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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you guys think? I hosted some friends of mine and their 11 year old son over the week. He's a cool kid--into sports, makes good grades, and seems to have a lot of friends. But his parents I think are overprotective about everything. None of my business though, and they're parents and I'm not, so what do I know.


Well, we decided to watch a movie, and of course because of the season and seeing that I have about 650 DVDs, he wasn't interested in seeing "Toy Story" or "Aladdin", but pulled out several horror flicks, including "Poltergeist", "Darkness Falls", the "Alien" Quad set, "The Haunting", "Sleepy Hollow" and "Ghost Ship." The parents nixed them all, and of course I respected their wishes. We ended up watching "The Addams Family," which is a good, amusing movie. But it's not what he wanted to see.


I mean come on. When I was 9 my parents took me to see the "Amityville Horror". At 12 we went to Poltergeist. Both scared the bejesus out of me, but now they're two of my favorite movie going memories. Horror movies to me are a rite of passage. Of course I would never show an 11 year old something like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Frailty", or "The Exorcist," but do you think a horror film is really that bad for a kid? If he wants to see it, then don't you think he's ready for it, and knows what to expect? I think he's going to be a wuss or else very rebellious. You guys with kids, what's your policy?
 

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While you obviously have to respect the parents' wishes, I personally think it's overprotective and counterproductive for parents to forbid an 11 year old from seeing movies like the ones you named. First off, kids that age today are exposed to more mature content at school and with friends each day, so for parents to act like it's 1956 and "I Love Lucy" is the most mature programming suitable for kids that age, is unrealistic, overbearing, prudish, and will likely cause resentment. I want my kids to grow up having an open, mutually respectful relationship with their parents where the rules are very clear but very reasonable, and take into account the simple truth that they are going to be no more harmed by a little unrealistic violence or brief nudity than I was at their age. In fact, reasonable parents will have to take it as a given that their kids are exposed to a bit more knowledge about mature subjects than they were at that age, and should IMHO take this into account when determining appropriate viewing limits. Anyone clueless about middle schoolers of today really needs to see the HBO Family documentary Middle School Confessions --treating 11 year olds like 5 year olds does nothing but foster resentment and rebelliousness.


A gratuitous TV-14 or TV-MA show like *Nip/Tuck*--not for my kids at 10 or 11. A deeper show without the gratuitousness, despite occasional dark and mature TV-14 subtexts, like *Buffy*? Absolutely--in fact I have 8 year old cousins who've seen and adore even the "dark and mature" seasons of the show, albeit with some of the more sexually revealing episodes skipped over. A gratuitous Rated R sex romp like *American Pie*? Not for my middle schoolers. A somewhat explicit, but very instructive and positive Rated R film like Lost and Delirious --yes. In fact, a cousin of mine who's 12 was starting to make some unkind and unaccepting references about homosexuals, and I had a talk with his parents about letting him watch that movie. The next time he stayed over at my house we watched it among other movies, and later had a talk--not a lecture--about the lesbian teen couple in the movie. A few shots of bare breasts and girls kissing certainly didn't scar him, and he gained an appreciation for tolerance of homosexuality and that gay couples just want the same thing straight couples do. He hasn't made the same unaccepting references since.


Sex seems to be the peculiar American worry when it comes to what we try to hide from our kids--the legacy of our Puritanism. Most Europeans would laugh at some of the tame, even healthy depictions in film or TV which many Americans don't want their kids seeing. The presence of a healthy, non-exploitive, non-graphic love scene would never stop me from allowing my own middle schoolers to see an otherwise acceptable movie. Again, 11 or 12 or 13 isn't 5 or 6 or 7, despite the denials of many American parents who still think it's 30 years ago. Young adolescents are going to be exposed to certain subjects in their peer groups anyway--better that their parents make it a point to allow some healthy not-too-graphic portrayals of romantic relationships to seep into their kids' "acceptable viewing racks".


