I bet you thought I was gonna write a sex scene here, didn’t you? Sorry! Maybe next time!
The Internet is rife with all types of content, some of which is kind of raw for kids. If you’ve got a wide range of readers, how do you keep your content from offending one or more of them?
The MPAA uses X as a rating for films meant to be seen only by adults. This is not a designation purely for sex, but also for exploitive or extremely violent content, unsuitable for minors. The reason people think of it as a sex thing is its heavy use in the pornography industry. Now they use NC-17 to rate non-porn films that are still too heavy on adult content.
You can use some of their guidelines for your own material. In books, hey, anything goes. I wouldn’t expect a nine-year-old to read Rose’s Hostage if (When! When! Not if!) it gets published, so I feel comparatively safe putting some of the old ultra-violence and a bit of in-out in there.
On a blog? Not so much. Here are my own versions for bloggery.
A little kid could read the post and not freak out, get upset or go “Mommy, what does ‘in-out’ mean?” It might be about Hello Kitty. Or my kitty!
Using the term “in-out” makes it PG. I might run naked through the post, but it would only be played for laughs and my naughty bits would be covered.
There will be talk of violence. I might hit someone. There may be a slight slippage of my coverage and a flash of nipple. The subject matter will be controversial, but still okay for people old enough to be thinking about their first prom. One use of the F-bomb in a suggestive manner would catapult me into an R rating, if I were a film.
Now we’re getting into the good stuff. *evilly dry-washes hands* My post about sex scenes could theoretically be rated R for content, even though the worst thing I said was H-E-double hockey sticks. If I posted a knife murder scene as an example (and I have two that are very graphic I could show you), I’d have to put a little warning at the top.
My niece would not be reading any of these posts. Think Cannibal Holocaust, Trainspotting, The Exorcist.
The dreaded X. Bane of non-porn filmmakers who would like to at least make their money back.
Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion on hard topics. But before you delve into the waters of controversy, make sure you’re doing it for a good reason. Is it just to drive traffic to your site, a la shock value, or are you actually contributing a legitimate opinion to the subject?
Take a look at your readership and see who is there. You might want to warn them if you’re going to do something like review a questionable film or book, discuss something divisive, or run free and naked through your post.
A well-defined and prominently-posted comments code comes in handy. On most blogging platforms, you can set your comments for approval before they show up so you can weed out people who are obviously trolling or get out of control.