Thursday, August 4, 2011

Children's Shows

One of my pet peeves (even before I had Bubba around) is people letting their kids watch TV/movies that are not really age appropriate. I realize every kid is different and every parent is different but it seems as if the only way to know if something is appropriate for your child is to watch it for yourself first. I know these days, if you want your child to see something in the movie theater, watching it yourself first can get kind of expensive. However, it would seem as if the extra money spent by the parent seeing the film first is a small price to pay when you consider the possible nightmares for a small child who sees something they shouldn't. I know for me, once I see something I can't get the picture/scene out of my mind - even years after the fact.

For example, when I went to see Disney's "The Lion King" (way back when) there were quite a few kids including some very young ones in the audience. At one point there is a lot of fire and hyenas are attacking a lion. It's quite a scary scene. Needless to say, there was a lot of crying going on in the theater. How many of those kids had dreams about fire or scary hyenas after seeing that? And if the parent hasn't seen the movie before they can't very well prepare their kid for certain scenes or even know when to cover their eyes/ears. Don't get me wrong, I love "The Lion King." I'm just not sure it's right for very young kids.

I was really surprised when I read that Angelina Jolie took all six of her kids to see the last Harry Potter movie. The oldest is nine years old and the two youngest are only three years old. Harry Potter is rated PG-13 for "intense action violence and frightening images." I can only imagine what kids that young might think of some of the images they saw on the screen. It seems to me as if they wouldn't even know what to make of those images and thus might be even more confused, uncertain, and/or scared. That doesn't even take into account the partial nudity and/or other age inappropriate scenes/themes.

We've tried to limit TV for Bubba. Just within the last month or so have we let him start watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (one or two episodes a day max). Recently we watched an episode ("Donald and the Beanstalk") that really surprised me. The episode starts with Donald telling Mickey he "accidentally" traded his Boo-Boo chicken to the giant for magic beans "that don't do anything." First, I'm not sure how you accidentally trade something - especially your friend/pet. Second, whatever happened to "buyer beware"? Anyway, at one point Donald throws the beans and they grow into giant beanstalks. At which point, doesn't that mean Donald has used the beans? It's not as if he can give the beans back since they don't exist anymore - he has used them up.

So, Mickey and the friends decide to help Donald steal Boo-Boo chicken back. They go up to the giant's house and take the chicken. To top it off they then trick the giant so they can get away from him with "his" chicken. What is that teaching kids? If Mickey thinks it's OK to steal, why not them? The show could have taken the opportunity to teach young kids some kind of mediation-type thing or how about just being honest and telling the giant that Donald regretted trading the chicken and would like him back? There were many ways to resolve the issue without teaching kids it's OK to steal something if/when you want it back.

I won't even get started on the problems I see with both Minnie and Daisy flirting and batting their eyelashes when they want something. It's a kid's show! Any question why little girls are growing up way too fast!?

What do you think? Do/did you let your kids watch TV/movies even if you hadn't seen them before? How old were they before you stopped monitoring what they watched? (and yes, I realize I probably need to loosen up...I've been told that before...many, many times.)

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