Post # 1
So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about violence in entertainment. Fiance and I don’t own very many DVDs, but he is one of those people who tends to watch the same 5 movies several times a year. Recently he purchased and has watched Pulp Fiction and Scarface several times.
Now, I don’t necessarily mind violence in movies. I’ve always enjoyed action and war movies. But I’m finding that as I get older, my tolerance for violence itself as entertainment, as opposed to it being a part of the plot, is less and less.
Then I read this quote: “We have, it is clear, reached the lively dead end of a process that was initiated by a fretful Martin Scorsese and inflamed, with less embarrassed glee, by Tarantino: the process of knowing everything about violence and nothing about suffering.” – Anthony Lane
Now, that is a little dense, but the way I read it it says that we all probably are exposed to far, far more violence as entertainment than we are exposed to its consequences.
Which gets me to my question: if you are going to have kids, how do you plan to handle violence in entertainment? Is it something your Fiance agrees on? Do you or he consume a lot of violent entertainment?
Post # 3
Oooh this is going to get some responses! I happen to agree with you, I can appreciate a gory war flick or whatever with the rest of them, but I don’t want to watch it non-stop. There’s a lot that’s pretty over the top and if I don’t want to watch it, I don’t. Free will right?
Now for kids. Ugh. Sticky subject we’re getting into here. Personally, I won’t be letting my kids watch a lot of todays “super hero” type movies until they’re older. My nephew (who’s 5) goes to them all the time and has been watching the Jurassic Park movies since he was 2 or 3. I really really really don’t agree with it but I’ve kept my mouth closed about it, he’s not my kid. I think a lot of violence in movies is glorified and there are no consequences, it’s scary to me. Kids can’t process cause/effect like adults can or distinguish very well between truth and fiction. That being said, my nephew who loves Jurassic Park loves dinosaurs and has a keen interest in learning about animals, it’s not like he runs around pretending he’s a T-Rex trying to rip other kids arms off, LOL!
Thankfully Fiance and I both agree that we’re really going to limit the amount of TV and computer time our kids will have. When his son comes for weekends we rarely watch TV and he might get to play Thomas games on the latptop for an hour over the course of two days. Parents aren’t perfect, we all make mistakes, but we’re responsible for what our children watch and do when we’re together. We just try to make the best choices and decisions we can!
Post # 4
I think when my children are old enough to know explicitly right from wrong, I’ll allow them to see the movies (I’m not sure what age that will be). However, I think explanations along with the movies is a good idea. I just don’t think shielding them from everything will help them, eventually they’re going to watch these movies…
Post # 5
We both think television should be extremely limited for children… even non-violent programs. It is kind of amazing to me that people can literally be brutally tortured on prime-time television, but if there is a shot of a nipple it’s the end of the world.
Post # 6
I totally agree, sheltering your kids is not the way to go. Deciding though what’s age appropriate is a heck of a lot more rational than saying “Hey, turn off Barney and let’s go see X-Men!”.
Post # 7
Question: Does anyone else remember the first time they heard a swear word on TV? I remember watching Friends and Phoebe saying “You guys are like my b!tches now” and being SHOCKED beyond belief. Now people are swearing left right and centre! It’s unbelievable!!! I find it really offensive and I have a propensity to swear like a sailor, but I would never do it in front of my nephews or stepson! Why should they be able to hear that language on tv?!
Post # 8
I took Social Psych this past quarter, and the issue on the influence of violence in TV/movies on children is scary. (Although, interesting thing, it affects boys much more.) Even when controlling for factors like SES, abusive parents, etc, boys who were exposed to media violence had a statistically higher incidence of being put in jail for a violent crime later in life. We have always been the type of people to not watch slasher films or whatever, but like you, we’ll watch action/suspense/mystery things that inevitably have violence.
I know I won’t be able to limit our kids from violence entirely, and I probably wouldn’t want to entirely, since I don’t want them to be terrified when they see it at a friend’s house, or at school, etc. But I will control for what type of violence. I don’t want to show our kids meaningless slasher/horror film violence and I really want to focus on things besides TV, like books, toys, art, music, etc, although they will be allowed to watch TV.
Post # 9
@Angela83: Yeah, I think it’s quite ridiculous as well! Breasts in my opinion are primarily for feeding…but alas, the public disagrees.
Post # 10
Not a fan of children watching violent tv shows or playing violent games. not at all. in fact, i’m not a big fan of too much electronic stimulation, anyways. we will be heavily emphasizing that what’s on tv isn’t real and waiting until our children can understand better what’s right and what’s wrong and what’s fake television before subjecting them to violent or sexual movies. we both like cop/crime shows, unfortunately. I don’t classify law and order as violent, but i could see how a child could be disturbed by it all. In a perfect world, they’ll choose to play and build with legos and play outside and the like instead of watching television.