As for violence, non-realistic portrayals are quite acceptable by me. My 8 year old cousins didn't go around kicking and staking their classmates after watching several seasons of *Buffy*--though they do pretend to be Willow or Xander fighting vampires in the front yard, no differently from playing Cowboys and Indians. Kids know the difference between pretend violence and real violence--the few who don't would become offenders even without seeing some violent movies. Typical R-Rated horror movies are even less realistic than a PG-13 Jackie Chan flick--ghosts, aliens, monsters, and witches aren't exactly likely to inspire real-life bad behaviour. Personally, my parents allowed me to see films like *Halloween* when I was around 8 or 10 and aside from making me think twice about going into dark rooms alone for a little while there were no ill effects. If I had an especially timid child horror films would be out of the question, otherwise I'm fine with the unrealistic stuff. *Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer*, no bloody way. *Sleepy Hollow*--I'd consider myself a sheltering cultist if I said no.


Just my opinions, though. :)
 

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Thoughtful post Sergei, i pretty much agree.


When i was a kid i sought horror flicks out with a passion, when Alien came out in the theaters i wanted to see it SO bad but couldnt.


When Salems Lot came out on tv i couldnt watch it, i grew up like most other normal kids in this country with divorced parents so my mother was the sole provider and wasnt home much with her 2-3 jobs so when she said no to a scary movie it was no.


She didnt have time to investigate each movie i wanted to see and have a balanced view on such things, anyhow..


When i hit my teens i snuck into every rated R horror flick i could and looking back on it now, it would have made a big difference to have an adult with me to give me some realistic feedback, oh well such is life.


I saw The Excorcist at 12 while visiting friends and the adults were away to dinner, i was alone in this big assed house and i about shat myself, it really effected me to the bone, also Phantasm messed me up man, lol that movie scared the begeezus out of me as a kid.

But i LOVED the stuff, i ate it up..and still do as an adult to an extent.

Who knows what a movie like The Ring would have done to me as a 10-12 year old.


Movies today are 10 times more realistic, bloody, violent then most the movies back in the day.


I can honestly(this isnt easy to admit)say that as an adult im still scared of the dark, I dont know why other than maybe all those movies i watched as a kid might have had a real effect on me.


..Or maybe im still just a big fat kid in a grown mans body at age 34, lol.

Anyhow im not sure where the heck i stand on this subject but i do think Sergei is on the right track.


Edit: I do think one thing is universal, the more our parents are involved with kids the better, some are going to be over protective like my sister(devout Christian and very stern.)who has two wonderful daughters coming of age and you can surely tell they want to experience those things that adults do and that includes the scary movies.:eek:
 

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Good post Sergei.


The real issue is letting kids less than 8 watch violence on TV/movies. Since this kid was 11, as long as no OTHER kids were 8 or younger, than horror movies can be seen.


In case you are interested, the 8 or younger rule comes from psychological research showing that children that age have a hard time separating real-life from imagination. You would effectively cause them to 'witness' that much actual violence. This has the effect of desensitizing the child and creating a situation where they are significantly less adverse to violence to others.


Chris.
 

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Why not start them out on the Toho classics such as Godzilla, Mothra and the like? Then they can graduate to the real scary stuff. I watched the original Godzilla with my then 6 year old daughter when she was home sick from school and it was a true dad-daughter bonding movie.
 

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When I was growing up my parents didn't shield me from horror or scarey movies. In fact the first movie I can recall seeing (I was 5) was a double feature of Food of the Gods and Bugs. We also saw Jaws, Silent Scream, Phantasm, Friday the 13th I and II, Halloween II, Poltergeist and others as a family.


Now with my kids (8 and 12) I will not let them watch a horror/suspense movie unless I have screened it first. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the rating, but more the content. Darkness Falls yes. Texas Chainsaw Massacre no. The Ring yes. The Butterfly Effect no. I was actually going to take my daughter (the 12 y/o) to see The Butterfly Effect in the theater. I am really glad I didn't and screened it on DVD before letting her watch it. If it has excessive nudity, sexual situations, violence, language or drug use I usually nix it.
 

