Across the country today, motion pictures have become the key source of entertainments to many homes and families, everyone now hangs on the contents of the movie industry because it is seen as a potent means of getting a whole household informed, educated and above all, disburden the daily stress accumulated in one’s mind as a result of the day to day activities and this is usually achieved through the relaxation and amusement features of the movies. Ever since every household could easily possess a television and video player, many film lovers have replaced their early cinema going culture with video tapes and compact discs, thereby, shrinking the movie audience from its original crowded nature to a small number of persons spending their few free hours relaxing in front of the television at home. However, in recent times, there has been a rapid advancement in technology of which its contribution to the growth of a country has also reflected on cinematography as well as the ways by which movie contents are accessed. Nowadays, people now hit the like of youtube, weblogs and google websites to see movies of their choice online without having to gather in the sitting room with one’s folks just to watch the latest edition of a soap opera or a TV drama.
In Nigeria and other countries of the world, there are certain procedures movies undergo before they are finally released for public consumption. These procedures, however, are established primarily to review the contents of the movies produced in a country in order to censor some unethical or objectionable materials that may be present in them. More so, after a thorough examination on these movies to make sure they are neither offensive nor a undermining national security, they are further rated according to their contents, considering the viewers of these movies as some of the contents are not supposed to be consumed by children under a particular age range. The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), a parastatal of the federal ministry of information and communication in Nigeria is mandated by Act 85 of 1993 to define and enforce standards through the classification, distribution and exhibition of film and video works in Nigeria. The classification function of this body, thus, makes it its responsibility to analyze the entire contents of every film produced in Nigeria and assign their viewership to categories. This classification includes; “G” (green sign) for films that are suitable for all ages, “PG” (green sign)for parental guidance advised, “RE” (red sign)for films that are to be exhibited and distributed only in specially licensed premises, “18” (red sign)for films that are not suitable for children under the age of 18 etc. The main motive of this rating is to prevent children who are often vulnerable to the emotional dangers of films from getting exposed to the contents of a movie that are meant for only mature minds.
Many a time, movies like romance and horror films are rated “PG” or “12A” and that is because the contents of the film may be too heavy for a shallow minded viewer to accommodate and when heavily consumed, it may result in moral uncertainties or ethical deformation among teenagers. Therefore, parents also have some roles to play in making sure that the motive of film rating in Nigeria is optimally achieved.
Often times, Nigerian parents do not read meanings to the classification of the movie they watch along with their children. They overlook the signs inscribed on the film jackets and even invite their children to join them so they all could see the movie together, without having the knowledge that the content of the film may have some undesirable effects on the children. For instance, it is no news again that children within the age of 7 to 10 have been caught having sexual intercourse, and people keep asking; What is this world turning to? Whereas, these children in question may have been exposed heavily to sexually romantic scenes on the television from which they learnt the act, hence, in order for them to confirm if truly what they saw in the television is pleasurable as it was being portrayed by the actors, they also put it into practice and over time, they become fond of the act and subsequently consider it normal.
Perhaps, there may be a decline in morality among children if parents continue to take the importance of film rating with flippancy. Most of the absurd things done by young males and females today are often learnt from the movies they expose themselves to. A seven year old boy who picks up his father’s gun and shoots the housekeeper had probably seen something like that in the movies because such is totally out of intuition. Therefore, all parents are advised to always inspect the kind of movies their children watch and also make sure the age rating that follows them are strictly adhere to.
Adeleke, a student of the UNN is on internship with Saturday Tribune.