Carding Kids at the Movies

June 15, 1999

Theater owners recently announced a crackdown on underage teens who sneak into R-rated films. Although President Clinton took credit for the move, theater owners said they were planning on the action even before the president spoke on the issue a few weeks ago.

President Clinton said, "The great thing about the multiplex is that there's a movie for every member of the family. But not every movie is made for every member of the family. . . . When you drop them off, you shouldn't have to worry about your G-rated kids getting into violent or suggestive R-rated movies. Too often children do get past the ticket counter, unescorted and underage."

All these actions, of course, are the result of public outrage over school shootings. While it's not clear how enforcing ratings standards will prevent further school shootings, I still applaud this action by the theater owners.

Not everyone is applauding though. Lawyer Alan Dershowitz (known for pushing through the NC-17 rating in 1990 to remove the X-rated stigma off adult films) believes that the president's statements have complicated the issue and increased governmental intrusion. How long will it be before a lawsuit is brought? Not long, I suppose.

Meanwhile teenagers greet the news with a yawn. They know which movie theaters check for age and which don't. And they know that if they show up with a group, they may not get checked as long as someone has ID showing they are 17 years or older.

So while this action by theater owners is a positive step, don't expect things to change that much. Kids who want to see R-rated films will still try to find a way to do so.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.