How Young is Too Young for Game of Thrones?

By Rhiannon Kavity on May 1, 2013 to Game of Thrones

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When you become a parent there are a million things to worry about. Many nights are spent lying awake debating whether or not it would be too dangerous to allow your six year old to play football or if your teenage daughter has a secret boyfriend she hasn’t told you about. One of the things parents tend to worry about the most is at what point is it time to start introducing the “difficult” topics (violence, sex, abuse, and drugs). While some parents wait until their child has reached puberty to begin discussing sex, others talk about it from the first moment a child asks a question. These difficult topics and the desperation to find the right time can often plague a parent’s mind for years before they sit their child down to have these conversations.

Tshirt-GoT

Tshirt via TypsyGypsyTees on Etsy (click image for source)

In 2013, parents have a whole new dilemma to deal with.  In a generation where these topics seem to be the basis for most novels, movies, and television shows, the possibility of children learning about these things (in a way we might not wish them to) increases exponentially. The reality is undeniable. These topics have become a staple of our society. It’s almost impossible to find a “family friendly” television show that everyone enjoys.

While HBO has a wonderful family selection available for the customers with On Demand, debate has sparked about whether or not the major shows the network provides are appropriate for younger generations. This past week our Facebook page has practically imploded with people commenting about whether or not the ever-popular Game of Thrones falls into the “family friendly” category (though our comment here was meant to be tongue-in-cheek).

I’m looking at this from a parent’s perspective and with the understanding that not everyone might agree with my stance. The fact that I have pretty liberal views when it comes to parenting my daughter should also be noted. We’ve been regularly discussing those “difficult topics” since she was around four years old. I’ve always been a big believer in: if she’s old enough to wonder about it, it’s my responsibility to educate her.

That having been said, I don’t think I would be comfortable allowing her to watch a show with so many of these things at once until she reached an age where she had the maturity to fully understand what she was seeing. Personally, I love every single aspect of the show and obsessively watch it each week. And while I think it’s important to educate our children and to talk about things with them instead of brushing them under the rug, Game of Thrones just isn’t appropriate for younger children.

If one goes by the typical ratings given to shows on other channels or even the ones that are given to feature films, Game of Thrones would definitely score a rating of R or higher.  That rating suggests an age of seventeen or older and often require a teenager to show identification proving their age or the presence of a parent. The show deals with incest, graphic sex scenes, extreme violence, betrayal, sexual abuse, drugs, rape, and drinking. While it has some amazing qualities such as brilliant writing, fantastic actors, a detailed history that mirrors reality, redemption and beautiful scenes, these things can easily be overshadowed by the harsh reality depicted on the show.

Dead-Bodies

There is huge difference between discussing something with your child and having it shown on screen, which is one of the difficult lines that parents walk. I am a full supporter of having such talks and not leaving children in the dark about the realities of the world we live in. However, my daughter will not be enjoying the amazingness that is Game of Thrones until she is at least sixteen years old, which is one of the beauties provided to us buy DVD box-sets.

So that’s how my family plays it.  What about yours?  We’re looking to hear from the Game of Thrones community today.  At what age would you allow your child to enter the world of Westeros?  What about the books?  Is the age there any different?  Leave us a comment below and send in your vote in the poll here:

At what age is it appropriate to let children watch Game of Thrones?

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134 Comments on "How Young is Too Young for Game of Thrones?"

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Clear & simple….The fact that our brains aren’t developed until the mid 20s means that “legal adults” (those age 18+) are allowed to make adult decisions, without fully mature brains. Someone who is 18 may make riskier decisions than someone in their mid-20s in part due to lack of experience, but primarily due to an underdeveloped brain. All behaviors and experiences you endure until the age of 25 have potential to impact your developing brain. Maybe scientists and parents and other adults like some of us here just want allow you to be healthy teens and young adults rather than… Read more »

I am sad to see most people think kids at 15 should watch GOT. Thats why the world is becoming so sick because people in their most vulnerable age watch such things. Shame on you parents with NO judgement whatsoever, you are making the world a worse place.

Some people are letting 9 year olds (or younger!) watch this show. 15, in comparison, is much better in my mind. I cannot believe someone would let their elementary age kids watch this show religiously. i love the show, but a child that young should not be exposed to the kinds of things Ramsay Bolton is up to.