Post # 11
Good question! This is something I am still unsure about because Fiance and I had totally opposite movie “rules” growing up. Pulp Fiction, in particular, was a movie that my parents (and my best friend’s parents) got together and told us “you must NEVER, EVER, watch that movie.” We were 9/10 when it came out. Now, what did that do? It made us extremely curious and we very quickly were able to get our hands on it through an older brother or something…I forget how exactly. Kids always find a way though. My friend and I were SO not ready for that movie and shut it off on our own. I gave it a try again when I was 17 and now it’s one of my favs.
Technically, my first “allowed” Rated “R” movie I was able to watch when I was 15 or and it was only because my parents viewed the film first and thought it was good (Dangerous Minds, anyone?)
Fiance basically raised himself so he never had any restrictions set for him as far as violent movies. He saw em at all at a very young age…Natural Born Killers, all Tarantino Movies, you name it. He thinks kids are smart enough to decide what is too much for them and what is not—based on how he grew up. I tend to think he’s giving our unborn children a little too much credit!
But I dunno, even though I was very sheltered growing up my favorite movies now tend to be gory and violent. Even if it’s campy, over the top gore like Evil Dead. One of my favorite movies of all time is Kill Bill. So…yeah…I guess I am very undecided about to handle this with my own children. Thank goodness that’s still a few years away!
Post # 12
@bakerella: I don’t remember hearing curse words as a child in television (my dad cursed a lot though) but I do remember watching The Simpson’s and even as young as 4, I was watching 60 minutes and other newsprograms (which scared the hell out of me–worried about eating ground beef because of madcow or nuclear war).
Post # 13
@beekiss2: I totally get what you are saying. That is why I think that I would be okay with a war movie before being okay with a video game like Grand Theft Auto. But that comes to one of my thoughts on this: sheltering kids from something like Grand Theft Auto or Kill Bill (now, I assume none of us would expose a 10 year old to either of these, just naming extremes) is not like sheltering them from reality. This kind of violence is unreality. It is fake and violence for its own sake. I think it is this sort of thing that really concerns me.
Post # 14
Totally agree with Angela 83! I would be more worried about my kid seeing a scary episode of on TV than a topless woman.
When it comes to violence on TV and video games, I honestly think it’s ridiculous how much there is, but I also support the creator’s right to make the programming. If it’s out there, we just won’t allow our kid to watch it, and wouldn’t fault the creators. A PP mentioned that until they reach a certain age, kids aren’t able to process situations like adults, and that’s he main reason why we would “shelter” them a bit from violent programming. We plan on being very open parents and explaining things as realistically as possible, but if we can deter our kids from violence until a certain age, we will.
And, as others have said, we plan on eliminating TV/video games/computer time as much as possible. We plan to save those activities for rainy days when outdoor games aren’t possible.
Post # 15
I definitely plan on “staggering” (is that the right word?) access to violet/sexual TV/movies. Neither FH or I play video games, so we should be able to dodge that bullet for a few years, but we do watch a fair amount of violent movies, which of course, are totally inappropriate for children. My mom outright banned programs and movies when we were little, which worked when we were really little (she used to just tell me and my brother that we “didn’t get that channel” and we believed her LOL boy we were naïve!), but that didn’t work when we were a little older.
Honestly, I’m more concerned with me and FH’s behavior, than with tv. Part of the reason we don’t hit dogs/pets to train them is that it shows that hitting (however lightly) is an acceptable form of training/way to get what you want. Same goes with spanking kids (I was spanked as a kid, have no “damage”, but it wasn’t a deterrent either, so it was a waste of time). I don’t want my kids to think hitting people/animals is an acceptable behavior or way to get what you want, or is what you do when you get angry. Screaming and yelling at each other in front of kids shows them that that is an acceptable and normal way to argue.
Kids do what they see in the home (for the most part) – which is why you hear so much “well, it’s just what I know, it’s how I was raised”.
We don’t scream at each other as it is, it’s not how we argue, but that’s the kind of stuff I’m more worried about – I think those are the lessons kids pick up more easily – what YOU are doing, rather than what a “shoot ‘em up” action figure is doing. That said though, of course tv options will be limited, based on age/maturity/what they can handle, and music, art, outside activities and imagination games will be encouraged! 🙂
Post # 16
If I wouldn’t want my future child to see something in real life (say, someone being punched in the face), I wouldn’t let him or her watch it on tv or in movies. A child particularly cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality in the same way adults do. I also personally can’t stomach watching any form or torture and will leave a movie if there’s an unexpected scene that features someone intentionally inflicting pain on another person. I think it’s grotesque, and I see it as being as provocative and extreme as hardcore pornography. I totally feel @Angela83 about the double standards around sex and violence. You don’t see children’s cartoon characters casually making out, but you see them blow each other up!
If anyone wants to read more about violence in the media on kids, google Bandura and Bobo the Clown. Really interesting study dating back to the 1960’s!