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As a parent of a 3yr old and as a kid that grew up with HBO in my room when it was first invented, I'm a little more liberal. My daughter loves Jurrqasic park. She likes dinosaurs and she watched that movie 3 days straight. Granted she had nightmares, but to this day, she loves anything dinosaurs. She watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico and was glued to the set. "He got a boo-boo Daddy" Yes, i had to change the channel. At 11, Poltergiest is way fine IMO. Alien, maybe the 2nd one, the first might be a tad much with the stomach scene. I think the biggest issue is nightmares more then warping their little minds. You can see dead bodies on the news, violence in any movie, cursing on TV, in public or when mommy and daddy slip up. The last issue would be sex. They'll learn sometime, i'd rather be there when they do.


As for horror, as long as it's Sleepy Hollow and not Texas Chainsaw Massacre (till this day I have never finished watching the entire original flick), I don't see a problem.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Monstermile
When I was growing up my parents didn't shield me from horror or scarey movies. In fact the first movie I can recall seeing (I was 5) was a double feature of Food of the Gods and Bugs. We also saw Jaws, Silent Scream, Phantasm, Friday the 13th I and II, Halloween II, Poltergeist and others as a family.


Now with my kids (8 and 12) I will not let them watch a horror/suspense movie unless I have screened it first. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the rating, but more the content. Darkness Falls yes. Texas Chainsaw Massacre no. The Ring yes. The Butterfly Effect no. I was actually going to take my daughter (the 12 y/o) to see The Butterfly Effect in the theater. I am really glad I didn't and screened it on DVD before letting her watch it. If it has excessive nudity, sexual situations, violence, language or drug use I usually nix it.
Excessive nudity in Butterfly Effect? Wow, I must have missed that version, where can I get it? Everything you mentioned is plastered on the news hourly, language-well they are just words. I think as parents, we can only do what is best for our children. They will hear and see a lot worse then any movie, it;'s up to us to explain certain words should not be used, not to be ashamed of our bodies but don't be a stripper, etc. Give them the morals, manners and discipline, movies won't play a large role in their upbringing. They are afterall, just movies.
 

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Everyone is different. I was watching Friday the 13th movies around the age of 10 or so. Some kids are mature enough to handle it and others are not.


My parents tried to cut out the nudity, screening it before but kept all of the murder scenes.


I turned out great....and really love horror moves too. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sergei and all...these are great responses and I totally agree. I wish I could forward this thread to my friend, but I can't since I was criticizing their parenting decisions. :)


I think there are horror elements in "Snow White" and even "E.T." To try and shield your kids from being scared by movies is denying them I think one of the basic visceral thrills of the cinema.


Kids are just too protected these days. I grew up a skateboarder and avid trail biker and never wore a helmet (probably stupid, but you just didn't wear one then). I had a trampoline with no protective netting around it. And I was able to see horror movies at 9 years old. And like Gruson, I think I turned out fine too.
 

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Wow and some of you managed to make it through childhood without having seat belts in your cars too! ;)

Quote:
Movies today are 10 times more realistic, bloody, violent then most the movies back in the day.
Yeah but name one recent "horror" movie that meets most or all of the above that is actually a better movie than one from "back in the day." Just because a movie is more "realistic" doesn't make it any better.
 

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Did i state anywhere in my post that horror movies today were BETTER?


Um..no, on the contrary i think as a whole horror flicks today are worse.
 

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Parents also know what their kids can and can't handle. I watched 15 minutes of Volcano with my 9 year old the other night, and we has freaking out, and had nightmares. He is more sensitive than most, just as I was as a kid. To this day, I don't really enjoy horror movies. I know when to change the channel, or when to stop the movie until he is asleep. I wouldn't care if he wanted to watch something scary as long as it's not too realistic. I can tell you that by 11, he will not likely be ready to watch Sleepy Hollow, which I like. Even if he wanted to, I know that he wouldn't be ready for it. It's not that I am trying to shelter him from anything, or keeping him from worldly knowledge. I just know that there would be some damage done, and subsequent healing needed.


