QUESTION:

What does CA consider harmful matter to minors? What can I not share with my children, specifically in the way of sex education and sexual materials?

ANSWER:

Penal Code Section 313 defense harmful matter as “matter, taken as a whole, which to the average person, applying contemporary statewide standards, appeals to the prurient interest, and is matter which, taken as a whole, depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct and which, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.” I don’t believe that a direct corollary can be drawn between the MPAA rating system and the legal distinction of harmful matter, that is usually a determination that has to be made by a jury.

As to your question regarding educational materials, Penal Code Section 313.3 states, “it shall be a defense in any prosecution for a violation of this chapter that the act charged was committed in aid of legitimate scientific or educational purposes.” However, using commercially produced cinema toward that end is probably a very poor decision. And I would also refer you to California Penal Code Section 647.6.

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