Saturday 10 December 2016

Parents warned over suitability of Star Wars: The Force Awakens for younger children

Published 10/12/2015 | 10:30

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
star wars
Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Anticipation for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is at fever pitch but the Irish certification of 12A may mean the movie is not suitable for young children.

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That's according to Irsih website MummyPages.ie who are warning parents to "exercise caution and recognise the importance of the classifications imposed on films to protect children and help parents make informed decisions".

The Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) has given the film a 12A classification which means the film is "deemed appropriate for viewers of twelve and over."

However, a 12A film can also be seen by younger children, "provided they are accompanied by an adult who has deemed the film appropriate viewing by that child".

The IFCO takes into account theme/content, violence/threat, sexual content/nudity, language, and drugs in making their classification.

The area which may be of most concern to parents with regards to Star Wars is violence.  A 12A film can include moderate violence and more prolonged threat/horror, particularly when depicted in a fantasy context.

Also, stronger images of injuries may be acceptable if they're justified by the context in which they are presented which could include an accurate depiction of warfare.

The violence in Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been deemed "moderate" by the IFCO.  There are no depictions of drugs and language and sex/nudity is "mild".  In summary it is deemed "sci-fi action violence consistent with the franchise".

Laura Haugh, spokesperson for MummyPages.ie, urges parents to think about the classification.

"We are hearing that a lot of parents are considering taking children as young as 7 years old to see the new Star Wars movie, which is released next week," she said.

"We are hoping that by highlighting its classification as a 12A and reminding parents why the classification process is in place, it will help them make a more informed decision.

"Classifications are there to help parents and caregivers responsible for children with the appropriate guidance as to whether a movie or DVD is suitable viewing for the young people in their care. "

She offers advice for parents whose children may be upset, "If a child is upset by something they've seen, unfortunately they cannot 'un-see' it so it's important to offer some reassurance on the topic to counter their imaginative fantasies which may go into overdrive.

"This is particularly important, if your child is sensitive, is prone to anxiety issues or suffers from nightmares.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 17.

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