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Monday, July 09, 2007

Too Young for Ghosts?

So yesterday Madison watched "Ghost Rider" with us. Based on the above picture or your own viewing experience, you might be gasping in horror that I allowed my 3-year-old to watch this. It's a PG-13 rated film, and there is some mild violence. By mild, it's nothing like "Sin City" or "The Godfather", heck it's probably no worse than a Roadrunner cartoon. There weren't any sexual situations, and there wasn't cursing. My only real concern about this movie? I was afraid it would scare her and/or give her nightmares.
When I was a little girl in the 70's, I was always exposed to movies not intended for me. My parents didn't have a babysitter so they'd often take me to the Drive-In so they could catch a movie. I was supposed to fall asleep in the back seat, but a lot of the time I'd stay awake and watch the film. I remember seeing Stephen King's "Carrie" and it scared the crap out of me. Was I scarred because of it? Nah. I would end up watching hundreds of horror movies with my Mom for many years.
What do you think about young children watching movies intended for a slightly older audience? Would you let your three-year-old watch "Ghost Rider" or a movie like it? What about any other age under the PG-13 rating? Any sexual content or words like F-bombs are completely out of the question for me. But I'm willing to bend on some things...
We try to be careful that Madison doesn't watch anything that she shouldn't. After about 30 minutes of the movie I asked her if she was scared or wanted to watch something else. She was totally engrossed, and every once in awhile would ask a question about what was happening. I doubt highly she understood a whole lot of the plot - and the demons did scare her a little. However, there was no screaming, no nightmares, no talk about demons since the movie ended. I can tell you I know she definitely enjoyed the movie (which is more than I can say, I didn't really care for it all that much!).


Otto said...

I don't have kids, so I'm probably the last person in the world to offer parenting advice to anybody, but I'll relay a story:

Years ago, I had a boss with three children from 5-ish to high school-aged. This was about the time Starship Troopers came out. I mentioned to her that I went to see it. She asked me if it would be appropriate for her kids. "Your oldest could see it," I told her. "But I wouldn't take your youngest."

When she asked why, I told her it was a very graphic, violent movie.

About a week or so later, she tells me her brother took her kids to see it. "You didn't tell me about the nudity," she said.

I had to jog my memory a bit because I honestly didn't remember it. It was one or two scenes that were so fleeting they barely registered. I mean, it wasn't anywhere near Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct territory.

In my mind, though, I was a bit surprised she was more concerned about that than the numerous people getting blown up.

Perhaps I'm naive, but I wouldn't think a 5-year old would sexualize the nudity in the movie but could certainly get upset by bloody violence.

I suppose it depends on the child and the context.

An80sNut said...

I actually had this conversation with my girlfriend Kerry. She didn't think that her son David would be able to deal with the demon aspect of the film. He's 9 (if you ask him, he's 9 1/2) and yes, there will be a point when he takes that step from Pixar films to the scarier movies. I'm not going to rush it, though.

I do think that children can be desensitized to sex and violence in film. I have a co-worker that lets his girls 7 and 9 watch Hostel, Saw... and about any horror film that comes out. I believe that might be going too far but that's just me. Parents will parent. I'm just happy that you checked on her during the film as that's what Parental Guidance is. B)

BeckEye said...

I started watching "The Twilight Zone" reruns when I was about 5 or 6. I've always loved scary stories, shows and movies. Still do. I'm not a fan of the slasher genre, but I still love a well-written ghost story.

Nik said...

I can't really offer any parental advice, but I just wanted to commend you for watching the movie with her and getting her take on it after awhile. In this day in age, it seems quite common for parents to sit their kids in front of the tv and not pay too much attention to what they are watching. It's cool that you gave her the choise to watch something else too. Too many people are not involved enough in what their kids are getting into, watching, etc., so good on ya!

Vegas Princess said...

Well I wouldn't let her watch Ghost Rider just because the movie sucked. But that's my morals getting in the way there. I don't like subjecting young children to crappy movies. :)

I think if the parent sees a film and knows it is something their kid can handle it is up to them what their kids watch. Different children can handle different things. It is up to the parents to decide what is appropriate for them to see.

Now, bringing a two year-old in to see Grindhouse in the theatre (which we saw happen)...uncalled for.