Warning: Don’t send little children to ‘Harry Potter’ alone

2009-07-16 00:00

PARENTS of children under the age of 10 could be putting them at harm by taking them to see the latest Harry Potter film.

Some cinemagoers who saw the film when it opened on Wednesday said they were shocked to see very young children at CineCentre, because Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince contains disturbing scenes that have caused some viewers to scream.

The Film and Publications Board (FPB) has given the movie a 10 MV rating, which means no children under 10 will be allowed to see it unless accompanied by an adult. It says the film contains some scenes of violence that might be “distressing or upsetting to children under 10”.

Asked why the FPB has given the film a 10MV rating, a spokeswoman said the board is concerned about the elements of threat and menace in the fantasy feature.

“There is also a dark edge to the movie, to do with magic, wizardry and spell casting; and violence occurs occasionally although it is generally mild,” she added. “But with parental accompaniment for guidance and comfort, this movie is suitable for children.”

The Witness called CineCentre and SterKinekor to ask what their policies are about letting children under 10 see the film.

Ryan Waters, marketing manager for SterKinekor, said: “We do enforce the restrictions … as much as we can because we are required by law to do so. Our staff also hand out Film and Publications Board brochures to give parents information about the classifications.”

CineCentre has a similar policy. “We explain the situation to parents, and we definitely won’t let children who look very young see the film,” said a spokesman, “but ultimately it is up to the parents to decide whether they believe their children are mature enough …”

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