Monday, March 26, 2012

Movie Choices for Children: Where do you draw the line?

As stated in my previous post, we went to see the Hunger Games the other day. In this post I want to talk about parenting choices with movies. Granted I don't have any children of my own, this type of thing I still think of strongly and when I have my own kids I would hope I feel the same way.

The Hunger Games is graphic. Bloody. Killing. This is all very well known if anyone has done any research or read the books. There is a point in the book and movie where a girl is stung to death and it is really very gross in both. There are terrified screams as someone gets stabbed or eaten by man made dog. It's not like the Chronicles of Narnia where there are battle scenes and people get shot by an arrow, this is more vivid. It has to be because that is how the story goes.

I knew what the movie was about and I would never allow my younger children to watch something like the Hunger Games. While at the theater, there was a family who sat in front of us. They had three little girls age around 2, 5, and 9. Since I knew what the movie was about, I was really upset before it even began that those little girls were in that theater. It wouldn't matter if they had been little boys, they shouldn't be watching something like that. It was quite obvious that the girls had no idea what the movie was about except possibly the older girl. As the movie progressed, I got even more upset. The two year old was down at the end of the aisle curled up in another family members arms being comforted because of the scary parts in the movie. The five year old was sitting right in front of me and had her head turned into her dad's shoulder, scared, the majority of the movie. The nine year old was trying to comfort the younger sister and because of that didn't show she was scared. Why would you do this to your kids? The parents saw their children and didn't do anything. They grinned and kept watching the movie. Mind you I was paying attention because I was about to grab the girl and take her outside myself!

When I was a little my parents were pretty strict on what we watched. We watched Disney and movies that they knew about or had seen. If they thought it was appropriate and that we weren't going to have nightmares about, they let us watch. Movies have a powerful effect on a younger person's mind, not to say what they can do to older people!

I would love to hear feedback on this matter. My sister has a little boy who is five and she will not go see a movie that is graphic unless she has a babysitter or can watch it at home when he is asleep. Children are suppose to respect their parents but do the parents ever consider what it means to respect the child? These kids don't even know what they will be watching and don't have much of a choice when they are in a theater.

 Research the movie, no matter what the rating. Ratings are so fickle these days you never know what the movie will involve. Find a baby sitter. Watch something before the child does so you know what the movie is about. Be patient and wait until it's on DVD. If it is going to be a bit more graphic, talk to the child about it. For a Christian perspective there are many resources of people who review movies from this perspective. Plugged In is an example of a magazine that has music and movie reviews.

I understand that children will see these things eventually and that bad things happen in life. BUT younger children do not need to see these things and have nightmares about it. They won't forget stuff like that. How many of us remember that one movie that scared us so bad when we were little we still won't watch it today? Maybe it had been age appropriate but it still was kind of scary.

I would love to hear feedback from parents on this matter. It's just something to think about.


Rachel said...

I agree my parents might not have started out that way but they did eventually come to that conclusion. And I myself dont want my children to see something that is beyond them in understanding let alone graphic if I cant find a good reason for them to watch then they wont kids dont need to be plopped in front of the tv to be happy.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the comment!! I would agree and you have a kiddo..almost two!

Callie said...

OH, I'm so far behind on my blog reading, but this post is so good Michelle! I completely agree - it's shocking to me what kind of movies some people let their kids watch! There are even certain "kids" movies that I would save until my kids are a little older (like Tangled - that part where the stepmother shrivels up and dies is kind of scary!). Thanks for writing about this, I think it's important to protect our children's minds until they are old enough to handle this kind of thing.

Julie said...

Michelle.... I really agree with you on this one. I think it very important to protect our children from a lot of the junk that at the movies and on TV. I was a Nazi when it came to this subject. We also discussed in great lengths about what we watch or going to watch. I also stressed that the movies and tv was people acting so it was like make believe. Just like when they did their Christmas plays, etc. like the warnings on a lot of the shows "these are professionals do not attempt this at home". That general idea.. except know it does work -- the first thing Walt & Chances does after the watch some impossible shot or something! Back to being serious -- great thoughts!