I know that it's just a matter of opinion, and I wouldn't try to impose my own on someone else (especially strangers over the Internet), or judge them for disagreeing with me, but I don't think that "Well, they are seeing/hearing worse things than that everyday at school" is a valid argument for letting your kids see movies geared toward adults. While I do believe that my parents did a disservice to me by never addressing worldly subjects either in movies or plain conversation (I was brought up in a conservative, religious home), I don't see the positive side of letting your children watch something just to expose them to it. I have open discussions with my son about sex and violence, but I never want him to think that the cavalier attitude toward those subjects in most movies is acceptable.


I know that many people might disagree with me, and that's fine. I do hope that we all agree, though, that we should never undermine a parent's authority and judgment by sneaking their kids into a movie that they don't want their kids to see. Especially in the young and pre teen years and before.


Just my two cents.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Kid Red
Excessive nudity in Butterfly Effect? Wow, I must have missed that version, where can I get it? Everything you mentioned is plastered on the news hourly, language-well they are just words. I think as parents, we can only do what is best for our children. They will hear and see a lot worse then any movie, it;'s up to us to explain certain words should not be used, not to be ashamed of our bodies but don't be a stripper, etc. Give them the morals, manners and discipline, movies won't play a large role in their upbringing. They are afterall, just movies.


I never said there was excessive nudity in The Butterfly Effect. I was stating if a movie has what I listed I will not let them watch it. I didn't let my daughter watch The Butterfly Effect because of the drug use and the child pornagraphy scenes.
 

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The one horror movie parents don't ever want to see is watching their 11-year old kids get caught on tape going all the way with other 11-year old kids. Hell, even second base is freaky! *shiver*


:D


fuad
 

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"Poltergeist" Yes, good starter horror

"Darkness Falls" Probably Not.

"Alien" Quad set Wait a couple years

"The Haunting" Only after successful Poltergeist

"Sleepy Hollow" Yeah, even if it is a little freaky

"Ghost Ship." No Way Jose.


Some of it is preference, some of it is also knowing your kid. My son (7) can watch Babylon 5 with no problems but the monsters on the original Star Trek freak him out, don't ask me why. So it really just depends.
 

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Funny you mention this. I allowed my kids (8 and 9) to watch Reign of Fire as they begged to watch something 'really scary'. Well, they buried their heads in me a few times and really thought the dragon was really scary...No harm..They haven't mentioned it since.


Fortunately, no sex or gore for that matter.


I may be a bit over protective as I still am trying to keep them away from the racier Hillary Duff and Lindsey Lohan teenage girl films...Too much sex too young.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by MarkW
"Ghost Ship." No way Hosey.
Yeah, I actually would have probably nixed Ghost Ship myself, but he was the one who picked it. He seemed interested in ghost stories, and ignored the horror movies about slashers or satanic forces (although he passed over Thirteen Ghosts, maybe he didn't see it on the shelf--I would not have let him watch that one either). Maybe I need to divide my movies into a kid-friendly section or something.


But the other movies he chose (Poltergeist, Darkness Falls, etc.) I would have thought he could have watched (with his parents permission of course). I'd like to know which video games he has. I've seen video games (Silent Hill, Alice, Undying, Doom) that are about as frightening or more frightening than anything I've seen in the movies.
 

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As a parent, I think you did the right thing in not openly questioning the judgement of the parents, or undermining their authority in any way. I think that generally parents of small kids (under 10) usually know their child better than anyone. They typically know what will or will not keep the kids up scared at night. When they are up scared of the dark in the middle of the night - guess who gets to 'deal with it'? That's right - the parents. So, it may have been more of a "we don't feel like dealing with this in the middle of the night tonight" decesion than an 'overprotective parents' decision. True that if this is a consistent trend then those parents may have to look more closely at how they are going to deal with some of the tough issues of their kids growing up.
 

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Why not Frailty When my wife and I went to see it some guy took his 7-8 yr old with him ;)



My wife and I differ on opinions but


at 11


Poltergiest, the Haunting (PG-13 right) I would let an 11 yr old watch anything PG13 but thats just me.
 
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