Man at His Best

5-Year-Olds Tell Us What “Unsuitable For The Young” Means To Them

More often than not, adults project their ideals and ideas onto children with little to no regard of how they feel. It’s a common occurrence because we think we know better. The truth is, sometimes we don’t. 

BY EDITORS | May 12, 2016 | Culture

Video by Yuthika Peiris (aka Mr. Moo-Moo Cameraman, according to the kids)


An “Unsuitable For The Young” sticker on a magazine cover, to most, is a precursor to nipples and butt cracks. To our friends at The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), it’s a requirement for adult interest magazines that, we quote, “carry mature content”, and consists of clauses like, “Models dressed in skimpy and see-through clothes can be featured but without revealing a women’s nipples, genitals or pubic hair” and “The cover pages (i.e. front and back) must not feature mature content (e.g. models in revealing clothes or captions with sexually explicit or coarse language)”. 

To Esquire, it was an opportunity to uncover what’s really unsuitable for the young. And we did that by flying around the world to report on the lives of children, something that culminated in hard-hitting stories about young Muay Thai fighters in Thailand who compete in illegal tournaments to lessen the burden of their impoverished families as well as the frightening causes and tormenting effects of acid attacks on young women in India

At some point during the issue’s production, however, we realised we had forgotten to ask the children what they thought. More often than not, adults project their ideals and ideas onto children with little to no regard of how they feel. It’s a common occurrence because we think we know better. The truth is, sometimes we don’t. 

So we picked up the phone, called Between Two Trees Preschool, and asked if their students had a thing or two to say and draw about what “Unsuitable For The Young” meant. What followed was pure unplanned and unrehearsed brilliance.