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Don’t blame Nollywood for what your children watch

You sign your child up on Instagram and Facebook and you want to blame Nollywood and celebrities for their bad behaviours? What have you been smoking?

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A family watching a television

Some time ago, I came across a story in which the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) expressed worry about the paucity of G-rated movies in the industry.

Simple English, Nollywood producers are no longer making movies that our children can watch.

Some of us who can relate with statements like “Iyama...they are showing their pant” or “Daddy, they are shooting, they are bad people” will understand why the board is worried.

In a recent review, the Executive Director of the censors’ board, Adedayo Thomas, wondered why producers had become focused on producing movies for mature viewers only.

“The creativity of the Nigerian movie maker and scriptwriter is being challenged to address the scanty offering in this segment,” he noted.

There is nothing wrong with his submission, but I feel this is a battle fast becoming too late to start, let alone win.

Perhaps, check out how well the few G-rated movies have done in the market would have been a cleverer way for the board to understand why producers have lost inspiration for the children’s content.

We need to understand that filmmaking is a business and if movies with violence, sex and vulgar language continue to perform better in the box office, you cannot blame the movie makers.

If our society chooses to consume these mature contents more than the ones that are rated clean, then reversing the trend should start from society, shouldn’t it?

The role of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has really been reduced in our current realities. The days when we only saw movies when we bought them or borrowed them at video clubs or from neighbours are far gone.

The days when children sat before their TV sets, watching colour bars for hours till 4 PM when television stations opened are far gone. We now have 24-hour cable TV and our kids now own smartphones and tabs with some even connected to the internet.

While cable TV provides them with more than enough content, they now also have online access to games, cartoons and movies.

So, one would ask, with YouTube and the many video-on-demand platforms like IrokoTV, Netflix and others springing up in Nigeria, what exactly is left for NFVCB to censor?

Many Nigerians will probably see the complaints by the board as the pain of an analogue organization that is fast losing relevance in a digital age but I see it as a wakeup call to the fact that censoring what our children watch has slipped away from our censors’ board and Nollywood itself.

Nollywood star, Kalu Ikeagwu, said: “I find that disturbing because I have a daughter and its always on my mind what kind of moral, we bring her up with.

Also, read Oscars' Lion Heart disqualification: Is English Nigeria’s official language?

“But you must also take into consideration that the culture is becoming more global. And with the advent of cable and the internet, particularly YouTube, that restriction of content is not really there (anymore).

“So, making a movie, the censor's board really doesn’t have that much control over the content as it used to because we’ve got a lot of media to show it through.

“I’ll be hard-pressed to have much optimism in the hope that there could be some sort of censorship. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Now that parents have cable TV at home and refuse to password it; when we hand smart phones to minors and they are without a parental lock, we cannot blame censors board or Nollywood for the moral decadence.

You sign your child up on Instagram and Facebook and you want to blame Nollywood and celebrities for their bad behaviours? What have you been smoking?

Nollywood makes movies to make money and there is an audience for every content. The best a content producer and the distributor can do is to label their content appropriate for you to make an informed decision.

If you then cannot make that informed decision, and you cannot tell your 10-year-old to avoid a movie rated 16, then it’s your choice.

The truth is, you cannot blame Nollywood for what your children watch, or National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) for the images and information they are exposed to.

Follow Keni Akintoye on all social media platforms @keniakintoye

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