know about the movie ahead of time and they couldn't escape it.

What's the answer here? Should airlines show only G movies during flights that have kids on board? Wouldn't that be unfair to adults traveling without children? And what about families who have a total no-movie, no-media policy and don't want their children watching anything at all? After all, what one parent deems permissible for their child may be against another parent's rules. I know I would have been angry, not only if the movie being shown was inappropriate for kids per its rating, but inappropriate for MY kid according to MY maternal barometer. Does that mean airlines should stop showing films entirely? Or should they all adopt single-screens (at a cost to all of us, of course)?

These are issues parents negotiate every day -- how to compromise with other kids and parents when our ideas about what's okay to eat or watch or say conflict. Yet we work it out. That's not an easy feat at 30,000 feet. We're trapped. It's easy to say no to sugary snacks on a plane, but keeping your kid's eyes off a big movie screen with flashy images is another story.

Do you think it's okay for planes to show PG-13 movies when kids are on board?

Do you think the pilot overreacted?

Do you think the family overreacted?

by on Apr. 8, 2013 at 1:57 PM
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Replies (1-10):
MistressMinerva
by Jennifer on Apr. 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I think both parties overreacted.

goddess99
by Michelle on Apr. 8, 2013 at 6:44 PM
1 mom liked this

I do think it's inappropriate to show a pg13 movie with small children aboard. The pilot did over react.

luvmybug
by Amanda on Apr. 8, 2013 at 7:09 PM
I think EVERYONE overreacted in this situation. Those poor kids. :(
Janet
by Ruby Member on Apr. 8, 2013 at 7:15 PM
1 mom liked this
For sure!

Quoting goddess99:

I do think it's inappropriate to show a pg13 movie with small children aboard. The pilot did over react.

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zacmacsmomm
by Member on Apr. 8, 2013 at 7:19 PM

I think the pilot over reacted, as far as the parent.  I'm on the fence from that one.  Yes I understand why the parent didn't want the children to see that, but at the same time what if the others wanted to watch it.  I hate when changes are made because one person bitches.  My oldest is almost 20, so obviously I could care less what he watches.  My daughter can watch most anything as well (almost 14)  If the movie is "R" rated, I do need to see it first and approve.

delanna6two
by Platinum Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:13 AM

 I monitor...especially with the younger ones.

LovedNCherished
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:50 AM
Quoting goddess99:

I do think it's inappropriate to show a pg13 movie with small children aboard. The pilot did over react.


Loved & cherished by the most amazing man, my Hubby. 

Proud Mommy to a boy born2012 & girl born 2008

Knightquester
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Do you think it's okay for planes to show PG-13 movies when kids are on board? Although I wouldn't have an issue with it with my children, I know others that would and I don't think it's appropriate on a plane where those that have issues cannot walk out of the room or escape.

Do you think the pilot overreacted? Yes given there was no violence or danger to anybody on the plane he wasted money and time due to his overreacting.  He could have just stated to switch movies to a G Rated one, or turn off the movie entirely.

Do you think the family overreacted? I think they raised a concern and did what they felt was right, but in the end if nothing was changed they should have just waited until the plane landed and then filed a complaint stating they mentioned their discomfort of the movie for their children to the flight attendant and dealt with the matter more on land.

Pammi86
by Pamela on Apr. 9, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Yes and I think this entire situation is ridiculous!

CjEmmemommy
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 2:47 PM
1 mom liked this
I agree with the parents and the pilot was out of line.
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