This is a slightly different post, the first time I am allowing myself to publish my self-assessed opinion. I only had this blog for two weeks, but I think the time is right to get ‘creative’.
Now, what children should be exposed to is a very big issue, I do not believe anyone would deny that. If you can pardon my expression, I get into a lot of shit for that myself. In fact, the issue is so vast I do not know where to start, and I will keep it short.
In my opinion, which I dare believe is based on facts, there is nothing wrong with allowing a child to watch adult movies (this obviously excludes profanity, I hope this much is self-explanatory). But there is way more to it.
I am not a mother, but I have done some babysitting and I did have to pretty much raise my sister with the help of my grandfather (who at the time has lung cancer, which soon moved to his brain), and it was not the easiest task, especially since I hated the child. I do not like little babies; I cannot deal with them. But I do love children and as it is, I guess, usually with older siblings (the gap between me and the little one is 15 years) I have developed a really good relationship with my sister, to the point of glorification on her part.I think the issue here is clear enough not to waste time on too much detail, but to have a quick word it is the exposure of the child’s mind to things we as adults often find hard to deal with; things that are such big parts of our emotional life that we want to spare them to the young while we can. This would include violence, death, political incorrectness and so on.
The most recent trouble I’ve gotten into was a few days ago, when I took my 7y-o sister to see the Avengers; she, under the influence of mass-media brainwash wanted to see it, having no idea what the film is about. The Avengers is rated as 12, so anyone under that age can watch it accompanied by adult, which in that case was me and my mother. This, apparently, is irresponsible parenting, since there is so much bullshit going on with kids believing themselves to be Superheros and unknowingly committing suicide, or just the basic exposure to thing-not-for-kids.
I think this type of objection is more than mere ignorance of facts – is plain stupidity. It all depends on the parents, of course. Many people who have children, and this is sad, do not realize how brilliant a child’s mind is, and that you can actually have a deep, logical conversation with them if you only know how to communicate. My sister has been explained that films about superheroes are not real, and that it is not possible to e.g. fly, as it is against the laws of nature. She understood how that works very well, and her only ‘objection’ was that “but it would be soooo cool if the Avengers were real.” Besides, speaking of the Avengers – none of them is naturally superhuman, which every child can grasp if they are being explained it – they are an effect of genetic modification, and no one needs to know the details of it to understand how Iron Man’s suit works.
As to the violence and death, as long as we don’t make them watch old Peter Jackson with guts and limbs flying around – there is nothing wrong with that either. It is all a part of life and the sooner they learn that the better. People get hurt and they die. Every child has ripped their knee and seen blood, quite a few had to deal with the death of a family member. If anything, films make it all the easier especially since these topics are hard to talk about. What is more important, they allow the child to develop their own understanding of the world – as well as it is well-guided – and develop sympathy, my biggest issue. I know this is all in the cartoons too, but it’s an early stage. From six years on, we need to make a step forward. Films usually have a message, and the simple ones we are talking about here are usually about the basic struggle between good and evil and the development of personality. It is just that step over the gap between a cartoon and real people to enrich the experience of the world. My nightmare is that my child would have to all of a sudden, at some point, face the real world. And think about people you know – how many of your friends strike you as never having any preceding contact with the real world before they actually were forced to enter it? There are too many young people living with a hand still in their nappy, and it takes them too long to learn – if they ever learn.
Taking the Avengers as and example here once again, it is the good guys who win, and it is the kind of thing we need our children to know and aim towards. It took a while to explain to my sister why nuclear weapons are bad, but if I made her watch yet another Disney movie I would never had a chance to explain it. It took a while to explain why is the Hulk a mindless beast, but if I were to make her watch a Disney movie, I would never get that chance either. The argument from the Beauty and the Beast is irrelevant for a number of reasons which I won’t bother with. On the other hand, my sister herself could not understand why I am a fan of Loki, since he is the bad guy who wants to hurt everyone. HOWEVER, however, we watched Thor (2011) later and it all became clear – a 7 years old girl is able to understand the character development and what influence can lead to the so-called ‘evil’ acts (so-called, since if you know me, you know I do not believe in the term evil) and thus develop her understanding of other people and their motivation. Movies for children on the whole do not do that – there is a clear line between good and evil, which is a wrong, terribly wrong moral approach children should not be thought! As Tolkien wrote, nothing is evil from the beginning. Nothing is evil by nature and everyone makes mistakes.
On the other side of that, we recently had a teenager film the Hunger Games. I did not take the little one to see it, but I believe there would be nothing wrong with that. The Hunger Games are way less watcher-friendly than the Avengers, but they are exactly what we need. We need to cut out the crap such as Twilight which teaches little girls nothing, and there has been so much criticism said about it that I shall spare you my very emotional opinion.
Clearly, it all narrows down to the point of education as being there to accompany the young one in their emotional development. I myself had none of that, since my parents were too busy pursuing their careers. No one paid much attention to what I watched either; I was always sat there in the lounge at night watching whatever my parents were watching, not always understanding. And this is to the extent when at the age of probably 7-8 I saw the Interview With the Vampire, which I believe I understood quite well and it became my favorite movie. Because it happens to be not just an another stupid, inconclusive story, but one from which we can draw conclusion and indeed ask valid questions about life. In all fairness, that experience sorted me out – hence why I am pursuing morality at the moment, and why I am into the gruesome side of life.
Final comments? Well, what I heard from my sister was that Thor is hot as hell! Unfortunately, she still doesn’t understand my Bruce Banner feelings.