Parents are being urged to ensure their children are watching age-appropriate films when they go to the cinema.
This encouragement is coming from member of the Film Censorship Board of Barbados, Deborah Hinds, who wants parents to check which movies were being shown before they dropped the children off at the cinemas.
“We want parents to check the ratings of the movies and make sure their children are going to watch what they say. Parents should even accompany children to the cinema from time to time because some of the films may include scenes where adult guidance is needed.
“We want to protect our children and allow them to have a smooth transition to adult life. We want them to know that what they see is important to their life at this point in time because it can have a negative or positive effect on them,” she said.
Mrs. Hinds stressed that the Board was currently making amendments to the Films Act to ensure the viewing of movies would continue to be comfortable and enjoyable for the public.
In addition, she reminded Barbadians that a fee must be paid to the Division of Culture and Sports at Mall Internationale, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, once movies were being shown at a film festival or if a movie night was being held at a school, club or any other public setting and a fee was being charged for viewing.
“When people download movies from the internet and watch them in their own private setting at home, we cannot interfere with that. But, with respect to public viewing and any public forum, the Government of Barbados does have a say in that particular viewing,” she explained.
The Film Censorship Board is governed by the Films Act, Chapter 299 of the Laws of Barbados. The Board is made up of a chairman, deputy, a representative of the Permanent Secretary and 13 other members. Its primary function is to censor and rate all movies prior to them being shown in the cinema or any public forum.?? Members of the Board can periodically make unscheduled visits to the cinemas, with a view to ensuring that the ratings assigned to the films are adhered to and that the audience is age-appropriate.
“If an under-aged child is identified, the members of the board who are present notify the manager of the cinema and the movie is stopped. The manager does an inspection and if the child is found to be under the age, he or she is asked to leave. If the child or the accompanying adult refuses to comply, the Royal Barbados Police Force is called in,” she pointed out. ??
There are five ratings – general audience (G) means the film is suitable for viewing by persons of any age; while parental guidance (PG) suggests that every parent should exercise discretion in permitting a child to view the film; and PG 13 indicates that viewing should be restricted to persons 13 years or older and that parental discretion is advised.
Restricted (R) means the Board believes that viewing of the film should be limited to persons 18 years or older because it contains strong language, nudity, sexual situations or violence; while adult only (A) means the movie should be restricted to persons in this age group since it contains graphic violence, strong sexual situations or full frontal nudity.
Mrs. Hinds underscored the relevance of the Film Censorship Board, even though many Barbadians have installed cable television in their homes. She expressed the view that each citizen has a responsibility to assist the Board by familiarising him or herself with the ratings and ages attached to them, so any cases of movies being watched by persons not of suitable age could be reported.
Meanwhile, members of the Board have undertaken a sensitisation campaign to share valuable information with the public, namely parents during PTA meetings. And, Mrs. Hinds is encouraging parents and guardians to make sure they are present at these sessions.