Is it ironic to censor someone for pointing out censorship laws?
I hope not because here they are.
http://www.tvguidelines.org/ratings.htm

The parental ratings system is not up for debate.

http://www.tvguidelines.org/ratings.htm

Unfortunately the prevailing attitude these days is children should be exposed to sex at every turn. You have people advocating that children be allowed to watch Game of Thrones or the recent hardcore movie (which isn’t porn because it was made by a respected director instead of someone named Seymore Butts) Love 3D or Orange is the New Black. The sexually explicit and violent Jessica Jones was shown at a sci-fi convention in NYC with children in the audience apparently and no one cared. So I’ve thrown my hands up in surrender. The TV ratings should be eliminated and I’m… Read more »
I can’t believe how prudish the commenters are! Sure, it’s obviously not for kids, but nowadays teens are so exposed to much worse content online and around them everyday that it doesn’t make much sense to forbid them from watching a show like this. Clearly you have to reach a certain level of maturity to understand and have a moral stance on the themes and explicitness of the show, but after 16 or so, most teens have that level of maturity. And if you feel your child doesn’t have it yet, then explain to him how to interpret what he… Read more »

As long as people are able to distinguish fantasy from reality then they can watch the show regardless of age.

At least that is what I think

I was 13 when I was allowed to watch Terminator 2, which had a lot of content pretty close to this…boy was I enthralled :) Any younger though…especially scenes like Oberyn’s head and Sansa’s rape.

I watched Terminator as a child (by that I mean when I was 5 or so) and I was just fine. My mom looooves films like Terminator, Alien and so, and I’d always watch them with her as a child. We had so much fun.

I would have been absolutely terrified of the Terminator when I was five. Even Star Wars was too much for me :)

not even close to this intensity…besides sarah getting licked when shes strapped down

Well, a lot of people got shot and stabbed though.

Clash of Clans Account

It’s a kids show.

I’m an age, and here’s my opinion.

Obviously the level of maturity of each single person should be taken into consideration and it is true that violence and sex are everywhere, but sex and violence are particularly visual in GOT and I wouldn’t allow my < 18-year-old children to watch it.

I’m almost 12 and I have watched the entire series and I loved it. I know other kids at my age would scream at the violence and look away at the sex scenes. My parents do not know I watch it but I consider myself mature enough to be able to cope with the adult themes. The sex and violence isn’t there for no reason, in reality, there are brothels and gore in places where there is war.

Brianne Kriebel Metzger
I think it really depends on how mature the child is. I can tell that some of the youngsters commenting that they have watched it are mature enough. Especially since they are able to reflect to an age that they think they wouldn’t have been ready to watch it. I think a good rule of thumb if you want to make sure you are making the right choice as a parent is “if you can read the books you can watch the series” but come on. If your kid wants to watch it they will find a way to. I… Read more »

I’m 17, and I truly enjoy the Game of Thrones. Had you shown me the show when I was say, 13, I would have flinched at the sex scenes, seeing as that’s a given, but other than that, I view myself as being mature enough to be able to watch such an intriguing show.

the scenes caught way off guard especially when the scene changes so rapidly and girls start moaning.. I’m like OH SHIT!! I quickly lower the volume

Cool story

I’m twelve years old and i have watched to episode 8!

UPDATE:I have now crossed into season 3 teritorry

Thanks for the update!

I would say most people today could watch it when they’re 16, I’ve seen the whole series this year and I’m 15. However, I am used to the violence so it wasn’t really a problem for me, I got to say though, the torture scene is disgusting and would’ve quit watching it if they showed “more detail.”

I’m 15 and could probably have watched this when I was 14 aswell (I do read he books aswell, so that does give me another picture of the series). My older brother who’s 38 (don’t ask me how that works) sometimes have problems with watching these kind of stuff (like, the goriest of the goriest), so it all comes down to how mature you are. Here in Sweden the highest age for watching certain movies and series is 15 years, but I always take the age rating with a pinch of salt. Violence and scary or disturbing content is what… Read more »

I’m 12 old, and I read book. It’s realy cool actualy (I’m reading Clash of Kings now).

I’m 11 and i watch it, BOOBIES ; )

… Exactly the reason why you shouldn’t be watching it.

Boobs are a natural thing lmao

ffs, it’s just a show

I’m 17, i would of started watching Game Of Thrones earlier, at season 1, when i was 14, but i was caught up watching Breaking Bad, Dexter and The Sopranos on DVD, I think it’s ok for 12-13 > to watch it, if your mature. Sure it’s violent, i love violence in movies and TV, but that doesn’t mean i like violence in real life, i hate violence in real life, i hate watching the news when their taking about bombings and murders. I’m a big movie buff, and i love stuff like, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez (not including… Read more »
mom in touch with reality

Many parents are absurdly controlling and limiting rubystars (just read all the other comments here). Of course teens are going to try to do these things anyway, that’s human nature. Allowing your kids to watch these shows with you (and openly discussing these issues) creates a much more honest and open relationship. You expect them to come talk to you about real life sex questions after you tell them this show is taboo? Or do you honestly believe your children are virgins until 18?

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